Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: April 2023

Is Your Body Image Holding You Back?

A stranger emailed me asking to commission a video to post on his YouTube channel. He wanted a self-massage honoring the body and addressing negative body image, that too often leads to body dysmorphia, substance addiction, and eating disorders. (Those of you who have read my memoir know I struggled with anorexia for over a decade.) Of course, I agreed to make the video.

It was a welcomed project, and one that brought society's fixation on appearance back into perspective for me. We are inundated with images of the so-called ideal body - the epitome of beauty - on social media, advertisements, and in magazines. We compare our own bodies to photoshopped images, and find that we are not beautiful. We are flawed and need to be fixed. The beauty industry shames our round bellies, unruly hair, saggy skin, wrinkles, cellulite, varicose veins, scars - our real bodies. We spend our precious time, money, and energy striving for something unattainable. It is exhausting, depleting, and depressing.

With so much attention on our appearance, we lose sight of what's most important. Who you are and all the wonderful things you do in this world are infinitely more meaningful than what you look like. If we're always focused on how the world perceives us, then we can't fully experience the world.

Imagine believing that there's nothing wrong with the way you look. What opportunities would open up for you? Maybe you'd say yes to dancing at your cousin's wedding, having your photo taken, getting a massage, trying a meetup, going on a date, asking for a raise, or putting on a swimsuit and jumping in a pool. Think of how you could use your gifts - talent, intelligence, resilience, sense of humor, compassion, generosity, creativity - to make a positive change for others and for yourself. Imagine how freely you would live if you realized your body wasn't an ornament, but an instrument.

Well, guess what? There is nothing wrong with you. Your miraculous body is exactly where you're supposed to be. You may not believe that right now - that's okay. Self-acceptance is a life-long journey. Accepting my body as it is and understanding that I am so much more than what I look like is a daily practice. I have way too much living to do to be held back by body image.

With self-acceptance, we can find self-compassion and self-love. Please don't let our society's impossible beauty standards tell you you're anything less than awesome. Close Instagram and recycle the magazines. You are the only one who gets to define you!

Relieve Intercostal Muscles and Breathe Easier

The intercostal muscles are the muscles between the ribs. Their primary function is to assist with breathing. We need our intercostal muscles healthy and flexible, so that the chest cavity can expand and deflate freely as we inhale and exhale. If the intercostal muscles are sore, tight, injured, or restricted in any way, our breathing pattern is altered, becoming shallower and limiting the amount of oxygen that comes into the body.

Join me for an awesome self-massage for the intercostal muscles. We will release tight and tender points, deepen our breathing, and improve mobility of the ribcage. We'll also do some wonderful stretches for the intercostal muscles, that will help to increase flexibility throughout the thorax. You'll feel calmer, taller, and even get a mood boost!

What's new with me ...

Sienna had an awesome 10th birthday! We did our annual gift scavenger hunt, and Sienna had a fun celebration at school, with chocolate cupcakes and goodie bags ... but not on her birthday. She decided to postpone her party until the following week, when two of her favorite teachers, who had been away, were back in school. She didn't want them to miss the fun!

I'm happy to report that my new book, Glass Half Broken has had a very positive reception so far! If you haven't read it yet, you can get it here. If you have, please consider helping me out with an Amazon review. Thank you!

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American Massage Therapy Association

Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

Available now!

Available now!

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