September 6, 2013

What People Really Look Like: 4 Secrets from a Massage Therapist.

I’ve been a massage therapist for many years now. I know what people look like. Here’s the real deal on “normal” bodies, and why it’s time we accept ourselves as we are.

People have been undressing for me for a long time. I know what you look like: a glance at you, and I can picture pretty well what you’d look like on my table. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned from my years as a therapist about what people really look like.

#1: Media images are fake. People are REAL.

Let’s start here with what nobody looks like: nobody looks like the people in magazines or movies. Not even models. Nobody. Lean people have a kind of rawboned, unfinished look about them that is very appealing. But they don’t have plump round breasts and plump round asses. You have plump round breasts and a plump round ass, you have a plump round belly and plump round thighs as well. That’s how it works. (And that’s very appealing too.)

See also: Eight things I Learned from 50 Naked People.

#2: We’re all are perfectly imperfect.

Women have cellulite. All of them. It’s dimply and cute. It’s not a defect. It’s not a health problem. It’s the natural consequence of not consisting of photoshopped pixels, and not having emerged from an airbrush.

See also: Forget Shrinking Our Bodies, Do this Instead.

Men have silly buttocks. Well, if most of your clients are women, anyway. You come to male buttocks and you say — what, this is it? They’re kind of scrawny and the tissue is jumpy because it’s unpadded; you have to dial back the pressure, or they’ll yelp.

#3: We’re all getting older, so yes, our bodies will change.

Adults sag. It doesn’t matter how fit they are. Every decade, an adult sags a little more. All of the tissue hangs a little looser. They wrinkle, too. I don’t know who put about the rumor that just old people wrinkle. You start wrinkling when you start sagging, as soon as you’re all grown up, and the process goes its merry way as long as you live. Which is hopefully a long, long time, right?

#4: (And Most Important!!) We are all beautiful. Period.

Everybody on a massage table is beautiful. There are really no exceptions to this rule.

At that first long sigh, at that first thought that “I can stop hanging on now, I’m safe” – a luminosity, a glow, begins. Within a few minutes the whole body is radiant with it. It suffuses the room: it suffuses the massage therapist too. People talk about massage therapists being caretakers, and I suppose we are: we like to look after people, and we’re easily moved to tenderness. But to let you in on a secret: I’m in it for the glow.

I’ll tell you what people look like, really: they look like flames. Or like the stars, on a clear night in the wilderness.


Bodywork is great. Acupuncture is great…it’s changed my life:

What people really look like:

Healthy, daily lifestyle tips for all of us:

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Assist. Ed: Jade Belzberg/Ed: Sara Crolick
Image: Gregory Pappas/Unsplash 

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babz Mar 1, 2016 10:35pm

fyi , cellulite is actually considered a secondary sexual characteristic . estrogen is a fat stored hormone.

Discount Gym Wear Oct 29, 2015 2:14pm

Since most of the bases are covered, I'll just add a few things.

First of all, the only requirement is a High School Diploma or GED. I personally found that critical thinking and study skills from a BS degree (a BA is also good) really helped.

It's a lot of Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology – so science-based courses are really good, especially if you might get into massage research or working with other medical professionals.

Most of us become self-employed. As such, I sometimes think a business degree would be helpful. It's not the road I took, and sometimes I need business advice as a result, for others it is an ideal route.

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Brisa Oct 3, 2015 6:04pm

Every day, with every body I massage I am reminded of the beauty in every single person.
I'm glad I'm not the only one to experience this joy.
Thank you

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Dale Favier

Dale Favier has taught poetry, chopped vegetables, and written software for a living. Nowadays he writes in the morning, does database work (for a wonderful non-profit promoting literacy) in the afternoon, and does massage in the evening. It’s pretty much the perfect life, and while he’s uncomfortably aware that he’s running an unsustainable karma deficit, he plans to keep it up as long as he can. He blogs about massage and health at http://dalefavier.blogspot.com.