During massage sessions I am frequently asked “Are all bodies different?” The answer is a resounding yes.
Naturally, there are some caveats. Every body the has the same basic framework - muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs, connective tissue, etc. These anatomical structures are in the same place from person to person. I know when I palpate your anterior superior iliac spine that next to it I will find the attachment point for your sartorius, for example. (Translation: when I feel your front hip bone, I know that I will find the starting point for a muscle that runs over your quad. Fun fact: the sartorius is also the longest muscle in your body!)
Injuries, chronic muscular-skeletal issues, or being a contortionist (see: Aries Indenbaum) will add nuances and adjustments to this structure - that’s why they are injuries and issues - but a similar schema is in place for everyone. That’s the foundation of how we as massage therapists know what to massage and where to massage it.
I often wonder where the question itself comes from. A place of pure inquiry? Observation? Anxiety? Conversation starter? All of these have equal value. It can be comforting to know that we are just like other people; it can be equally as comforting to know that your neck DOES feel like a golf ball and is particularly tight. However, my concern as your therapist is that it is particularly tight for you, in the right here, right now.
Intellectually we all know that our body is unique. Indeed we look in the mirror and see that our hair, eyes, nose, chin, skin, mouth all combined make us look different and distinct from everyone else we encounter. We are recognizable. Does that uniqueness cease below the chin? (Am I right people with TMJ?! Teeth grinders - make an appointment now.)
Yes, your body IS distinct. Just like you are receiving a different massage session than the person before you and the person after you. Because your needs are yours and yours alone - specific even to that day and in that moment. As all of my clients have heard me say, I’ll use everything I know about anatomy and massage to guide you, but you’re the expert in the room. My goal isn’t to get your body to be like everyone elses. My goal is to help your body relax and heal into to where your body wants to be.
All bodies are different. All bodies are beautiful. And in our space you are perfect, just as you are.