Over the years clients have entered my office bemoaning the state of a particular body part. Whether it’s “I haven’t had a pedicure lately,” or “my middle is squishy,” I’ve heard many client self-criticisms. My immediate response inside my head is, “love yourself how you are!” Seriously. It is.

I can assure you, your massage therapist cares most that you are clean (yes, that one matters) and that you disclose any possible catchable skin conditions or illnesses. Most therapists have seen fuzzy legs. We all run out of time in the shower. Hey, some folks choose to just let their legs be. As I work, I don’t really notice unshaved legs. I am too busy concentrating on your gracilis or peroneus longus or I’m trying to deduce why your plantar fasciitis pain is so persistent.

I visualize muscle and connective tissue in my mind’s eye while working. Many massage therapists are required during training to take a class called Palpation of Anatomy. Such seminars help us to “see” with our fingers more than our eyes, when necessary. Your therapist’s mind is flooding with tactile data as you lay on the table receiving treatment. We use that info to eliminate trigger points and soften the taut bands that cause your discomfort, pain or restricted motion.

The body is an incredible “machine.” It keeps us moving and helps us to experience every emotion. Our arms give hugs. Our hands make dinner for people we love. Our noses know when real roses are just around the corner. Our eyebrows are ours to command to send silent messages. Our bellies nourish us for the next day. And, dare I say, even if we have physical issues, our bodies make us who we are—singular beings like nobody else.

I want to help my clients leave discomfort behind. When they step into my office, I hope to put them at ease with therapy and their own bodies. So, try to leave worries outside the door. In fact, massage can be a marvelous meditation on YOU, if you relax, stay present and aim your self-talk in a positive direction.

Next time you receive a massage, consider stepping into your therapist’s office with one thought in mind, “This is my time to receive what I need. My body is amazing right here and right now.”