I think that one of the important benefits of massage is the least spoken about.  It is not unusual for massage therapists to meet clients who, having little or no experience in their adult lives of nudity or touch apart from sexual encounters, think of sex when they get on the table.  These people trust their therapist at a time when they are intimate and vulnerable.

As a holistic practitioner I love to accomplish clinical outcomes.  I can resolve injuries or pain, and by meeting the whole person, I sometimes have the opportunity to impact them deeply on an emotional as well as physical level.   

The connection and compassion that arises naturally in the course of an intimate massage when you are in my care can enhance the quality of your life beyond the simple physical aches and soreness.  For all of us, massage therapist and client alike, whenever you touch someone, even casually, be it a hug or a handshake, or a squeeze of the shoulders, that person feels something special from your hands.  But it is not your hands that are special - sincere touch can make a deep penetrating connection that communicates who you are, deep down inside.

As we connect with people in situations of great intimacy, as we touch and are touched, we pour powerful energy into our unconscious.  I have made myself vulnerable here, and no doubt open to judgment, as I share my experience of what is possible through the power of touch. But allowing yourself to be vulnerable is an essential first step in making a deep connection with others.

Most of us recognize touch as simply one of the five senses - sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.  But touch is much more than a single sense.  Some sensors in the skin perceive pain.  Others sense tone, angle, muscle length and the position of a particular part of the body in space.  Others sense pressure and  movement. Thermoceptors sense heat or the absence of heat.  So when we touch or are touched, especially with our hands which contain the highest density of sensory nerves, we plug into a massively complex super-high bandwidth connection in which each body is receiving and sending huge amounts of information, some conscious and some unconscious.  And as we read this information, it is all understood in the context of the emotional state of each of the people connected.  

When we are really present with someone, when we engage not only our vision and hearing, but are close enough to engage our semi-conscious perceptions of aroma, especially our pheromones, which are partly responsible for non-verbal communication of emotional and arousal states, and when on top of this we touch that individual, sensing their body rhythms, their breath, blood circulation, moisture, temperature, underlying muscle, subtle shifting of the body in space, moving slightly toward or into our embrace, or withdrawing slightly, the subtle changes in their electrical field, we connect on many many levels.

This explains why a hug - a real warm and sincere hug - can change your mood and brighten your day. Many of us -  perhaps most - are starved of intimacy.  Even when we are fortunate to have good satisfying relationships,  days can go by without our receiving the kind of connection that reminds us that we are loved.  Intimate massage allows for the possibility of mutuality.  If someone hugs you, you naturally hug him in response.  If someone squeezes your hand, you squeeze his hand in return.  You have to make yourself vulnerable enough for connection.

Being nude, for most people is to allow themselves to be at their most vulnerable.  It raises the possibility of being judged.  It raises fears of who we are, what we deserve, how worthy of love we are.  It may raise sexual expectations.  The risk here is that by focusing on their hoped-for sexual outcome, they no longer appreciate the full benefit of a full body massage.

Holding space, holding the client, means that whatever arises has permission to be there, an invitation to expression, a promise not to judge, not even in the minute flicker of an eyelid, nothing but compassion, support and love.

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