One week from now I’ve scheduled something I’ve never done before: a massage.

It was a birthday gift from a friend more worldly than I. “It will change your life,” he promised.

And while I’m looking forward to it, I’m also a little nervous about it. I like having my back and shoulders rubbed, but generally by people I know and like. So the thought of paying someone to touch me makes me uneasy.

My friend must have must have sensed my hesitancy in March, three months after my birthday, when I was yet un-massaged.

“It’s been a whole season, girl!”  he said.

And I promised him I would schedule it. But I still managed to put it off another three months. Now, in June, he gave an ultimatum: schedule it my June 15 or he’d re-gift it to a friend of ours.

“I should have gauged your massage-phobia before I gave it to you,” he said.

This blog post is part of my dealing with my massage-phobia. I have lots of unanswered questions, which is really all fear is, isn’t it. The unknown.

What kind of small talk do you make with someone who’s being paid to touch you? I have awkward conversations with my hairdresser, with waiters, with just about everyone, so I’m expecting this to be no different.

Are pleasure noises OK?  Talk about awkward.

Will I have to be undressed? Worldly friend told me I can have on as much clothing as I want. I picture myself waiting for the masseuse, alone in a room with candles and soft music .(That’s the way it always is on television).  Only instead of being naked under a sheet, I’m putting on more clothes than what I came in with. That’s OK, right?


3 thoughts on “Massage-phobia

  1. djedumassage says:


    I came across your blog while looking around on the topic of massage. I’m a massage therapist and all your questions and fears are totally normal. The most important thing to remember is that the therapist is a person. If it helps to talk to them, asking them about how long they have been practicing is good, or where they went to school. What draws them to being a therapist, all of those things are pretty neutral and helps you get to know them better without being too personal.

    Also, I don’t know how open you are able to be, but if you can tell your therapist that you have massage-phobia they can do a lot to help alleviate your fears by explaining their process to you. Does the therapist have a website you can check out? You can also call them and talk to them upfront to help you have more information.

    Anecdotally, pleasure noises are totally ok. As far as undressed, most good therapists can work through clothing if necessary. If it helps, the sheet is there to keep you covered. Depending on the style of massage, most therapists just uncover the body part they are working on and then recover before they move on.

    If you have any questions I could help answer, I’d be glad to. Best of luck, and I hope your appointment goes well and you are able to relax and enjoy yourself!


  2. Suzie says:

    I know I’m comment-bombing you tonight…but I’m getting caught up on all your posts!

    Surprise, surprise, but I too had a massage-phobia. A former supervisor took the whole staff to a spa one time as a “bonus” for a good year. To make a long story a little shorter, I felt the same way you do so I opted for a hot stone massage–that whey they wouldn’t have to touch me quite as much. When I got into the room, the therapist said she had heard me talking to a co-worker in the lobby about how nervous I was. She said she didn’t want me to be nervous or tense–the whole point is NOT to be nervous and tense! I felt a little sheepish that she had overheard me so I tried to play it down like it wasn’t that big of a deal.

    I’m generally not a tense person. I’m pretty laid back and go with the flow. After chatting with her a bit, I felt better and the massage began. Then she said, “I was afraid your body would be really tense and tight; but if you were any more relaxed, you’d be comatose.” haha.

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