Too fat for massage???

Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting a beautiful young woman, I’ll call her Wendy, who came to the spa for a massage. She had a gorgeous face, perfect skin, beautiful, dark flowing hair. Wendy was in her early 30’s,married, with a 2-year-old son, and shared with me she was trying massage to relax because she was having trouble getting pregnant again. She said she only wanted her upper body worked on. (A little disclaimer here-I really HATE doing just one part of the body in massage. I do pretty deep work and working one part of the body for 55 minutes is not only physically demanding but is really, really boring to me! The client will usually be really sore after. Plus, the benefits of full body massage are so numerous that I always recommend the person get the whole treatment. According to,  full body massage is indicated for ” increasing relaxation and decreasing anxiety, massage lowers your blood pressure, increases circulation, improves recovery from injury, helps you to sleep better and can increase your concentration. It reduces fatigue and gives you more energy to handle stressful situations.”  ) So as I was explaining to her the benefit of full body massage she blurted out “I’m too fat for massage!” She went on to share that she had a thyroid issue and had gained over 100 pounds and was really embarrassed by it.

My heart went out this lovely young woman who was defining herself only by her body. Having fought a weight issue since puberty myself, I totally understood what she was feeling. “Oh honey”, I said to her, “You are beautiful and deserve to feel good no matter what size you are!” We talked a bit more and she said “OK, do whatever you think I need”

I left the room after instructing her to undress down to her comfort level and get under the sheets. When I came back, I brought my emotional level down to the most nurturing, healing  level I could, and asked God to help send loving energy to her. I gave her a wonderful, full body  massage with lots of work on her neck and shoulders and left her with the message “My wish for you is to experience relaxation and peace and to love yourself, just as you are. You are beautiful!”

Her lovely face has haunted me because I wonder if I gave her what she needed. She was so distraught at gaining weight and was blaming herself. My heart breaks every time I hear a woman put herself down, curse her body or get angry at herself for her size. In 30 years of doing body work, I have seen women of every size and shape and you know what, they are all beautiful. The human body is an amazing vehicle to tote around our souls in.  Here’s what I want to say to every woman about her body.

You are beautiful, just as you are. You deserve love, just as you are. When I give you a massage, I am not thinking that your thighs are too fat, worried that you didn’t shave your legs, or care whether you wear your underwear or not. I want you to feel completely comfortable in my massage room, and strive to make you feel wonderful, every single time.

If you want to get angry because your thighs are too fat, you have a big belly or you’re not in the size you want to be, go ahead, get really, really angry! But don’t get angry at yourself, get angry at the food industry for packaging chemicals, sugar and other crap as healthy. Get angry at the media for airbrushing models and giving women an unrealistic picture of what beauty is. Get angry at advertisers for the constant deluge of food advertisements on television. And get really, really angry at anyone who tells you that you don’t deserve to have everything you want, including a massage, because of your size!!!

Only when you completely love and accept yourself AS YOU ARE, can you find your way to a balanced life, choosing healthy food, the right exercise and peace with who you are. My wish for you is that you find peace in your body, today, right now and gratitude for this amazing body that carries you around!




Filed under Massage, Women and Duty, Women and weight

15 responses to “Too fat for massage???

  1. Thankyou for sharing this. I am a large person as well and sometimes feel very self conscious when going in for a fully body massage. I have built a wonderful bond with my therapist and feel comfortable with her giving me a massage. I appreciate this post as it is an awkward subject and can be difficult to broach.

  2. Just beautiful! You had me in tears. Ever think of becoming a writer?

    • Thanks so much Jo. I appreciate your comments. I write for my clients and really just tell stories I think will inspire, inform or motivate them. If that makes me a writer, then so be it! I’m thrilled just to know that someone reads it and knowing that I can help others is my passion. Thanks again!

  3. Maureen

    Denise, when I met you, it was clear that you were genuine, caring and a realist – beautiful both inside and out…the total package.

  4. Pingback: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or in this case everyone on Facebook! | Denise Willinger's Blog

  5. S.A.O

    This made me cry! I never had a massage, as I am too conscious about getting naked and people touching my fat body! But I really need one at the moment! And it is nice hearing this! Thanks a lot!

  6. Andrew

    Thank you, this really helped me. I;ve been suffering from anxiety for quite sometime, and have had sore muscles since starting my current fitness program a month back. I’ve needed a massage but I’ve been nervous about going to get one, because I am overweight and don’t like subjecting others to my body.

    I think I will go get one soon 🙂

  7. Alyssa

    You must be a truly special soul. For you to comfort this woman and to even be thinking about it yourself the next day shows how caring and empathetic you are. I’m sure you brought her exactly what she needed and made her feel at peace through your words and your massage.

    I found this through googling “too fat for a massage” because I, too, am very overweight, but would love a massage. I have a very difficult accreditation exam tomorrow that I have been studying for over a year so I would really like a massage after the exam to help me let go, but I am nervous I will be judged or gross the person out. Your message helped me more than you know (not only on the massage) and I hope tomorrow I get a therapist that is as sweet as you are. Thank you so much! God bless.

    • Thank you for your kind words and good luck with your exam! Enjoy your massage and know that you deserve to feel relaxed, renewed and rejuvenated. I hope the experience will be life changing and affirming for you!

  8. Karen

    Stumbled upon your blog. Thank you for posting! I belong to a local massage-spa chain–been a member for several years. My therapist has opted to go into management which is great for him, but sad for his clients. He never once made me feel uncomfortable or self-conscious about coming in. He knows I work out regularly and made sure to suggest post work out stretches and other little tips to Anyhow since he is going a different direction, I asked him for a recommendation–he suggested me to a guy who had worked on T’s girlfriend.

    The recommendation–ohhhh my!! He kept going over my back, which was sore for days in weird places. Completely missed my ankle (which has issues due to an old injury) and then with 10 min left he gave me a warm towel for under my head and one for under my neck and told me to relax for a few minutes before getting dressed and his hasty exit from the room. On my way out T asked me how things were–I didn’t really have words for it at the time, so I said nothing. But I knew he wasn’t comfortable giving me a massage because of my size–it really stung.

    Several weeks went by and then it was time for my monthly membership dues to be drafted–I called them and asked to cancel my membership. They were surprised since I had been with them for so long. When Amy, the gen mgr of that site found out, she called me and wanted to know what happened… I was embarrassed to tell her what happened or how I felt.

    She gave me a little space and called me a couple days later (freezing my membership rather than cancelling it) and asked me again what happened–and it came tumbling out. Amy was really upset to know that I had felt like that. T was upset that I hadn’t told him–they both have the same philosophy that you do.. size isn’t an issue and that no matter what, feeling good, destressing, and being at peace with one’s bod is important! (Also found out that recommended guy is on leave of absence, so I won’t have to encounter him.)

  9. Ginger

    This is a beautiful and healing essay, with a message I needed to hear. Thank you so much!

  10. Vanessa Gonzalez

    Im around the corner ftom my 35th birthday and I too feel exactly as tht young lady, I too have gained plus 100pds have 3 beautiful boys and am married, have my own transportation business. Even as much as I need a massage being a necessity not a luxury, I Have declined or hesitated going to a spa, Feeling I dont deseve it or I will be ridiculed. I can only hope I find a person as compassionate , caring and sweet as you. Thank you for your blog, it did change my perspective on me going to a spa, and treating myself. Many blessings Vanessa frm queens NY

  11. Cherry

    Thank you so much for this article! I have been nervous about an upcoming “romantic break” with my partner as we’re booked in for full body massages – I’m very large and was positive that the therapist would laugh at me. I’m working on getting my weight down before I go, but you have no idea what you’ve just done for me by writing this. You are such a wonderful lady

  12. This was one of the most wonderful things i’ve read. thanks so much for sharing Denise.

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