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Old 12-18-2012, 03:00 PM   #1
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Feeling so self-conscious...

Today I've been reading all the threads about loving yourself and feeling comfortable in your own skin. Interesting timing for me.

My best friend who lives on the other side of the country is coming to stay with my husband and me during Christmas week. She decided to book us a day at a local spa, just for a "girls' day out" adventure. I was thrilled about it until I started thinking. She told me that she scheduled us both for a "body scrub" session. This will involve me mostly naked on a table with a stranger. Then, we have the rest of the day to spend in the sauna and the hot tub area. I am terrified of going to this place now because of how out-of-shape I am. I feel so ashamed to go to a place that is probably full of "beautiful people" and be the heaviest woman there.

I am thinking of telling my friend to change my body scrub to a facial or something. I am already dreading what should be a lovely, relaxing day because I can't stand my body.

Have any of you ever gone to a spa and done something like this? Anyone have some advice for me?
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Old 12-18-2012, 03:16 PM   #2
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I don't have any advice, but it sounds heavenly. I do understand totally though and I would feel the same way. I wish I could be more comfortable in my own skin too...I hope you are able to come to some kind of acceptance and look forward to it.Maybe Patty will chime in.
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Old 12-18-2012, 03:29 PM   #3
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I completely understand what you mean of feeling uncomfortable. I am positive even the 'skinniest girl' there is also self-conscious on some level.

Everyone there will be so focused on themselves and relaxing that they won't care about everyone else. And who cares if they do? They are random people just like you who want to relax.

You are beautiful and if you want to get a body scrub -- go for it and enjoy the day with your friend!

Last edited by angie1; 12-18-2012 at 03:48 PM..
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Old 12-18-2012, 03:48 PM   #4
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Sea, I'd like, with total respect for your own feelings, to introduce the idea that the awkwardness and blech-y-ness have very little to do with weight and more to do with a deeper self-acceptance.
Bits of Evidence:
1. I would respond the same way you are, even at my ideal weight, without a whack of coaching and possibly a martini.
2. I met a fabulous, LARGE woman a few years ago. She wore a peacock-blue, swirly dress and bells around her ankles which announced her arrival. I asked her if she adored herself (as her clothes suggested). She said, of course. I asked if she'd always been this way and she said no. Until a few years before she'd been "dry and beige". She said she was tired of not liking herself and changed her mind.
We think we'll be braver naked when we lose weight. I'll bet we lose weight better once we get brave about loving ourselves.
Just my two cents.
I hope you go with bells on.
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:13 PM   #5
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I'm that way too. I've never had a massage for this reason, for example. I hate the idea of them talking about me afterwards. *sigh* I know it's ridiculous. No one pays as much attention to us as we do to ourselves!

Look at it this way. You will be doing a favor to the other out of shape women because they can say, See! I'm not the worst! LOL

really, do it. have fun. it should build character if nothing else. *hug*
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:17 PM   #6
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oh I know those feelings

I also know from my friends who work as professional massage therapists and estheticians that they see all shapes and sizes and it is no big deal to them. I feel like everyone's skin deserves nurturing, scrubbing, polishing, pampering... and that the shame and low feelings our culture puts on larger bodies is itself a huge true shame... and of no real value in helping us get healthy and leaner either, as it de-energizes us, deflates us, and can send us running to food for comfort. So, I hope you will be brave and vulnerable in going with your friend as a deserving person who is a work in progress!!!

(btw for any readers out there: the book Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, who has some great TED talks on youtube etc on shame and vulnerability, is a good read... it does not talk about weight, food, bodies per se (other than to note that bodies is #1 source of shame for women), but really encourages us to be bold even when we are scared and feel nekked )
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:21 PM   #7
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Sea, you absolutely deserve to be pampered.
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:27 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by tooraloora View Post
oh I know those feelings

I also know from my friends who work as professional massage therapists and estheticians that they see all shapes and sizes and it is no big deal to them. I feel like everyone's skin deserves nurturing, scrubbing, polishing, pampering... and that the shame and low feelings our culture puts on larger bodies is itself a huge true shame... and of no real value in helping us get healthy and leaner either, as it de-energizes us, deflates us, and can send us running to food for comfort. So, I hope you will be brave and vulnerable in going with your friend as a deserving person who is a work in progress!!!

(btw for any readers out there: the book Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, who has some great TED talks on youtube etc on shame and vulnerability, is a good read... it does not talk about weight, food, bodies per se (other than to note that bodies is #1 source of shame for women), but really encourages us to be bold even when we are scared and feel nekked )

I this!!! I just would like to add, that when I have gone for massages and even facials at the dayspa, they always take me to a private room with the most amazing scented candles & nature sounds playing. I bet if you call the spa in advance, you could inquire if this is the case? If it is, please go and pamper and enjoy yourself! If it is not, I would bet that you and bff could still enjoy some privacy. I love and adore my bff's and hope, believe, that they love me as I am, cellulite and all!
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Last edited by sunday; 12-18-2012 at 04:41 PM..
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:28 PM   #9
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DH has a friend who is a massage therapist. DH has offered a couple of times to get us a couples massage, or let Keira and me do a Mommy/Kiddo massage, and I always come up with a reason why I can't. I'm just mortified, and especially since she's someone we know. Isn't it ridiculous just how hard we are on ourselves? I thought my body image would be better when I was thinner, but now I worry about saggy skin. Ugh!
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:36 PM   #10
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I know I would feel the same way... I'm not going to prentent that I wouldn't, but I'm not sure if it's actually really a weight thing, because I feel no diffently about the thought of it today at 135 than I would have at 199 and doubt my feellings would change when I arrive at goal. Like others have said- we have to try to love ourselves as we are and know that no one else is judging us like we are judging ourselves. I really hope you go and enjoy! Do it for all of us!
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:39 PM   #11
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Chiming in, dear Sea...

Not a single one of us here hasn't been in your shoes, I'd bet the farm. I'm reminded of a quote from one of my favorite women, Eleanor Roosevelt--"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." And there's a woman who knew what it was to be judged by her appearance. Two words, my dear: stop consenting. Easier said than done, of course...but maybe not as hard as you might think, either.

I think the whole world is our mirror--since we (most of us!) can't read minds, we project into the minds of others our own opinion of ourselves...for good or ill. In fact, most people (myself included) are usually so wrapped up in their own inner worlds, they hardly notice the things we are so certain they're judging and condemning us for. But we've already written the script, inserted it into their heads, and convinced ourselves it's reality. Neat trick. Especially once you figure out the system works exactly the same if you change the script---say, you decide you're the best, cutest thing on 2 (or one, or zero!) legs; imagine if you assumed THAT opinion of yourself was shared by everyone you come across instead...your whole experience of the world would transform. Because YOU changed what the mirror was reflecting.

I can tell you that since I decided I was a big gorgeous hunk of female in my twenties, I have not had one, single negative comment about my physical form directed to me since. This is the god's honest truth--not ONE. Not at my highest weights, not by anybody. And previous to my decision to love myself, the universe consistently mirrored back to me my own negative judgements of myself. I encourage everyone out there struggling with this issue to not take my word for it--put it to the test in your own life. Try dispensing with the mouthy inner critic for a week or so, and just...notice.
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:47 PM   #12
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I've had a problem with things like this also,.not so much with a massage because I really needed one for pain relief....but the last time I had to get an MRI, ..I was embarrassed because they only put size medium tops in the changing room..and I thought..well..maybe if they'd left me two I could make it. ..those tops have no stretch in them whatsoever..so I had to leave my top on without the bra and put the smock thing on...the world at large doesn't seem to be sensitive to things like that...and I don't like doing things that really tell me that I am bigger than average...we do what we have to do, and it sure is not always pleasant, IMO.
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:51 PM   #13
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I SO relate to this.

My goddaughter purchased me a massage for my birthday. Both of us were to be side by side on tables getting all relaxed with our massages. She is a beautiful young 20-ish year old with a gorgeous body. Me, I have lost a lot of weight and have mounds of hanging skin and I still have lots more to lose. That was the last thing I wanted to do.

I kept thinking about it night and day and stressing so badly over it. I didn't want to change into my robe in the dressing room with the other women either!

I agree with what others are saying, but I also know that building good feelings about ourselves is a long process. I knew I wouldn't be fixing my self esteem in a three week period of time. I just didn't want to face the humiliation.

I finally told my sweet goddaughter about how I was feeling. She said she understood and it was no big deal. We would just get facials together and a mani/pedi. I was beyond relieved and so grateful for her understanding.

That's what worked out for us. I never would have enjoyed the massage. I just wouldn't. I would have been white knuckling it the whole time. But I did enjoy the facials and mani/pedi with her. We had our shared girl time in a manner that didn't stress me out. We had lunch afterward and it ended up being a great day.

So if it really is distressing on any level, let your friend know you would prefer a less vulnerable means of pampering. I am sure she would understand. Do what is most comfortable to you.
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:05 PM   #14
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I have had a spa certificate for going on 4 years now. I got it after I had my second son... said I would use it after I lost weight... Still haven't lost enough, but my sister is turning 50 in January, so I suggested that we use it to get pampered!
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:11 PM   #15
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I SO relate to this.

My goddaughter purchased me a massage for my birthday. Both of us were to be side by side on tables getting all relaxed with our massages. She is a beautiful young 20-ish year old with a gorgeous body. Me, I have lost a lot of weight and have mounds of hanging skin and I still have lots more to lose. That was the last thing I wanted to do.

I kept thinking about it night and day and stressing so badly over it. I didn't want to change into my robe in the dressing room with the other women either!

I agree with what others are saying, but I also know that building good feelings about ourselves is a long process. I knew I wouldn't be fixing my self esteem in a three week period of time. I just didn't want to face the humiliation.

I finally told my sweet goddaughter about how I was feeling. She said she understood and it was no big deal. We would just get facials together and a mani/pedi. I was beyond relieved and so grateful for her understanding.

That's what worked out for us. I never would have enjoyed the massage. I just wouldn't. I would have been white knuckling it the whole time. But I did enjoy the facials and mani/pedi with her. We had our shared girl time in a manner that didn't stress me out. We had lunch afterward and it ended up being a great day.

So if it really is distressing on any level, let your friend know you would prefer a less vulnerable means of pampering. I am sure she would understand. Do what is most comfortable to you.
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:28 PM   #16
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Well, I've been in a couple situations where I just said I didn't have a bathing suit so I couldn't go swimming or in a hot tub or whatever. If you really don't want to go, you could say you can't find one that you like or that you can afford. Tell her you really appreciate the thought but ask her if there's something else y'all can do.

If you *do* want to go, I think everyone above is right...nobody will be paying that much attention to you.

You could always give your "body scrubber" a tip if you feel they had to do extra work.

I've had a few massage therapist friends, and they've never said anything disparaging about different body types. They do have to work harder on larger people (not necessarily out-of-shape...could be bodybuilders or really tall); more area to cover, bigger muscles than a tiny skinny person...but they're more concerned with people being clean and polite! The other day a friend of mine posted about a guy who scratched...um, himself...right before she was about to start massaging his hands!!!

Personally, I just don't like people touching me so even when I was thin I'd end up in more pain (from being tense) after a massage than before!

PS--you know what might be fun, if you're into this kinda thing? Go to a henna artist! They're usually totally into goddesses & stuff, so I bet they'd be really nice to you! Your designs last a few days/couple weeks, so that's longer than a body scrub. You'll feel so pretty every time you look at it! (Plus they don't have to touch you very much; they just pipe the henna onto you like they're decorating a cake!)
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Old 12-18-2012, 06:54 PM   #17
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Sea, I'd like, with total respect for your own feelings, to introduce the idea that the awkwardness and blech-y-ness have very little to do with weight and more to do with a deeper self-acceptance.
Bits of Evidence:
1. I would respond the same way you are, even at my ideal weight, without a whack of coaching and possibly a martini.
2. I met a fabulous, LARGE woman a few years ago. She wore a peacock-blue, swirly dress and bells around her ankles which announced her arrival. I asked her if she adored herself (as her clothes suggested). She said, of course. I asked if she'd always been this way and she said no. Until a few years before she'd been "dry and beige". She said she was tired of not liking herself and changed her mind.
We think we'll be braver naked when we lose weight. I'll bet we lose weight better once we get brave about loving ourselves.
Just my two cents.
I hope you go with bells on.
What a sweet, thoughtful post. I agree with every word of it too!

Sea, I think it's clear we can all relate to this predicament. Massages are so lovely and rejuvenating and soul-pampering that if you can find a way to feel comfortable it would be so worth it.

For what it's worth, I went for a massage over the summer (20 pounds heavier than I am now too). I was a little uncomfortable at first, but they took me to a private room, shut the shades and the only light was the dimmest of candlelight. Most of my body was covered by a towel, except the area she was working on. And I got to tell her in advance what to focus on and what to avoid. There was never a time I was totally naked, and my worst problem areas were never uncovered or touched.

I hope you find a way to enjoy the day and pamper yourself!
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:45 PM   #18
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Sea, I used to be a massage therapist - believe me, they've seen it all before! I never knew the therapists to discuss patrons, we just didn't do that. Make sure you're very clean and not stinky, the therapist will remember that more than your body size Don't think about your fat, just concentrate on the relaxing part and how nice it feels to get special attention.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:35 PM   #19
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Sea, I don't have anything to add to what's already been said. I've never had a massage either. I'm sure I'd feel the same way! My DH wanted to buy me a massage on the first cruise we went on. I was not overweight then. I probably weighed about 125. But, I was embarrassed to have have someone look at me who wasn't my DH! Weird, huh? I got out of it by saying I felt it was too expensive!(it really was!!). Someday tho, I would love to have one. Whatever you decide to do, enjoy yourself!
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:37 PM   #20
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I'm an aesthetician. I do everything from facials, bikini waxing, body scrubs/wraps etc... During all of my services, you are draped rather than being fully exposed, with the exception of a brazilian wax. There's no modesty involved with that one! But during a body scrub, I expose the area I'm working on only. Not everyone works this way but it seems that most do at the spas I've been to as a client. I'm also very modest and am mortified at anyone seeing my flab, even though I know as a therapist that I don't really 'see' that stuff on my clients. I'm just focusing on the task at hand. But as a client, I forget all that and have to freak out with anxiety before relaxing and enjoying it but I always end up enjoying it.

I know the thought is horrifying but if you can make yourself go through with it, I think you'll find it quite pleasurable. It's a very sensual feeling and your skin will feel like butter afterward. AND it'll help you feel a tiny bit more comfortable with your body.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:17 PM   #21
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Dear Sea
I've had the complete massage twice.
They are wonderful
I was mostly covered with warm towels.
It's great relaxing feeling.
I know people rat have them often.
It's pampering yourself. Please try it once.
I think you will be apply you did.
And you will want to go again!
I don't no about the body scrub.
Especially let them do your feet. A must please!
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:37 PM   #22
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Oh Sea, I can't add much to what all the wonderful JBs have said. I feel awful that you're so stressed about what should be a magnificently decadent experience. But I totally get it! I'm always embarrassed to even go to the doctor! And they most definitely have seen it all!

If you think you can convince yourself to relax and enjoy the experience, then by all means, go. Just forget about body issues and truly experience it. Think of it as not only pampering yourself, but also helping stimulate some of that skin into shrinking with your coming losses, and massaging some of that flab away.

If you don't think you'll be relaxed and will be unhappy, then maybe you can adjust your treatments to facials, mani/pedis. Whatever you do, you need to really be able to enjoy it.

Another thing that has helped put me at ease in similar situations, although embarrassing at first, is to just be up front with the massage therapist and tell her you feel uncomfortable with your body and weight. This might open up a very reassuring conversation, helping you to relax and feel really great about yourself!

You'll know what to do, and please do enjoy whatever you have done!
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Old 12-19-2012, 03:41 AM   #23
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Think about what everyone has written. Then do whatever makes you feel calmer and happier when you think about doing it.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:07 AM   #24
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That would be so out of my comfort zone, so if it was me personally, I'd try and get it switched to a facial. I've had those before and they're amazing I've had massages when I was super skinny (college years), and it was so awkward! But, I think it's more of my personality/what I'm comfortable with as a person, and not a body image thing


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Old 12-19-2012, 06:27 AM   #25
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At the end of the day its your treat, so it has to be something you will look forward to!
Saying that, I know personally, for me, even at goal, I feel self concious of being massaged...some bits of me even DH doesnt get to touch!
Funnily enough, I am a qualified massage therapist...though I no longer work as one, due to a back injury.
I have massaged all shapes and sizes, and we are trained in how to cover clients, and how to hold the towels, so they can roll over without exposing any skin.
For me, personally, the larger clients were far nicer to massage!
It was so much easier, and more pleasurable, so have smooth, soft flesh to knead, roll and massage, than to do the same over bony protrusions!
Like has been mentioned in other posts, and clean, fragarent client is the main thing!
For any massuesse who loves their job, flesh is a sensual thing...something that is no longer acknowledged among todays media..where bones are the only thing to celebrate!

hugs
Jo
x
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Old 12-19-2012, 08:00 AM   #26
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Don't have any advice as I've never had a massage, but wanted to send hugs! I'm sorry that this has you feeling bad, and I know you know that it was given with the intent to make you feel good.
I'm with you though, the idea of a stranger touching me doesn't give me feelings of relaxation! The ladies have given you some wonderful ideas and suggestions and I do hope you find a compromise that still allows you to get some pampering.
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:54 AM   #27
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All that I can add to the wonderful posts above is that I've had massages as an obese woman and massages as a thin woman, and I didn't sense any difference in the treatment I received. I changed my clothes in private and was partly covered by a towel, so it felt like a modest, not especially revealing experience.

Remember, also, that 1/3 of American women are "overweight" (according to BMI) and another 1/3 are "obese" according to BMI, so massage therapists and people in any related service profession serve many, many women who are heavy, and they won't give seeing another non-thin woman a second thought. The thin women are concentrated in the youngest age groups (such as college students) who mostly won't have the money for regular massages, so they probably won't even make up a large share of a spa's clientele.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:57 AM   #28
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I think its pretty normal that a lot of us are uncomfortable taking our clothes off and letting a stranger "touch" us. I know a lot of folks who are uncomfortable with massages even though they don't have weight problems.

I had never had a massage or any kind of body work up until a few years ago. Never would I consider taking clothes off and being massaged. I am very uncomfortable, as most of us are, even getting undressed at a doctor's office.

I was taking nutrition classes several years ago from a wonderful R.N. when I was out of town on a work project. She told me about her daughter-in-law who is a massage therapist in a town nearby me. I told her I had never considered massages or bodywork because I was too uncomfortable taking my clothes off. She said her DIL is a big person too, and I would LOVE being treated by her.

Well, I called her (Elizabeth) and she was right. E was just out of training and offered me ten session for $300. I asked if I could experience one and go from there, she said sure.

I absolutely loved the session and felt so relaxed and just plain GOOD after each one. She never made me feel awkward or self conscious. She made sure everything she did was right for me, telling me to please let her know if her touch was too much or too little, what parts I would like worked on more than others. I love my feet massaged and she is wonderful at it.
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Old 12-19-2012, 05:36 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joedi View Post
At the end of the day its your treat, so it has to be something you will look forward to!
Saying that, I know personally, for me, even at goal, I feel self concious of being massaged...some bits of me even DH doesnt get to touch!
Funnily enough, I am a qualified massage therapist...though I no longer work as one, due to a back injury.
I have massaged all shapes and sizes, and we are trained in how to cover clients, and how to hold the towels, so they can roll over without exposing any skin.
For me, personally, the larger clients were far nicer to massage!
It was so much easier, and more pleasurable, so have smooth, soft flesh to knead, roll and massage, than to do the same over bony protrusions!
Like has been mentioned in other posts, and clean, fragarent client is the main thing!
For any massuesse who loves their job, flesh is a sensual thing...something that is no longer acknowledged among todays media..where bones are the only thing to celebrate!

hugs
Jo
x
I think I would enjoy it. The thing she might be worried about is being exposed in front of her friend? I wouldn't worry about the masseuse, (sp?) myself. I actually loveeeee to have me bum massaged, and that's one of the biggest parts of me.
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Old 12-19-2012, 05:55 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayLynn View Post

I absolutely loved the session and felt so relaxed and just plain GOOD after each one. She never made me feel awkward or self conscious. She made sure everything she did was right for me, telling me to please let her know if her touch was too much or too little, what parts I would like worked on more than others. I love my feet massaged and she is wonderful at it.
I absolutely having my face, back & shoulders massaged. I could live forever happy if DH or my DS did this for me.
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