Weight Loss and Bodywork


There are many benefits one can gain from adding massage therapy into their weight loss plans. One of the effects briefly mentioned in the article I have linked below, is the mental or emotional benefits of having someone, your massage therapist, as a safe and trusted supporter who accepts your body without judgment.

I have found massage to be more than just a vehicle for acceptance from another, but THE road to self acceptance. For me, my extreme weight gain was a way to hide from the world and most importantly from my self. Fat was an excellent place to hide. The more years and the more weight, the more I detached from my body. For longer than I can now remember, I only looked at myself in a mirror from a point just above my breasts to the top of my head. I had absolutely no idea of the condition or size of my body.  I am sure this sounds unbelievable, especially if you’ve never been in that place of disliking yourself and your life choices to the extent that I did.

When I began my studies in Massage Therapy, I had absolutely no idea of how life changing the process would be. Giving and receiving massage every week for two years, was some of the hardest and most amazing experiences of my life. I was determined to do the work, even though the level of body awareness required of me seemed impossible at times. I was forced to get to know my own body, to better know the bodies of others. In the reconnecting with my body, I reconnected to my self.

In the 6 years since I began my studies in clinical massage therapy, I have lost around 75 lbs. I did not use any diet or weight loss program, nor did I begin any new exercise regimen. For me personally, massage brought me back into my self and made me aware of my body on a level I have possibly never known. Through massage, I learned to accept my body and before I knew it, that acceptance turned to love.  My exercise and eating changes came about slowly, through this rediscovered love for my body and my desire to live and love life.

Take a look at this article from the 2010 issue of Body Sense from MassageTherapy.com : Weight Loss and Bodywork || Massage Therapy Articles.

What is your body saying?

Its funny how this happens. I am such a mental person so for a message to simply be inside of me rather than a creation of my mind is amusing when I look at it. Even more amusing, when I am not in the midst of it, is my desire to fight a message that does not come from my mind. So what is this message that has simply manifest itself inside of me? My body needs yoga.

This isn’t a new message by any means. In times of need yoga seems to be what is craved, even more than dance. If you know me, then you know how profound a statement that is. Many years ago, at a low point in my life, in walked this amazing yoga instructor looking for a window to display her teacher certification poster. She ends up showing me pose modifications in the middle of a store wearing jeans and a winter coat. This was the woman I wanted to learn yoga from! No need for the ‘right clothes’ or studio setting. At that time I had no physical activity in my life whatsoever and many people told me I would never be able to do the yoga practice. I showed up and continued to go weekly for many months. This woman not only encouraged my practice but amazingly never treated me any differently than her other students. I was at least twice the size of anyone else in her classes. And never once did I feel like I shouldn’t be there. This experience led me to make some radical moves in my life, one of which was to temporarily move cross country. Upon returning from that trip I never returned to regular classes at her studio but kept in contact with her over these years.

So my body seems to need yoga again. It probably never stopped needing it, but I was just too busy with other things to hear it as loudly as I am today. I brought my mat back with me from New York. I have cards with postures on them. Multiple books with postures in them. The information and the supplies are all waiting in my room for my body to push my mind aside and get on that mat. My body knows how good it feels. And my spirit knows how reconnecting to my body transforms me.

Joyful, soulful, body movement is the one of the quickest ways to begin reconnection with your True Self. Sometimes for me, my mind talks me into avoiding that movement because it knows how quickly I will move from mundane worries back into the real me. So to move myself into action I ask you…can you hear your body? How does it want to move you to reconnect? I encourage you to step into the unknown and not only listen to that sudden inspiration you find inside that suggests you do something wild and fun…especially if others tell you that you should not…but physically move into it. You might be surprise at how wonderful it feels. As for me…I’m heading home to my mat.

*The amazing yoga instructor I mentioned is Amy Pearce-Hayden. You can find her on Facebook and her websites TheYogascape.com and YouYoga.me

Giving Thanks

As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, let us give thanks to something that is so often forgotten, abused, neglected…obsessed about, ridiculed, unloved. Let us give thanks for the body we have right now. Thank your body for all that it does for you each and every day. Take the time to really explore what it means to live in…and through your unique individual body.
Today I give thanks for the body that is mine…
For feet that take me on countless adventures…
Legs and thighs that support me in my dance…
Hips that express the movement of my soul…
Buttocks that power me to climb the stairs of my path…
Back that holds me up towards the sun…
Abdomen that feeds my creativity…
Chest that holds an ever opening heart…
Shoulders, arms, and hands that bring amazing opportunities my way…
Neck that supports my spirit to speak…
And a head that contains an ever expanding mind.

A head through which my eyes can view the colors of the world before me,
A neck that moves so I can take in this amazing world,
Shoulders that support my movements, arms that express my joy, and hands that touch those in my world.
Breast that have fed and continue to comfort atop lungs and a heart that breathe in and beats strong,
an abdomen that moves when I dance and has been home to a growing life,
Hips and buttocks that continue to climb stairs and support my need to move,
Thighs and legs that walk the city,
And feet that carry it all.
Today and every day I give thanks for this body that is mine.