Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: July 2021

How to get a bathing suit body ... Put a bathing suit on your body!

July is the time for shorts, sleeveless tops, and bathing suits. But if you are like most Americans, the idea of showing more skin might be troubling. With mainstream and social media, it's easy for us to develop a distorted body image. Our obsession with appearance causes unhealthy, and sometimes life-threatening behavior, as we strive to achieve the "perfect" body.

If you've read my memoir of anorexia, Hungry For Life, you know that I am no stranger to the detrimental effects of societal fixations on diets, exercise, and body measurements.

Getting the right treatment is vital. An eating disordered patient's team may consist of a physician, nutritionist, psychiatrist, and psychologist. But did you know that massage therapy can significantly enhance the healing process?

Someone with a distorted body image can get a clearer sense of their body and its boundaries when massaged. The brain receives tactile information that can reshape the way we see ourselves. Massage also helps to release muscle tension and mental stress, potentially interrupting a cycle of negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. With massage therapy, we are cared for and nurtured, facilitating healthier relationships with our bodies.

A study involving nineteen women with anorexia nervosa showed that massage therapy decreased body dissatisfaction, and reduced stress and anxiety.

Another study of adolescent inpatients with bulimia nervosa revealed that the massaged patients had decreased body dissatisfaction, and reduced anxiety and depression.

So before you embark on some fad diet, consider getting a massage. Learn what it feels like to love and accept your body exactly the way it is.

A Self-Massage to Improve Body Image

Please join me for a delightful self-massage designed to help us cultivate a loving relationship with our bodies. We will work towards self-acceptance, and look for the mind-body connection needed to live meaningfully and mindfully.

So many of us spend a lot of our time worrying about our bodies, comparing them to what we believe to be the ideal figure. More often than not, this "perfect body" is not even attainable. We diet and exercise to try to mold ourselves to look the way we want others to see us. And when we fail to reach our impossible goal, we punish ourselves for being less worthy of attention and adoration than the supermodel in the bikini. We may try to hide parts of our bodies that make us self-conscious. We may even stop socializing or going out altogether.

With the onslaught of the pandemic, body image issues exploded. We were stuck at home, with so much focus on ourselves. The abrupt stop to our daily routines had many people gaining a lot of weight, and many others quickly shedding pounds. Rates of depression and anxiety skyrocketed, and cases of eating disorders in the U.S. more than doubled. What if we were to accept our bodies just the way they are, and realize that we are so much more than what we look like?

What if we learn to honor our bodies for giving us oxygen and nourishment? For allowing us to walk, dance, and play sports? For giving us the ability to smell fresh-baked cookies, hear beautiful music, and feel a warm hug?

Instead of focusing on appearance, let's try to recognize all the wonderful work we do in the world, sharing our talents, skills, humor, smiles, and love. If we can ease the body image obsession, we might be more open to receiving what others have to offer as well - enriching our lives, nourishing our relationships, and growing as people.


What's new with me ...

My wonderful husband made my birthday super special, taking me out for the day to Little Island, the High Line, the Vessel, a delicious lunch at the Standard Grill, and an unexpected flower show! This selfie was taken at Little Island.

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American Massage Therapy Association

Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

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Available now!

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