Eight things I Learned from 50 Naked People.

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In the past year, I’ve touched more than 50 naked people.

Don’t worry though—the fancy parts were covered—I’m a massage therapy student. They have you start on friends and family, other students and then the general public. Some people are silent during a massage; others can’t stop talking in a nervous attempt to clothe themselves with something, even if only words.

Despite our obsession with sex, American culture doesn’t really encourage nakedness (physically or emotionally). And if all the pleasantries and social constructs we use weren’t bad enough, we add social media into the mix and distance each other even further. When we’re naked and silent, all of that falls away. What I learn from what a person tells me is minuscule compared to what I learn by feeling his skin, muscle and bone. By watching him move. By listening to his breath. By feeling his pulse. So, in case you didn’t know:

1. Your body doesn’t lie. You might say, “I’m relaxed!” or, “That pressure is great, you can work deeper,” but your body may tell a very different story. What goes on in your muscles, with your breathing, with your pulse is the truest you: the you that even you might not know yet. It’s a good thing to get in touch with. You’d feel much better if you listened and let your words match up to what your body was saying.

2. When you stretch, you open up space.  This is physically true, and emotionally true. When you physically stretch (or allow yourself to be stretched) you create space and allow for greater movement, greater vulnerability and more growth. It’s the same when you stretch yourself emotionally, too. Your physical and emotional selves aren’t separate––stretch one, and you usually stretch the other, too. It isn’t always comfortable at first, but it’s a wonderful thing. Surrender to it. You won’t regret it.

3. That thing you’re embarrassed about? That you don’t want anyone to see? That you tense up and hold your breath over? The part of you that you wish were different? It’s okay. Let go. Enjoy it. It’s part of what makes you so beautiful.

4. Everyone has body hair in various places and amounts. There’s no one right amount. It’s all good. Same goes for moles. Even models don’t look like they do in the pictures. Smooth and hairless is a Madison Avenue invention designed to create discontent (and sell grooming products).

5. Everything you’ve experienced is stored in your body at a cellular level. Each cell is a record of all of it. I’ve felt it in your skin. Being born. Being held. The time you fell off your bike and weren’t that hurt but very scared. That brutal sunburn on your shoulders at 14. The time you fell out of a tree and broke your collarbone. The first time you felt deeply loved. The person who hurt you so badly you thought you were broken for good. Your muscles remember it. They remember it like it happened 10 minutes ago.

Your successes hold your shoulders high. Your losses pull your chest inward. You hold your sadness in your throat, your anger in your jaw and your fear in your belly. Your happiness rises and falls in your chest. Love rolls in and out on the tides of your breath. It’s all there, all the time. {You can release the parts that hurt, if you want to. Yoga and massage are the best ways I’ve seen.}

6.   Your weight is the least interesting thing about you. I promise.

7.   Your skin, however, is fascinating. Every line, every freckle, every scar tells the amazing stories of your life. Please don’t Botox, bleach or sand it all away. They’re all beautiful.

8.   Your body is a f*cking wonderland. You are amazing just as you are, right now.

 

Relephant:

What People Really Look Like.

Finding God in a Hot Spring. {Nudity}

Bonus:

 ~

My favorite kind of preventative healthcare:

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Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is a wellness cheerleader, yogini storyteller, and self-care maven.
She also writes for Huffington Post, Yoga International, Mantra Yoga+ Health, a beauty full mind, The Good Men Project, The Green Divas, The Body Project, Project Eve, Thought Catalog and Soulseeds.
Kate’s books are now available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

She is passionate about helping people fall in love with their lives.

You can connect with Kate on Facebook and Instagram.

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anonymous Jul 3, 2015 3:02pm

Hi Kate, thank you for this great article. As an amputee who struggles a bit with weight, body image is a hard thing for me. I’ve had some great experiences with massage, and most therapists are fantastic. I love your attitude.

anonymous Jun 4, 2015 1:26pm

I want a massage therapist with a mind/soul like this. Kate, where does this beautiful person practice???
PS. adore your writing!

anonymous Jun 4, 2015 1:17am

Wow it so awesome read comments on this and see that there are others that perceive the body and its memories the way I do. I get so much joy out of watching people let go of these issues and create more ease and joy in their beautiful bodies. Gratitude for this post.

anonymous Jul 20, 2014 7:20pm

Lovely and full of compassion.

anonymous Jul 11, 2014 4:38pm

Oh girl, just wait until you get to 5000 bodies;) it never gets old!

anonymous Jun 16, 2014 9:52am

Awesome article! Thank you! 🙂

anonymous Jun 14, 2014 6:33pm

Great article but whomever used the term Masseuse when they posted it to Facebook needs to be schooled. I'm an LMT myself and NO self-respecting massage therapist is ever called a "masseuse" – only hookers masquerading as professional bodyworkers tolerate that term.

anonymous Mar 11, 2014 9:18am

Kate can you be my massage therapist! I loved the article you have an understanding about humanity that is so valuable. Thank you for writing this!

anonymous Nov 26, 2013 12:21pm

For being so new, (I've been an MT for 10+ yrs), you have a marvelous grasp of what is so amazing about this job. I think you'll do well. Keep it up!

anonymous Nov 13, 2013 11:53am

Beautiful!

Thank you for this!

anonymous Oct 6, 2013 8:53am

This is great K8!
There was profound, fundamental change for me when going through MT school and you have captured it eloquently.

anonymous Sep 29, 2013 5:29pm

terrific post! I too was a massage therapist eons ago and what you wrote is spot on! I just never thought about it that way 🙂

anonymous Sep 12, 2013 5:21pm

I'm a massage therapist and you are absolutely on target! A GREAT read!

anonymous Aug 17, 2013 12:33pm

wow….having a massage and an interpretation of what my body is saying…

always stay open to your keen intuitive side…..and you talent for expression…

Blessings of nature an Spirit.

anonymous Jul 25, 2013 12:55am

Truly awesome article. The only thing I disagree with is the part about social media distancing us… I wouldn't have read this if a friend hadn't shared it on Facebook. AND I wouldn't know that friend if it hadn't been for Facebook. So, I think we can think that social media is evil or we can get the good stuff there. There's lots of good stuff.

anonymous Jul 22, 2013 8:58pm

wow.. incredible to be at student level & so open to the teachings of true massage therapy! i have been working as a LMT for over 5 years now && you could have taken these words from my own mouth! thank you for such a beautiful perspective! Stay in the Flow! <3

anonymous Jul 22, 2013 12:35am

Amazing reminder that it's okay to be who you are. Thanks!

anonymous Jul 21, 2013 9:49pm

Absolutely beautiful!

anonymous Jul 21, 2013 2:13pm

i wish i knew how to embrace the words you wrote and really feel that way about myself, instead of hating my body with every fiber of my being.

anonymous Jul 21, 2013 7:52am

I had this thought yesterday: we are all superheroes. We don't need costumes to show this. Our bodies are our costumes, showing all the power and love we have for ourselves and the world.

anonymous Jul 21, 2013 1:56am

I felt moved. The part of your body remembering everything, I am in this path towards becoming aware (a first step) and this is what I learned. To read it, it's beautiful. Thanks!

    anonymous Aug 22, 2013 7:45pm

    If that interests you, check out the book “your body remembers”…very good book. Great article, Kate.

    anonymous Aug 22, 2013 7:49pm

    Oops…The Body Remembers!

anonymous Jul 20, 2013 8:20am

As a fellow therapist – I really enjoyed this, thank you

anonymous Jul 18, 2013 4:17pm

*This* is the kind of massage therapist I like. I can never seem to describe what I feel my body needs, and am always hoping a therapist can "just tell" somehow. It's nice to see that some can.

anonymous Jul 14, 2013 4:23pm

Bravo. Loved the post, keep writing more.

anonymous Jun 25, 2013 12:42pm

I believe it.

anonymous May 30, 2013 6:08am

This is an exquisite description of the relation between the touch of the massage therapist and the reactions or feelings springing forth from the person being massaged and much more. I have been the on the receiving end of the massage several times before and can picture through your writing what you are describing. It is so honestly written and true that it makes me feel enriched or enlightened somehow. I highly recommend your articles. Your writing is exquisite and a gift that you use with feeling and emotion. Love it ………

anonymous May 26, 2013 11:09pm

Kate this is wonderful… I'm going to share it with all the special people in my life. Your words are truly a gift!

anonymous May 24, 2013 12:54pm

This is wonderful! Thank you

anonymous May 21, 2013 6:09am

This is really well written. Great work!

anonymous May 20, 2013 6:11pm

This is such a beautiful article! I was so touched by it that I felt tears welling up in my eyes! It is just so lovely to consider just how deeply connected we are to ourselves……body, mind and spirit. Thanks for your insights.

anonymous May 14, 2013 4:12am

very interesting insights, almost as if i am reading a lovely poem. i hope to read more wonderful writings in here.

anonymous May 4, 2013 2:14pm

This was beautifully written- especially point five! Much love.

anonymous Apr 21, 2013 11:23pm

[…] Eight things I Learned from 50 Naked People. […]

anonymous Apr 14, 2013 10:54am

Well writ!

anonymous Apr 9, 2013 7:43am

Beautiful.

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anonymous Apr 5, 2013 1:43am

"Everything you’ve experienced is stored in your body at a cellular level"

This is so true. Make sure those experiences are positive ones.

anonymous Mar 16, 2013 8:24pm

Super cool article! You are so honest and concise ! I love how you correlate emotions to places in the body, where did you go to school for massage? You seem very interesting too I love your bio!

anonymous Mar 5, 2013 10:06am

[…] release of touch — physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. In her article “Eight Things I Learned from 50 Naked People,” she writes (among other […]

anonymous Mar 2, 2013 11:47am

Beautifully written,

anonymous Feb 11, 2013 6:00am

[…] we get close enough for long enough, I can teach you about how to touch me where I am most sensitive, how to make my breath come quickly, how to rocket me into outer space with the slightest of […]

anonymous Feb 9, 2013 10:55am

Beautifully written! Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

anonymous Jan 21, 2013 5:50pm

I am a massage therapist /yoga instructor…and you nailed it. The best description of what we do that I’ve ever read. Thank you…: )!!!!!!!

anonymous Jan 19, 2013 9:38pm

[…] Some therapists and body workers have noticed patterns that are typical for most, but then each person is unique. Each body contains its own road map of past joy and pain. […]

anonymous Jan 17, 2013 1:27pm

thank you for this, especially the bit about body hair
Grandma who got tired of shaving arms and legs years ago and gave it up much to chagrin of female children brainwashed by media.

anonymous Jan 16, 2013 2:38pm

[…] a health problem, some are used by people as a method of relaxation or reward. Chief among them is massage therapy. Massage has become incorporated into the routines of many individuals in today’s society as a […]

anonymous Jan 14, 2013 2:05pm

Well you got lots of feedback. This is so good….just so good.

anonymous Jan 1, 2013 9:46am

Thank you! I especially connected with items 1 and 2.

anonymous Dec 23, 2012 10:22am

Love this post! Right on!

anonymous Dec 13, 2012 4:48pm

[…] […]

anonymous Dec 11, 2012 10:13pm

Kate, Thank you for a great post, it is so true. As a runner who practices yoga, but is also an attorney, a lot of stress can be felt on my muscles (or so I have been told.) it took a while before I could relax and actually get a massage. How can one tell what his or her body s saying by way of the muscles, I mean by themselves. I know you can feel that in others, but how can one self asses what his or her muscles are saying or doing? Thanks for a great read.
Bernie
P.S. thank you for stating that certain things we may not like about ourselves actually makes us beautiful.

anonymous Nov 22, 2012 2:48am

Nice post but the image at the top seems to contradict it what you are trying to say. Poor photo choice.

anonymous Nov 1, 2012 8:57pm

[…] love ourselves out of the darkness through mindfulness and patience. We have to see our naked body, with all of its perfections and imperfections, and patiently resist the violent urge to reject it. This takes an immense amount of courage. We […]

anonymous Oct 25, 2012 9:03am

[…] ` […]

anonymous Oct 15, 2012 5:43am

This article surprised and astonished me with its clarity, truth, and redemption. Thank you 🙂

anonymous Sep 30, 2012 1:30pm

[…] those two together and add in the fact that I use my hands the rest of the time to try and help others, and my boxing days were quickly at an […]

anonymous Sep 18, 2012 5:35pm

[…] don’t believe that it’s entirely a social construct that has made a standard of the taller-male, smaller-female couple. Women are usually just built a […]

anonymous Sep 13, 2012 8:00pm

12 yrs of practicing massage and I really could not have said it better! I love it! I think you have found your calling, welcome.

anonymous Sep 12, 2012 7:02pm

This is a truly amazing piece. I think you touch on some serious truth here. And I just wish I believed it. I mean REALLY believed it. I guess one just needs to hear messages like this, then hear them again and again until they ring true on all levels.

anonymous Sep 12, 2012 1:06pm

thanks. really. thanks.

anonymous Sep 12, 2012 6:44am

[…] […]

anonymous Sep 5, 2012 3:07pm

[…] other words, our emotions affect us physically. It might be easy to understand that a scary thought gets our heart beating faster, but it can be […]

anonymous Aug 20, 2012 1:19am

[…] and to stand up for ourselves. However, as Kate Bartolotta points out in her great blog post “Eight Things I Learned From 50 Naked People“, our bodies hold lessons we have learned…and by the same token, I would say that our […]

anonymous Aug 10, 2012 4:22pm

[…] release of touch — physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. In her article “Eight Things I Learned from 50 Naked People,” she writes (among other […]

anonymous Aug 5, 2012 6:48pm

[…] Heads and hearts can be healed through the body. Yoga is exceptional for this because not only are we getting to know our bodies better through the practice, we become sensitive to what makes them come alive and feel strong, radiant and healthy. Comparing our bodies to others, judging our bodies because of size, or trying to make ourselves into something we are not is unhealthy. […]

anonymous Jul 17, 2012 6:26am

[…] Eight Things I learned from 50 Naked People | elephant journal. Check me out onShare This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Jonny. Bookmark the […]

anonymous Jul 8, 2012 12:25am

This is so great, thank you! so many truths…I was just telling my massage therapist the other day that I didn't know I was as stressed as I was until she started to work on me…living with pain for no reason at all. I am still baffled at the number of friends I have that have never experienced massage therapy because they are so self concious oh what they're missing out!

anonymous Jun 14, 2012 12:55pm

You made me cry today. First time when you were describing all the things I hate about myself, my imperfections that I should learn how to embrace but even more all our stories closed in our bodies…I experienced something in the past that I managed to wipe out of my memory but what comes back every time somebody touches me in a manner that brings it all back… I try to cure it with loving touch and yoga and yet, fear sits in a belly and anger in my jaw…10 years like 10 minutes ago… I love your article, so much different than the crap from glossy magazines, if teenagers would read more things like it, they would be happier and healthier…And your description of yourself – so positive, I hope that truly is who you are because that would mean you are one special person 🙂 Greetings from Italy !

anonymous Jun 11, 2012 3:05pm

been a massage therapist for over 10 years and had my hands on hundreds, I'm an aspiring writer thats never written a thing besides good papers in college, and lots of private scrribilings. Love how true, fresh and open your perspective is <3 lots of love

anonymous Jun 8, 2012 3:43pm

[…] the desire for intimacy, it makes us human and it makes us attractive. If we paid attention to the messages our bodies are constantly sending us, we’d live a balanced life. Our bodies have an innate wisdom that leads us to a life […]

anonymous Jun 2, 2012 9:34pm

[…] 8 things a massage therapist learned from 50 naked people […]

anonymous Jun 2, 2012 10:07am

Thanks Kate, I needed that. Heart massage. 🙂 <3

anonymous May 22, 2012 3:45pm

[…] hide from me. Don’t hide your insecurities or your failures, because what you think are inadequacies, are your sexy parts. If you don’t like your nose, your pectorals or your thinning hair, then I’m gonna love those […]

anonymous May 16, 2012 8:12pm

[…] case you didn’t already know, it wasn’t your thighs or your arm jiggle. That’s just in your pretty little head. It wasn’t that annoying hormonal breakout you had last […]

anonymous May 15, 2012 11:49am

[…] Eight Things I Learned from 50 Naked People (safe for work): http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/09/eight-things-i-learned-from-50-naked-people-kate-bartolotta/ […]

anonymous May 12, 2012 3:29pm

[…] “Your weight is the least interesting thing about you.” Things a massage therapist has learned. As a former massage therapist, I loved this article and agreed wholeheartedly. […]

anonymous May 7, 2012 8:11am

[…] Eight Things I Learned from 50 Naked People […]

anonymous Apr 25, 2012 6:40pm

[…] Below is lovely article from another massage therapist that was published last fall on elephantjournal.com […]

anonymous Apr 19, 2012 2:58pm

Lovely article.

anonymous Apr 14, 2012 4:42pm

Subtle, beautiful and truthful reading of the body … put in words. Thank you!

anonymous Apr 11, 2012 6:08pm

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anonymous Apr 10, 2012 3:39pm

Don't the first words of the article "don't worry" just reinforce societal fear of nakedness? I enjoy my naked, and yes, bald, skin. I celebrate it in my photography. I'd love to photograph you. 🙂

anonymous Apr 10, 2012 2:57pm

Too true! We all need to take the time to Breathe and Relax 🙂 Great writing, aloha…

anonymous Apr 10, 2012 2:43pm

[…] Eight Things I learned from 50 Naked People | elephant journal. This entry was posted in reread later, Things to Think About. Bookmark the permalink. ← […]

anonymous Apr 10, 2012 2:22pm

this is beautiful! i just got done talking with friends about how important it is to pay attention to little movements in your body and learning to truly and fully let your body relax! thank you for adding to my current point of view 🙂

anonymous Apr 8, 2012 7:56pm

I have thought all of these things at least once while working on a client. As massage therapists, we have a unique opportunity to work on, and to see, every body type out there. People ask all the time if I get "grossed out" by someone on my table. How could I? God's handiwork is right in front of me and my focus is on listening to the body and helping it to heal and feel better. What a great privilege!

anonymous Apr 5, 2012 7:20am

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tuning manipulating, is in a condition of true
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does work, first of all, no with physical –
with an energetic parts of person; just,
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can develop in itself ability intuitively to
catch currents of energy in an organism;
in particular, so no simple as female soul!..!
||||with in quarter an hour, priest Valentines
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well as stroking, pinching & super-delicately
does pull mild pink skin at so very meek layer
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vertebrae; using, at least – virtually, various
muscles-combinations of both bodies….
online preferably: (04 till 16 Greenwich’s Time)
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anonymous Mar 30, 2012 4:03am

[…] A massage therapist tells us the 8 things she learned from looking at 50 naked people. […]

anonymous Mar 23, 2012 9:39am

First, I must say that it causes me incredible pain and suffering when I see comments, as above, referring to licensed massage therapists as “medical practitioners.” For whatever benefits there are to.massage therapy, and however pleasant it feels, the practice is exactly what the title suggests, a form of therapy. Under no circumstances is massage therapy a “medical practice” and to even begin to suggest that a massage therapy license is even remotely as substantial as an M.D. is nonsense and arrogance of the highest degree. Again, with respect to the art of massage therapy, the licensing required for the discipline is nowhere near as rigorous as a B.S. degree in physiology. That said, to put the holder of a massage therapy license on the same level with an individual who has spent 8-10 years and tens, if not hundreds of thousands of.dollars studying the complicated science of medicine is, I’ll say one last time, the highest arrogance.

That said, I appreciate the spirit of this article. It is important to remember that each of us is an imperfect animal. And the human body, naked, is certainly an excellent reminder of egalitarian frailty of the human condition.

anonymous Mar 22, 2012 6:13am

[…] beliefs. I’ll take my own advice here re: Scorpion). Take an art class or run around the house naked or combine the two and become a life model for an art class (hey, they pay pretty well for that […]

anonymous Mar 9, 2012 2:17pm

[…] We’re moms, daughters, big, small, young, old, and we are beautiful. […]

anonymous Mar 5, 2012 2:08pm

[…] massage therapist’s take on why you should feel good about your body: “Your successes hold your shoulders high. Your losses pull your chest inward. You hold your […]

anonymous Mar 4, 2012 5:54am

As a yoga teacher, I feel the same way, we can sometimes see all those things, sometimes I feel like I keep so many people's secrets close to my yoga teacher heart. Don't worry, your secret is safe with me.

anonymous Mar 2, 2012 8:57am

Really???? Think again. What about clients with alopecia….look it up.

anonymous Mar 1, 2012 8:02am

and as a massage therapist myself can I add " and I don't care if your legs are shaved….. " lol

anonymous Feb 29, 2012 10:16pm

LOVE LOVE LOVE the content but wonder, as i often do: WHY choose such a conventional looking thin/young/model/waif female as the photographic image for a piece about how diverse and amazing every unique BODY is? just a matter of expanding our awareness, reaching for something fresh and challenging perhaps.
thanks again for a great piece.

    Kate Bartolotta Feb 29, 2012 10:37pm

    Because we all have body issues… The post came about after I had two clinic clients back to back—one anorexic, one obese—who both apologized for their bodies. It broke my heart. To be honest, I hated my body the most when it looked like Lindsey Lohan's there…learned to love it & treat it gently. Loved it pregnant, love it now—strong, but with softness. I think it's important to remember that every single kind of body is beautiful. Big or small or in between.

    Glad you enjoyed & that's my 2 cents on the picture!

anonymous Feb 29, 2012 7:30am

Thank you for all of that. Knitting w/ needles can be tricky as getting the tension just right can be infuriating. Try breathing space into your knitting too (litterally into the little holes as you create them). Alternately you can switch to a knitting board – it has pegs in a piece of wood or plastic and you loop your yarn and then pull one loop through another with a small hook. It's fantastic because you can set it down and you won't lose your place and the spacing is always the same. Good luck w/ your creative endeavors. Om Namah Shivaya.

    Kate Bartolotta Feb 29, 2012 10:38pm

    Hah! I have tried to learn to knit for years and it always results in me swearing and throwing things. I think I have enough stuff that I love that I don't do nearly often enough–I'll pass on the knitting for now.

    Thanks though!

anonymous Feb 24, 2012 10:14pm

I've been a massage therapist for 23 years and I LOVED this article. It's so cool that you have so much insight right out of the gate. Rock on Sista ! You are going to be great !!

anonymous Feb 23, 2012 4:07pm

I appreciated your words. “When you stretch, you open up space”…particularly made me do so right here in my seat…and it made a difference…I felt better. And it made me think. People need reminding…like to stretch…and another good one…to BREATH. People forget to breath deeply…to breath from the belly and fill the body with the much needed oxygen.
Thanks for the reminder.
Thanks for reminding people that they are more alike (in their feelings) than they are different, even though they may “look” different (that one, at my age, I already knew very well).
Thanks mostly for being a particularly wonderful human being and continuing to voice the words which are needed to hear (from your perspective).

From another human being on the face of the earth…”I see you” and I say “yes!”

anonymous Feb 23, 2012 11:27am

Lovely essay, and I agree with you that there is NOTHING wrong with the photo associated with it. Thin women DO exist and we’re not all unhealthy or suffering from eating disorders. I’m 5’2″, 95 lbs, and hourglass shaped, and I rather like myself. I also know a lot of perfectly beautiful overweight women. Acceptance of all body types means letting go of your bitterness not just towards what you don’t like about your own body but also towards those of whom you are jealous.

anonymous Feb 22, 2012 6:35pm

I love the message! I'm no masseuse; rather, a hard-core athlete. I've come to understand almost all of this for myself; that my body is absolutely f'ing incredible, beautiful, and entirely and completely lovable. Not only that, but what I've learned to do with my body gives me almost indescribable joy.

But… I've never before heard that my muscles can tell stories about things I've been through years ago. Now I'm intensely curious about what my muscles might have to say. I want them to talk! It's like this tantalizing glimpse of a newfound voice, of another way for my soul to express itself and find freedom. I want this woman to give me a massage, and give a new voice to my body that Iv'e never heard before. I feel like I've just taken another bite of the fruit of knowledge, and it only makes me hungrier.

Thank you for the enlightenment.

anonymous Feb 22, 2012 2:21pm

Kate-thank you..you post was so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes..and relief to my heart..

anonymous Feb 22, 2012 10:37am

[…] Eight things I Learned from 50 Naked People. […]

anonymous Feb 21, 2012 9:49pm

#5 had me in tears. Reading it made me feel cradled, loved, human, connected, understood. Thank you for your honest, graceful words. <3

anonymous Feb 21, 2012 9:26pm

I hope this article is a start to many massage therapists opening up about what we, yes I am one too, find and experience in a massage session… this could be the beginning of a really cool conversation!!!! Bravo!!

anonymous Feb 21, 2012 8:43pm

These are delicate, powerful words. Like a good massage. Thank you.

anonymous Feb 17, 2012 9:39am

[…] “Your weight is the least interesting thing about you.” Things a massage therapist has learned. As a former massage therapist, I loved this article and agreed wholeheartedly. […]

anonymous Feb 15, 2012 6:05pm

[…] […]

anonymous Feb 9, 2012 4:37pm

I am a massage therapist as well and what was said in the article above is true!! There is alot you can find out from a persons body threw massage..

anonymous Feb 9, 2012 6:18am

Wonderful piece. It was actually really touching.

I don’t understand why some of the commenters bring up the picture being in contradiction to the writing. She writes that all bodies are beautiful. It’s not meant to be a comfort to only the overweight people, it’s a statement for ALL people. I have friends that are thinner than me and who I consider to be prettier that are more self-concious than I am. I have friends who are heavier than me who have WAY more self confidence than I do. Body image is a matter of self-perception. The image in no way undermines the article.

    Kate Bartolotta Feb 10, 2012 5:09am

    Exactly! I mentioned that to a few commenters. Thin people have body image issues too.

anonymous Feb 8, 2012 9:34am

enjoyed the read !! I am taking nice breaths, stretching and considering a message is much needed thank you
!!

anonymous Feb 7, 2012 9:08pm

The writing is beautiful. Too bad the photo at the beginning undermines at least half of the tidbits of wisdom…

    Kate Bartolotta Feb 8, 2012 12:06pm

    Nope. Not a bit. I've mentioned in earlier comments, but self-loathing and body image issues are not restricted to those who are overweight. I was the least comfortable in my body when I was the most underweight.

anonymous Feb 7, 2012 1:02pm

You are far more than a mediocre writer. Your bio is beautiful, don't say that!

    Kate Bartolotta Feb 8, 2012 10:04am

    Hah! Thanks…mostly meant to be tongue-in-cheek…writing is a process. I always aspire to grow!

anonymous Feb 6, 2012 11:09pm

I just shared this blog on Facebook, and thought I might share my remarks here, if I may.

Interesting article, courtesy of a friend. There is a whole lot of truth in what she has to say, the main points if nothing else are very important in what we do. After all, there are very, very few medical practitioners who will get to know a person's body better than an LMT. It is worth reading.

I should say that the writer might be treading the edge with the picture, remarks about "It’s part of what makes you so beautiful." and "Your body is a f*cking wonderland. You are amazing just as you are, right now," among others. Not because the sentiments are bad or even wrong, but because it can be so easily misconstrued.

But, she is a student, her outlook is good, and she is obviously aiming this at people, probably fellow students or friends, who are self-conscious. Good for her. And frankly, when one is working on, and being worked on by, several people a week, the concept of personal space flies out of the window a bit at first, though we all are trained and try very hard to maintain the professional distance and courtesy.

Just ask my wife sometime about the first evening we met, six years ago: In my enthusiasm, I took her hands after showing our mutual friend what I had been learning without thinking, never knowing that she was uncomfortable with strangers touching her. She jokes now that only her knowledge that people with poor eyesight are often tactile saved me from getting bonked on the nose. 🙂 It is funny now, but it was also a very valuable lesson.

All of that said, the writer's sensitivity is extremely good; I have no doubt that she will be a fine therapist. That level of reassurance that the writer is giving will be good as she goes along and gains experience, and she definitely has a good sense of the body. A person should hope for a massage therapist with that level of empathy and knowledgeability. I wish her very well.

    Kate Bartolotta Feb 8, 2012 10:03am

    True…and I would not make those statements to a client directly because it would cross major boundaries and be inappropriate! These are my reflections on what I wish people knew about themselves. Thanks for your thoughts.

anonymous Feb 6, 2012 2:00pm

The picture you include is a girl who has no imperfections, skin or weight issues or otherwise… this is contradicting, and yet, it sells.

    Kate Bartolotta Feb 8, 2012 10:01am

    As I mentioned in above comments: I would argue that it doesn't at all. People who are anorexic have as many (if not more) insecurities about their bodies as those who are "average" or overweight. I wrote this article after working on an anorexic woman and an obese woman back to back–both apologized for their bodies and it broke my heart.

anonymous Feb 6, 2012 10:26am

Kate,

I love this! I too am an MT! Your words are SO true! I am also a vegan, and have been charged (and found guilty of over use of the !) Thank you for sharing.

anonymous Feb 5, 2012 10:18pm

LOL if this is true then why is the article illustrated with yet another image of a waif who has the hips of an 8 year old? Pfffft. Cute idea but the image invalidates the message completely.

    Kate Bartolotta Feb 8, 2012 10:01am

    I would argue that it doesn't at all. People who are anorexic have as many (if not more) insecurities about their bodies as those who are "average" or overweight. I wrote this article after working on an anorexic woman and an obese woman back to back–both apologized for their bodies and it broke my heart.

anonymous Feb 5, 2012 10:17pm

A very inspiring blog. I especially related to #5. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

anonymous Feb 5, 2012 9:09pm

Thank you for sharing this thoughtful piece! As a massage therapist and chinese medicine student, I am constantly in awe of the human body and each story it tells. Blessings to you! 🙂

anonymous Feb 5, 2012 10:32am

[…] Don’t worry though—the fancy parts were covered—I’m a massage therapy student. They have you start on friends and family, other students and then the general public. Some people are… read more […]

anonymous Feb 5, 2012 9:33am

I love, love, love this post.

anonymous Feb 5, 2012 7:27am

Kate:

your a breath of lightning laughter in a bleached day of dusty cliches….

One day I think I will by you a slice of cheescake

anonymous Feb 5, 2012 2:33am

[…] note, here’s an interesting read from a massage therapy student about what she has learned by seeing naked bodies. My personal favorite insight: Your weight is the least interesting thing about you. I […]

anonymous Feb 4, 2012 6:17pm

f*cking right on!

anonymous Feb 4, 2012 12:27pm

[…] therapist Kate Bartolotta wrote 8 things I Learned from 50 Naked People 2. When you stretch, you open up space. This is physically true, and emotionally true. When you […]

anonymous Feb 4, 2012 12:25pm

I love this and believe it with my whole heart, as a professional therapist. Now I must apply it to my personal view of myself today. Thank you for the reminder.

anonymous Feb 4, 2012 11:25am

Oh, this is wonderful. Great article and a welcome reminder. Thanks for writing it. Please continue to give up knitting in order to write. 🙂

anonymous Feb 4, 2012 11:24am

I am presenting a releasing ritual of sorts, an Ur-Hag ritual… Your words have inspired me to do some stretching with these women before and after, since they will be stretching themselves vocally and emotionally during the ritual.

I am very comfortable in my skin (even when I was 300 pounds) and you reaffirm my comfort. I wish everyone was so!

anonymous Feb 4, 2012 10:23am

Fantastic observations, especially as a student. I've been doing licensed massage therapy for almost 20 years, and you could not have said it all better. You're going to be a wonderful massage therapist, clearly to compliment the amazing person you already are. All the best.

anonymous Feb 4, 2012 7:03am

But what about the photo that accompanies the article??? A skinny, no body hair, voluptuous head of hair model! Weird, double message – very disappointing.

anonymous Feb 3, 2012 9:22pm

[…] this kick-ass massage therapist… Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry […]

anonymous Feb 3, 2012 2:06pm

[…] […]

Yasica Feb 2, 2012 5:11pm

Kate, this is just one of my favorite articles ever. It really addresses what therapeutic massage is about, and addresses regular fears, or preoccupations that so many people have when they go to get bodywork. Thank you!

anonymous Feb 2, 2012 10:46am

Touching and inspiring! Keep it up!

anonymous Feb 2, 2012 7:56am

I have been a massage therapist for 20 years and this is PERFECT! I understand what you mean about clients who hurt your heart. I love everything about what you wrote. Good luck and blessings as you continue in bodywork. You are a gift to the profession.

anonymous Feb 1, 2012 12:32pm

I do bodywork and related to so much of what you said. Thanks for stringing your words so sweetly and compassionately.

anonymous Feb 1, 2012 8:20am

A friend shared this on FB and I LOVE it! All of this is exactly why I became an MT (6 years graduated and still loving it!) I want all of my clients and everyone else I know to read this. Thank you, thank you! With insight like this, you are sure to do well in this profession. Namaste!

Also, I agree the best part of this was reading your bio. 🙂 Never, ever loose your whimsy!

    Kate Bartolotta Feb 1, 2012 8:51am

    Thanks! haha–I hear that a lot about the bio. Just figured it would be more fun that the typical work/hobbies/etc.

anonymous Jan 31, 2012 6:28pm

Good to hear. I go to a massage therapist monthly and it’s interesting to hear this perspective. BTW, nice last name.

anonymous Jan 31, 2012 4:40am

Love the article and LOVE your bio even more!! You just inspired me to write. 🙂

Kate Bartolotta Jan 30, 2012 1:41pm

Your new profile pic makes me want to rewatch all of Arrested Development!! Thanks!

Joshua Plant Jan 30, 2012 11:16am

This is truly great! #nevernude

Lauren Hanna Jan 30, 2012 11:04am

You're amazing!!

Beautiful: "The first time you felt deeply loved. The person who hurt you so badly you thought you were broken for good. Your muscles remember it. They remember it like it happened 10 minutes ago."

    Kate Bartolotta Jan 30, 2012 1:42pm

    Aww, thanks Lauren! I have been craving some more Lauren writing!! Where have you been??

anonymous Jan 30, 2012 8:56am

I really love this! Thank you….

anonymous Jan 30, 2012 1:57am

Loving the text, but the choice of model in the image negates it all… it's another bone skinny 20 year old reinforcing all of the negative stereotypes about body image= how 'bout showing some real women and men?!

    Kate Bartolotta Jan 30, 2012 6:49am

    We are ALL real. Thin, fat and everything in between. In fact, I hated my body the most when it looked like that. I hear where you are coming from, though. I started writing this the night I had an obese client and an anorexic client back to back. Both apologized for their bodies, and it hurt my heart.

      anonymous Mar 4, 2012 11:27am

      That's fair. Thin women are real women too, absolutely. But the picture accompanying this article is a stereotypical representation that we women see all too often–it doesn't represent average women, and it makes average women feel ugly and abnormal. It's over sexualized and glorifying extreme thinness. I agree with the comment that it negates all of the points in your beautiful article. Such a strange choice of photos. Such a mixed message.

        anonymous Apr 11, 2012 10:20am

        Interesting – I actually found the image at the top unattractive. As a slightly larger woman, I'm finally starting to see beauty in curves, and this woman (who I didn't recognize as a celebrity) looked emaciated and bony to me. I agree, that she should get to love her body too, thin or fat, but most of all I'm happy that ther thin shape is no longer the image of beauty to me! Next for me will, I hope, be seeing the beauty in ALL bodies!

anonymous Jan 29, 2012 9:00pm

Observations I've made myself and have also tried to write about. Your writing is lovely, natural. It is my pleasure to recommend this. It could go viral!

anonymous Jan 29, 2012 7:35pm

As a massage therapist myself, I absolutely loved this! So true, and so beautifully written. Thanks 🙂

anonymous Jan 21, 2012 11:30pm

[…] The parts that are unique are the parts that make it interesting. […]

anonymous Jan 10, 2012 12:59am

[…] […]

anonymous Dec 31, 2011 11:53am

[…] you are beautiful and unique, […]

anonymous Dec 20, 2011 4:56pm

[…] the sensitive, romantic, poetic and creative you. That part of the soul that needs a massage even more frequently than your […]

anonymous Dec 6, 2011 7:30am

[…] probably just start putting clothes on now that it’s getting chilly. All summer, I would be naked. Got a problem with that? Clothes aren’t natural. (I am generally barefoot, by the way. It […]

anonymous Nov 15, 2011 9:41am

[…] […]

anonymous Oct 24, 2011 12:13am

I really love the part on skin. I recently acquired a massive burn on my leg so that is appreciated. Thanks Kate!

    Kate Bartolotta Oct 24, 2011 6:59am

    Sorry to hear about the burn! But yes…all the amazing and difficult things we go through are in our skin. I always feel honored to witness them when I give a massage.

anonymous Oct 22, 2011 6:49am

yes, thank you!

anonymous Oct 21, 2011 1:56pm

This is so well written and so true! I'm a massage therapist and yoga teacher and I LOVE your words Kate!

Thank you!

    Kate Bartolotta Oct 21, 2011 2:27pm

    Thank you for reading, Jackie! Glad you enjoyed it!

anonymous Oct 20, 2011 11:12pm

raw, poignant, wise and touching!

thank you kate!

    Kate Bartolotta Oct 21, 2011 5:34am

    Thanks for reading Shana!

anonymous Oct 20, 2011 11:09pm

thank you, i released my held breath and tears flowed and i stretched-thank you

anonymous Sep 27, 2011 12:52pm

Awesoem read, and it's so true… You certainly can tell a lot about a client, or yoga student, in the way they hold themselves, move, look feel. Everything does have a story to tell. i love this. I hope to get better at reading others in this way. i just gained my yoga certification and I am learning so much!

i'm posting this to my Facebook page!

Namaste Godess!

    anonymous Sep 27, 2011 1:16pm

    Thanks for reading Mads! Glad it resonated with you:)

anonymous Sep 27, 2011 8:07am

Life is real… live with passion within yourself… thats REAL!!

anonymous Sep 24, 2011 7:01am

My favorite part: "Your body is a f*cking wonderland." So need to remember this.

    anonymous Sep 24, 2011 7:58pm

    I agree Bea! I have a bunch of fave quotes on my bedroom mirror (so that I see them when I 1st get up) I may need to add this one too.

    Thanks for reading!

anonymous Sep 23, 2011 8:13pm

Wonderful!

anonymous Sep 23, 2011 7:53pm

Beautiful! There is so much Truth in this post. I loved it!

anonymous Sep 23, 2011 7:44pm

Thanks for this 🙂 I'm a massage student as well, just started my third semester at NY College and loving it. I'm also getting my yoga teacher certification and loving how well they integrate!

    anonymous Sep 24, 2011 5:21am

    Yay! I would love to get my yoga teacher cert eventually too! Have you ever received Thai Yoga Massage? There is a lot overlap… Good luck to you at school!

anonymous Sep 23, 2011 7:43pm

I loved everything in this article but the picture-perfect, young, slim, white, PYT (pretty young thing) at the top of the page that contradicted everything in the article. Hmm.

    anonymous Sep 24, 2011 5:20am

    I get you Ann Marie…we went through a few different pictures at the top. But to play devil's advocate this one, Lindsey Lohan (pictured) is a great example of someone who needs to learn these things. Loving your body is a necessary message for those who are underweight, overweight, and everywhere in between. For clarity's sake, I have never massaged Lindsay Lohan (but confidentiality would prevent me from admitting it even if I had;)

      anonymous Feb 9, 2012 5:33pm

      Something many of us overlook. Body image issues affect a wide range of people.

      anonymous Feb 15, 2012 8:10am

      She is the perfect choice; I thought immediately it was a tongue in cheek image, until I realized it was poor LiLo…xo

      I loved this…all of it.

    anonymous Feb 22, 2012 4:20pm

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with being naturally slim. Your post is antithetical to everything this article is trying to say and you should really re-evaluate it.

      anonymous Jul 28, 2013 2:48pm

      Lindsay Lohan is an admitted cocaine addict. I suppose she is naturally thin…since cocaine is a natural product….

    anonymous Jul 28, 2013 2:46pm

    Yes. THANK YOU for noticing that too.

anonymous Sep 23, 2011 6:21pm

There is so much I adore about this post!
First off: "#6. Your weight is the least interesting thing about you." Kate I want to so much put that on a T shirt.

In my younger years I worked in an hospital eating disorders unit. It would have been wonderful to have shared and gently disected that statement with my patients.
I am also fascinated with skin-and esp scars. They tell so much about a person's life.

    anonymous Sep 23, 2011 6:56pm

    Go for it! Put it on a t-shirt if you like! (No royalties necessary haha!)

    I battled disordered eating in my younger years as well…I wish I had learned it earlier. But if the fact that it took me awhile to learn helps me have compassion for others, then it wasn't time wasted.

    Thanks for reading:)

Yesica Pineda Sep 23, 2011 9:55am

very cool 🙂 I like your light 🙂

anonymous Sep 23, 2011 3:00am

I agree with Ben! Beautiful writing. Quotable, profound and sensitive. Reading you is like getting a massage… of words.

Glad to see you posting.

    anonymous Sep 23, 2011 4:58am

    "Reading you is like getting a massage of words." Nice! Glad to hear it! The real thing is much better;)

      anonymous Sep 23, 2011 5:13am

      "Reading you is like getting a massage of words."
      Yep, I felt that too.

anonymous Sep 23, 2011 1:56am

Ah Kate, this is so damn beautiful. Like all great writing, it seems to be about one thing, but touches deeply on so much more. Love it.
Ben

    anonymous Sep 23, 2011 4:57am

    Thanks Ben! The only funny part is that the picture actually went with a different post about when I broke my leg hiking in the mountains…but I guess it works in the sense that being at peace with ourselves is part of the path.

      anonymous Sep 30, 2011 3:27pm

      Huh. I preferred the original photo… I guess someone else edited it..?

        anonymous Sep 30, 2011 7:40pm

        Yes. It was my picture of the woods, then a stock massage photo that was good (but a small image…not sure if that's why it was changed later?) and then Lindsey Lohan. It's all good…all 3 pics fit for different reasons.

anonymous Sep 22, 2011 11:11pm

Yes, eloquently put!

anonymous Sep 22, 2011 10:45pm

Fantastic. Yes!

anonymous Sep 23, 2011 8:39am

Haha! Some MT's are a bit chatty, Amber. It would not have been rude to let him know that you just feel like being quiet. I'm still learning, but try to take my cues from the client;) Thanks for reading!

anonymous Sep 23, 2011 11:17am

HAHAHA! Tobye! It's funny because I don't typically use bad language in day to day life (it tends to make me blush…embarrassing but true. I only use it when I really mean it.) I used it partly to not completely plagiarize John Mayer, and partially to keep it from being just banal positive white noise….like "Wake up! You are amazing! You are a f*cking wonderland!"

Namaste, Motherf*cker;) Thanks for reading!

Kate Bartolotta Jan 30, 2012 2:33pm

I love that feeling when you just have to write! I find myself mumbling about something while driving or in the shower & just can't wait until I can write it!