Body image issues are not gender-specific. Statistically, women suffer from body image concerns more intensely than men. Male eating disorders are on the rise, however, and the world is taking a look at how the psychological distress of these issues are going to be treated. The world cannot be surprised. Men and women are inundated with thousands of advertising messages and images a day.
At the heart of all advertising is the theory that people couldn’t possibly be happy without a certain product, which will make them look and feel a certain way. Typically that way is more beautiful, more handsome, more attractive, more worthy and deserving as a human being. Not only are the products of concern, but the advertisements themselves. Digital alteration of images causes unrealistic beauty standards. Movements are growing to stop digital editing; the country of Israel, for example, recently passed legislation requiring a special logo be applied to images that have been enhanced.
Massage and Body Image
Substance abuse goes hand in hand with body image issues. Many alcoholics and addicts suffer from low self-esteem and a severe mind-body disconnect. One way to support repairing this relationship is through the healing touch of massage therapy.
Healthy touch is objective. A massage therapist is not trying to sell a client on what they need to be better. On the contrary, a massage therapist is helping their client understand that they are perfect just as they are. Massage works with the body as it is, changing it only from a tense state to a relaxed one. Feeling a healing touch, clients can find a way to connect pleasure, nurture, and care to their bodies.
Often, someone with negative body image feels unable to show compassion, acceptance, and love toward their bodies. Massage creates a deeper sense of self-acceptance, writes Karen Menehan for Massage Magazine. It can also inspire healthier habits. It feels good to feel good. When people begin an exercise routine, they are encouraged to make healthier choices in other areas of their life. Regularly receiving massages can influence someone to make better choices in regards to their body image. They may choose to explore their negative relationship with their bodies more intensely and take action to rebuild that relationship.