How do you feel about your own body?
What do you see when you look in the mirror? And how do you feel inside your own body? Body image includes your beliefs about how you look, and your feelings about the physical body you inhabit. Many people experience body image issues, which manifest in different ways, and may be caused by multiple different factors.
Having a negative outlook about how you look physically can result in eating disorders, or the seeking out of unnecessary cosmetic surgery. Around 1.6 million people in the UK are estimated to suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. However, according to Anorexia & Bulimia care, the true figure is likely to be closer to 4 million, as many people do not come forward to receive help, and therefore remain undiagnosed.
According to NHS statistics for 2007, up to 6.4% of adults displayed an eating disorder, a quarter of which were male. In fact, since 2000, the incidence of diagnoses for men with eating disorders has risen by 27%. This may be because men are feeling more comfortable to come forward and be more open about the issues they may be experiencing.
The amount of cosmetic surgery is also on the rise in the UK. According to Rehab 4 Addiction, the number of plastic surgery procedures in the UK grew by 66% in the 5 years from 2013-2017, with women accounting for over 90% of the operations.
Disliking your body may be an indication that there are other things going on in your life. According to National Eating Disorders, a study of 2400 people who were admitted to hospital with an eating disorder also suffered from major depression (97%) or symptoms such as post traumatic stress and alcohol abuse (22% each). According to Mind, body dysmorphia is an anxiety disorder in which a person may worry constantly about how they look, and/ or develop obsessive compulsive behaviours to deal with they way they appear. It is also linked with experiencing other symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, self-harm, eating disorders and suicidal thoughts.
How can Tantric massage therapy help?
Clients can learn to both identify and address any underlying causes of body image issues, and to help create a new, more positive outlook. Often, when a person does not feel good or safe inside their own body, it can be more difficult to love the ‘skin you are in’. If, internally, anxiety, sadness, depression or distress of any kind is being experienced on a visceral level, it may also translate into a dislike of the whole organism. When we feel down, we are likely to have more critical thoughts in our heads – about ourselves, others, and the world around us.
Over time of feeling internal discomfort, the body is likely to adapt by becoming more numb. It will be less able to feel and associate with the uncomfortable sensations and emotions, but also not able to feel as much of the pleasure and joy of life. Through therapy, some of these underlying discomforts are able to start to come up to the surface in a space which feels safe. Tantric therapy helps clients to become more connected to their bodies and to meet whatever there is there. This way, any underlying discomforts can be addressed and gently integrated into the whole system.
Healing the nervous system
When we experience overwhelming situations in life – something that happens that is too much, too fast or too soon for us to process – the nervous system is activated, but not discharged. This charge can continue to loop around the system for years, even decades. Tantric bodywork therapy helps to deactivate this charge and bring the system, and the person, back to feeling safe and good inside their own body. This is likely to help with body image issues. Clients can learn that they are worthy of touch and pleasure. Read more about the healing benefits of erotic touch.
Further support for clients
Clients are also coached in using key skills, such as mindfulness, awareness and breath. By using these tools, they are able to start to train their bodies to feel more relaxed and safe in their daily environments. Clients are also supported with suitable resources they can implement and practice at home. These vary depending on each person’s requirements and can include particular exercises, books, videos or workshops. Read more about the role of mindfulness in tantric therapy, and the power of breath.
The sessions help clients to feel more alive by becoming more connected with their bodies, and to feel good about their bodies again.
I offer sessions in Teesside/ North Yorkshire (within easy driving distance from Leeds, Newcastle, York & Durham) and London. Read more about tantric massage treatments.