Why Massages Promote Healing:
Getting a massage-being touched is very soothing yet also has the potential to be upsetting, especially if your triggered by touch. Thinking about having to undress and then allowing someone (whom your not intimate with) touch you, often makes people feel umcomfortable. A couple things to remember. 1) Massage Therapists are professionals and 2) you are the one in control of the interaction. If your not comfortable you get to voice this and have them stop. This interaction may feel very empowering.
Even still it’s important to find one who is sensitive to issues around survivors of child sexual abuse and other instances of sexual violations. This issimilar to finding a good therapist, you have to feel safe and have trust with the person. There are many resources out there to help you find the type of massage therapist for you (female vs. male, young vs. older, etc).
In the meantime I recommend self massage, just to get used to touch and how it’s subsequent sensations feel throughout your body. The benefits are that you get to control the movements and how long you do it for. You control the environment and the time of day, which is also nice.
Self Massage Tips:
1) Relax. Find a place within your home which is comfortable and quiet. Massaging when your tense gives you littlebenefit, although it can give you information about what makes you tense. At the same time its normal to feel anxious and a little tense, so try your best to ease that tension by breathing in andout slowly. Use grounding techniques if need be. (I created a grounding technique sheet here)
2) Warm your muscles. You can do a small stretch before or just bounce up and down for a minute. Even wearing layers. Anything to create a little heat.
3) Grab your favorite oils or lotions. You’ll be using this to rub your hands, your lower legs, and other parts of your body throughout. My suggestion is to not do anything that can be felt as sexual. So hands are a plus. The neck and shoulders are also great areas to massage. You can also try your legs and feet as well, maybe avoid your thighs as that area can be sensitive/triggering. (More in depth techniques here)
So how exactly do you use your hands to massage your self?
Your going to use circular movements and it will be up to you to apply different amounts of pressure. You can move slow and soft. Or you can hard and fast. The other option is a combination of both.
For a more intense or even a different sensation you can use ordinary objects around your home. I found this article on the different things you can use at home and how to use them.
Just like with any technique that’s new which your using to try be more aware and increase feelings and comfort throughout your body, please journal your experience. Take notes of how your feeling and what works and doesn’t. It’s valuable and can help you see how far you’ve come along the way, especially on those days when you don’t feel very optimistic.