“Do I Have to Get Naked?”

Once thought of as a luxury service for the rich, massage is becoming a normal part of health maintenance and self care for about 29% of Americans and growing. As massage is introduced to more and more people, anxieties tend to come to the surface about coming in for the first time. Understandably, many people are reserved about being naked with someone they don’t know–someone who isn’t a doctor or nurse.

For those new clients who are anxious about this aspect of massage, there’s really nothing to be worried about.

Okay, but really–do I have to get naked?
No! When you come in for a massage, you’re invited to undress to your comfort level. That means that when you get under the sheets, you can do so fully-clothed. If that’s what you’re comfortable with, there’s no reason you can’t get a massage that way. You can also just take off your shirt, or just strip down to your underwear. It’s up to you. However much you choose to undress, you’ll do so in total privacy and get under the sheets on the massage table.

The point is that you’re as relaxed and comfortable as possible. If you’re not able to relax, a massage won’t do you much good anyway.

That being said, getting a massage fully clothed has a number of disadvantages. Clothing limits the methods your massage therapist will be able to use to soothe your muscles and perform the kind of deep treatments you may need. Fully disrobing allows the therapist to do the best possible job because they are free to use every available technique to treat you. Keep in mind that if you keep your clothing on, your therapist is not legally permitted to move their hands underneath it to reach the skin directly.

Also, the oils and lotions your therapist will use tend to stain clothing and underwear.

Isn’t there something wrong with this?
Not at all. At no time will you ever be fully exposed to your massage therapist. When you undress, your tberapist will leave the room to give you privacy while you get under the sheets and settle yourself on the table. The therapist will call through door to ask if you’re ready and covered before entering.

All our rooms are comfortably furnished and completely private. Our tables are equipped with electrical warming pads to maximize your comfort. The heat created by these pads can be adjusted with the touch of a button or turned off altogether.

Blue As Licenensed

Throughout the treatment, we only undrape the areas we are working on, and those never include genitalia or women’s breasts.

This isn’t just a courtesy to our clients: it’s state law. As licensed therapists, we meet and exceed legal standards of draping and train all our therapists to carefully protect our clients’ privacy and comfort.

But won’t you be laughing at me behind my back?
Of course not. As massage therapists, we’ve seen bodies of all shapes and sizes. When we see you, we don’t see imperfections or flaws: we see a whole person worthy of love and caring. Our goal is to provide care from the heart with every person on our tables.

Further, we treat your health information and identity with the same discretion as your doctor or any medical professional. The health, safety, and privacy of our clients is no laughing matter.

Isn’t there something kinda–y’know–sexual about massage?
Unfortunately, for many people, massage has come to be synonymous with prostitution.

This isn’t the case.

The Good Life Massage is one of many legal massage clinics in the country which provide a therapeutic, non-sexual service. As licensed therapists in Washington state, we do not provide a sexual service to any of our clients at any time. In fact, we instantly stop any massage, report to authorities, and permanently ban any client who asks for sexual favors or makes sexual advances of any kind. By the same token, any therapist found to be doing the same would be instantly fired and reported to the authorities.

In short, The Good Life Massage is a safe place for all our clients, regardless of your comfort level with the process.

This video gives you a good overall picture of what it’s like to get a massage at GLM.

So don’t be shy. Book your session today!

Happy In The Skin You’re In? Improving Body Image With Regular Massage

Massage has several clinically proven mental and physical health benefits, but one that most people aren’t aware of is how massage can improve body image. Our culture is full of toxic influences with regards to the way we see our bodies. Some of these sources include:

People of every sex, size and shape can suffer from poor body image.
People of every sex, size and shape can suffer from poor body image.
  • Media Ideals: While the media is often called out collectively for promoting impossible ideals for the human shape, especially for women, there’s no conspiracy at work here. Everyone likes to see a pretty face or body, and in our technological age, media outlets are using ever-more sensational and exploitative tactics to grab a bit of our over-taxed attention spans. Shouting about the unfairness of media ideals doesn’t seem to be moving the needle in terms of changing the culture, but as consumers we can remember that not all media reflects what’s realistic or healthy.
  • Family Culture: Unfortunately, insecurity about body image is not only toxic, it can be contagious. Well-meaning parents or other family members may have created insecurity or a poor sense of self-image with critical comments or by modeling body-hating behaviors and self-talk.
  • Kids Are Cruel: If something about your appearance made you stand out as a child, chances are someone teased you about it in school. Perhaps that teasing turned into a pattern of bullying, shaming, and shunning. Sure, “sticks and stones,” but those toxic feelings can easily follow us into adulthood.
  • Injury or Illness: Suffering trauma or serious illness can cause unwanted body changes that can’t be helped. These changes can have a lasting impact, even long after bones have mended and tissues have healed.
  • Childbirth: While having a baby can be a happy event, the dramatic and permanent changes that take place in a woman’s body after childbirth can definitely have an impact on self-image.

All these factors can combine and make the task of improving our own body image seem daunting, if not impossible. But we weren’t born with shame for our bodies. It was taught or conditioned in us in small stages. Unlearning that perspective can take time.

A plan of action
The good news is that body image is not a fixed state of mind. Your body image has changed before and it can change again–this time for the better.

A strategy to improve body image is more likely to be successful if it involves several methods to change your thought patterns. These might include talk therapy with a psychologist or licensed family therapist, a program of exercise, and regular massage treatment.

That’s right–massage
Studies have shown that massage has benefits for body image one might not expect. Upon closer examination, though, massage’s benefits regarding body image make perfect sense.

The power of touchCouple holding hands toward the sun
Our success as a species can be attributed to our ability to work together to solve the problems of survival. In short, we need each other whether we like it or not. We’re social creatures by nature.

Lack of touch and affection in early childhood development has been shown to cause irreversible psychological harm. Solitary confinement has been shown to be debilitating and damaging to mental health, even for those confined for relatively short periods of time.

Touch is literally the most tangible form of love and approval we can experience. When you’re touched with care by a fellow human being, the most primal parts of you are reassured that everything will be fine, that you’ll survive, that you deserve to survive, and that life will continue.

When you’re regularly touched in a therapeutic setting like massage, your body and mind get all those signals and more. Your mind/body connection is strengthened. Regular massage can nourish these feelings and help them become a natural part of your daily thinking process.

Naked with strangers
Massage as a form of self-care and as a way of enhancing wellness has been studied and proven for years, but many aren’t yet aware of it. Those coming in for the first time may be fighting feelings of anxiety, especially for those with body image issues. After all, massage is being naked (although strategically covered with a sheet) in a room with someone you’ve just met. Although the kind of massage we practice at GLM is not sexual in any way, touch therapy can be an intimate experience. Some clients experience an emotional release on the table as tension is eased throughout the body.

Further, some clients are afraid their bodies are being judged or evaluated when they come in for a session.

This isn’t so.

Massage therapists are trained to have a professional and caring mind-set when working with their clients. Our therapists don’t see a lump of biological imperfection, disesase or illness, or a collection of unhealthy habits: they see a whole person with fears, desires, needs, flaws, and virtues, all in one. We see each person as inherently valuable and wholly unique.

You should feel comfortable with your therapist so that you can keep an open dialog with them over what is working for you and what isn’t. While our massage therapists are trained professionals, they need to hear from you to know how your experience could be improved.

Wellness from the inside out
We want all our clients to be as healthy as possible, both inside and out. While external solutions like cosmetic surgery, hiring a personal trainer, improving your eating habits, and other strategies may help your body image to some extent, looks aren’t everything.

Health is one thing. How you see yourself is something else. There’s only so much that a personal trainer and plastic surgery can accomplish. A positive self-image that lasts comes from the inside out. Strengthening your mind/body connection through regular massage can be key in helping you rebuild a positive body image and loving the skin you’re in.

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Tom Gunn is the marketing director and official blogger at The Good Life Massage. You can follow him on Twitter @goodliferenton.

Tom Gunn is the marketing director and official blogger at The Good Life Massage. You can follow him on Twitter @goodliferenton.