Have you ever been laying on the massage table and all of the sudden felt the overwhelming urge to cry? I want you to know that you are not the only one. Body work of any kind is a very personal and vulnerable art and so it's very natural to find yourself having a strong emotional reaction. Scientifically, massage allows your body to release oxytocin which can give you that emotional rush. I equate it to that feeling you get when you finally sit down at the end of the day and realize how tired you are. Your mind, body and soul stand on high alert all day long, and massage can have a disarming effect on the barriers and coping mechanisms we use to get through the day.
In light of these here are some things that you can do to prepare for your massage.
Arrive early, turn your cell phone off before you get out of your car, take three deep breaths and tell yourself it is your time to relax.
Embrace whatever feelings come up long enough to evaluate if you need to take some kind of action to deal with the cause of that emotion. The body can hold many different emotions in different areas, for instance, if you have a lot of hip and low back pain, this can often be associated with feelings of insecurity and instability. While your back is being worked on it can bring out the feeling of fear or helplessness. You may want to explore where that feeling is coming from.
Finally let it out! If you need to cry, do it! You don't have to explain yourself, you can flow with the emotions however they make you feel. If you feel uncomfortable at any point, you may ask you therapist to get you a glass of water, move to a different area, or pause or cease your massage but I assure you there is no need to feel embarrassed.
If you would like to talk it through, although a body work therapist cannot take the place of
counselor or mental health professional, your massage time is a safe space and we will honor any conversation we may have with privacy, listening and compassion. Don't be afraid to ask for tissue!
Ruth Surface, LMBT