I had an interesting experience having a massage today. I had a sore hip due to what my chiropractor says is a tight ‘IT band’. The massage therapist was doing various things to loosen this and I was asking her what might have caused it to get so tight.

Between the two of us we figured it is probably due to my sleeping position, which not coincidentally, is as different as possible from the one I was raped in. She asked if I was uncomfortable sleeping on my back and rather than lying I said calmly. “Yes, but not physically. Trauma. Emotional. But it’s a lot better now.” Typical stock survivor response, acknowledge the facts as calmly as possible, combined with reassuring the listener I’m not going to fall apart on them. However, I meant it. I *am* fine. She said that was good, and continued on.

Now some massage therapists get uncomfortable when you say things like this, but this one didn’t. A woman would know exactly what traumatic event would happen when a woman is on her back. There was not much more to be said.

Earlier in the session she’d been working on the back of my neck and I said, “oh, one thing I forgot. If you work on the front of my neck, please let me know first please.” She’d also accepted this well.

When it came time for her to work on the front of my neck she warned me and was gentle, asking what types of touch to avoid. She got it.

I asked her how my neck was. I’m curious. I have no idea how being strangled has affected my neck. She said something like it was very siezed up and tense. I said, well it makes sense, the soul and body are connected, and she agreed.

At the end of the session we agreed that my IT band and leg needed more work and so did my neck. I said, if we work on the neck it will need a session just for that, and I’ll probably cry. I’ll need to have my car nearby so I can go to it to calm down afterward. I told her I look after myself just fine, but that there is likely to be emotion connected to the tension. She was great. She told me that it happens all the time, that people often have feelings come up during or after sessions and she considers it an honour to help people clear. Her energy felt grounded and sincere.

On the way home in the car I sang my scar song about the abuse to clear some of the built up emotion from having my neck worked on. I had an inner child reaction which led to me going to bed curled up in a quilt for a few hours, after which I felt more clear.

I have booked a session for next weekend. I’m not sure if we’ll work on the neck or the leg.  I’m proud of how matter of fact I was, and how well the interaction went. Unexpected. I’m used to being more guarded with health care folks, so they don’t treat me funny.

I’m looking forward to having body work done in a context that allows me to release the feeling. Not looking forward to cleaning up the reaction afterward, but hopefully if I can release fairly fully it’ll be more relief than triggering. One can hope.

The picture I chose to go with this post is of baby birds, who were rescued after their nest was blown out of a tree by the photographer. At first I rejected the picture, as it is not the strength and confidence I felt today. However, the vulnerability of the birds and their long necks resonates with the vulnerability I feel in my own neck and this situation. There are some very intense, fragile and wounded sensations locked away in my neck tissue and this picture owns that. Telling the truth, being as vulnerable and strong as I actually am is a far stronger and more courageous place to be in. [the photographer took down the photo I had linked to.]

0 thoughts on “Massage”

  1. Pingback: Survivor reaction after massage | May We Dance Upon Their Graves

  2. Hi I hope this is ok cos I want to hug you and shake your hand and tell you how awesome you are.
    Your inner child has a warrior mum or person. Yes your massage person is a gem but you gave her valuable info which ensures she can be caring and respectful of you. I once made a neck hug for a friend out of soft nurturing material and I put padding in it, you could put herbs in it and even crystals. I too have had to process strangulation and to release from my neck. It is a wonderful gift you give yourself cheers Janey

  3. This post was incredible. How brave you are. I’m glad that you found a good massage therapist, one who gets it. I don’t sleep like that either and it is due to the same reason.

    “being as vulnerable and strong as I actually am”

    How wonderful. And how brave. Good and healing thoughts to you.


    1. @Kate: Thanks! I think there are a lot of us who sleep that way, unfortunately. Too bad it messes with my back and legs. I bought one of those big ‘full body’ pillows yesterday after my appointment and last night I slept on my side the whole night fairly easily. I think a person could probably make them by putting together a bunch of smaller pillows too. It gave me something to throw my leg over.

      @Janey: Yes, my inner child does have an inner warrior mum, for sure, and it’s so helpful. It’s been a long time developing that relationship, and it sure is good when the self-mothering happens automatically instead of by intention after my inner child has been protesting for awhile. I was really proud of how I just automatically disclosed in a way that worked for the situation. I’m getting better at it; I used to just not bother disclosing and look after everything myself. That’s a good idea to make a neck hug. I have an around the neck heating pad with a soft cover that I use kind of like that, but making and blessing one sounds even better.

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