|Fat and beautiful are not opposites|
I work a lot with fat clients*. I've been fat all my life, and I've been fat and pregnant twice, so I know just how frustrating it can be to worry about whether I will be safe and feel secure when I see a new massage therapist on a new table. Before even starting school, I resolved that in my practice bodies of all size would be welcome and would feel celebrated.
Massaging fat bodies both is and isn't different than massaging thinner bodies. I've had massage where it felt like the therapist didn't want to touch my fat -- which is to say, they didn't want to touch me -- as though it were contagious, or didn't need touch, or that I'd be upset if reminded of the abundance of my flesh. To which I say, both as a fat person and as a massage professional: hooey.
With thinner clients, an LMT can get away with a very superficial touch, gliding over the skin yet still, slightly, massaging the muscular layer. Working with a fat client calls me to slow down, to sink deep, to differentiate between the layers of the body, to feel what I'm doing.
On the other side, I've heard some LMTs complain they don't like working with fat clients because they can't "access" the deeper layers of the body, but this only shows they either have no experience, no idea what they're doing, or no willingness to learn. We absolutely can access all the same parts (and sometimes more easily!) as on a thinner body; fat clients can and should get the same quality massage as any other client.
I have never had a body on my table I didn't think was beautiful; I've never had a body on my table I didn't enjoy massaging. And yet, sometimes, fat is the "best or most rewarding part".
*Why do I use the word "fat"? Well, why not? The word "overweight" implies that there is some weight that I, a fat woman, am "over", "obesity" is a clinical term defined by the ratio of height to weight and says nothing about the corpulence of the body in question, and "fluffy" is a great descriptor... for a kitten. Because I do not believe fat is a bad thing to be, I do not think of "fat" as a bad word, any more than other relative descriptive words like "tall" and "young".
CC image credit: Mattias H on Flickr
Definition of fat via Etymonline.
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