My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Tag: massage

My First Non-Sweating Massage

Benefits of Massage for Those With Hyperhidrosis

The third time I went for a massage I was sooooo ready to completely tune out the world and relax. I set my intention as one of enjoying all of the benefits massage has to offer. As one who suffers from hyperhidrosis, I think there are some underlying benefits to massage that other people might not think of. You see, a massage to the average person might be simple: book an appointment, take off your clothes, and simply relax. But for excessive sweaters, even the thought of being naked and touched can make us sweat. I always thought that I could never get a massage. I’d be too worried about my sweating, I’d get too embarrassed, I’d overanalyze everything about the experience before I even got in the door, and then not be able to do it because it’s just too much outside of my comfort zone of what I can safely do as a sweater.

 

Set Your Intention to Not Sweat

But, what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? You’ll never know until you try. I’d rather try and fail than never have tried at all. So, since I had gone through with my first massage several months ago, and then a second massage, I felt more comfortable the third time around. Intend to try. If you get too uncomfortable or too worked up, at least you tried.

 

When I arrived for my massage, my stress level that had built up over the last several weeks was at its peak. I was ready to forget about it and have it massaged out of my being. I pulled out my trusty fan, set it up in the corner so that it pointed toward the top of the massage table, and got under the sheet. I could still feel my heart racing a bit and my breathing get shallower, so I closed my eyes and focused on taking some deep breaths to calm down.

 

By the time my masseuse, Julie, entered the room, I was not sweating. Like, not even a little bit. I had even kept the blanket on rather than using only the sheet. Halfway through the massage when I flipped over, I actually had her turn off the fan because it was making me cold. This never happens! I remarked that I was shocked I wasn’t sweating, and Julie said, “I’m not. It’s because you and I have meshed well and this has become a safe place for you.”

 

This is so important. New situations are scary, but if you are forthcoming by explaining who and how you are, and bringing what you need to the situation, you can create your own safe haven. Yes, you might still sweat, but you can do so in an environment where you have made it okay. Other people’s acceptance of your sweating does help, but regardless of anyone else, you have the power to shape your reaction to a situation, as well as your intention going into that situation. Of course, sometimes this is easier said than done. I have plenty of scenarios where I absolutely hate my body and loathe being cloaked in puddles.

 

Decide You Can Do Something That Non-Sweaters Can Do

However, push yourself anyway to do things you normally wouldn’t do because of your hyperhidrosis. Little by little, one sweaty foot in front of the other, dripping hands held palms up to say yes, you can expand your life. When Julie got to my hands and feet and used the massage oil (she uses oil, not lotion; she told me it won’t absorb as fast and is less sweat inducing), my brain always plays the freak-out reel. Oh, no. She’s touching my hands. She’s touching my hands. It’s going to make them sweat even more because she’s touching my hands. Ahhhhhhh. This time? It went from a movie reel to IMAX 3D. You guys, I DID NOT SWEAT the entire time she was massaging my hands and feet, or the rest of my body for that matter.

 

Conquer a Fear

The thing I like about IMAX 3D is that it’s truer to life. Things are crisp, clean, and easily conveyed. So the inner monologue I had going on during this massage was one I was not expecting. I’m DRY. She’s touching me with massage oil and I’m DRY. So this is what it’s like to feel normal. I’m doing it! The puddles I usually experience were gone. I could’ve created puddles with my eyes, though. That hour-long experience of being dry in a situation that I had been afraid of putting myself in all of my life made me want to cry. I still get teary just thinking about it.

 

“In your moments of fear, recognize what your own power of choice is.” – Gary Zukav

 

Step Outside of Your Sweat Box

I chose to go through with a massage with the intention of enjoying all it has to offer. I wasn’t going to let my hyperhidrosis hold me back from experiencing the healing power of touch. It was more than touch, though. It was a mental and physical breakthrough of the limitations I so often feel because of my sweaty body. It was pure, unadulterated bliss. There were no pressures, no worries. Just me being me, with an unexpected bonus of being dry.

 

Lessons From a Massage

You are worthy of being touched.

Bring all of yourself (and any sweat accessories you need) to your life.

You can’t really go anywhere once you’re on a massage table. But, you can go places in your mind. Decide right then and there that you can transcend your circumstances. You, too, can do something despite what your body might be telling you.

Be open to an experience. It just might surprise you.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Another Massage? No Sweat!

Navigating a Massage with Hyperhidrosis

Last week I had my second-ever massage with a new massage therapist whom I found advertised on Crowd Savings. I highly recommend using these group discount websites. Groupon, Living Social, and (fill in the city) Daily Deals are a few others I’ve used before.

 

Fill out the comments section when booking an appointment
When I booked the appointment online, there was a field that said Comments. I used this section of the form to enter a few personal details about myself so that I could feel more comfortable upon arrival: I suffer from a medical condition called hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). While it’s not serious enough to impede my having a massage, I’d like you to know I prefer a cooler room temperature, no blankets, and no heated massage table. I will bring a small fan with me for airflow purposes, but if you have a larger fan, that would be helpful. Thank you.

 

By getting this information out in the open, I no longer had to worry about it. Massage therapists are health care professionals. They have been trained and made aware that people come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of wetness. Some of them may not have ever heard of hyperhidrosis before, and that’s okay. You can be the one to educate them about a condition that is under-recognized and under-treated. Take what you’ve been given and make it work toward a greater good. Yes, this is intimidating. Yes, this puts you at the forefront of attention. But can you do it? How about another “yes” in this paragraph? If you can’t be comfortable nearly naked on a table with your masseuse, then whom can you be comfortable with? Give the hyperhidrosis disclaimer and then move into being more like the rest of the people who get massages and think nothing of it. You deserve it.

 

Ask for any paperwork in advance
When I arrived at the massage center, we began by introducing ourselves, and then Julie had me fill out some client paperwork. I recommend to all health care professionals to make their patient forms available online. I much prefer being able to print things in advance and fill them out in my own environment to avoid a trigger situation. It was a short form, so it wasn’t that big of a deal and I was able to complete it before my hands got too wet. After that, Julie led me to the massage room and helped me set up my 4-inch desk fan I had brought with me. She set it up on a shelf in the corner about 2 feet away from the head of the table. She had me lay down on the table to test the air flow and positioning of the fan. Once I confirmed the fan was in the right spot, she left so I could undress. When you have a massage, you decide the level of comfort. I’m not comfortable being entirely in my birthday suit for a massage, so I brought a pair of loose fitting cotton shorts. Ladies, I do recommend removing your bra. It will hinder the smooth flow of movement from the masseuse. Your body is always covered except for the area on which the massage is occurring, so you won’t be flashing anyone anyway.

 

Try to relax on the massage table
When I first arrive somewhere, my body is usually hyped up and I can feel myself sweating and my heart racing from the fight-or-flight response. So when I got on the table to lie down, I could feel my heart was beating fast. I got comfortable and just focused on taking  some deep breaths to try and relax. There was island type music playing, so I tried to focus on that. Julie came in a few minutes later and began with a few simple massage strokes so that I could get used to her touch. I did make it a point to tell her it was okay to really put out on the amount of pressure she used. I wanted to be dead relaxed by the time I was done, so she had my permission to push hard. She had good hands, too; they were big and broad and strong.

 

When the massage first started, right away my inner monologue took center stage and began shouting things like Oh, God, I can feel my feet sweating. Crap! and Geeze, my hands are kind of damp, too. Is my back making droplets? I can feel myself sweating there a bit. Oh, no. The best thing to do when this happens is to reign it in and tell those voices in your head to kindly SHUT IT. To help with this, I asked Julie to move the sheet up so that my feet could be in the open air. A minute or two later, I pulled my hands out from under the sheet, too. After I did all this, I was able to get cool, calm, and collected and then just focus on the stress leaving my body. The massage ended with a therapeutic foot scrub. By that point I was pretty relaxed and fully acclimated to the room temperature. My feet were no longer sweating, and it felt great when she wrapped them in hot towels and then scrubbed them with salts.

 

Drink water after the massage
Once I was dressed and walked into the lobby, she had a glass of water on the table for me. It’s important to hydrate before and after a massage, but especially after to help flush the toxins that have just been released. During the massage, Julie started to ask me a question but then stopped herself and told me to remind her to ask when we were done. I appreciated this, as the whole point of a massage is to relax and not carry on a conversation. She ended up asking me what the name of my sweating condition was. After I told her the medical term, she said she thought she might have it, too! I was so excited to hear this. I was able to share my blog with her and the types of treatments I had tried. I explained the International Hyperhidrosis Society and my Botox experience and gave her tips and ideas for products to try. I also told her she should apply her deodorant at night in addition to in the morning. It absorbs better that way and will plug the sweat ducts better.

 

Ask for what you need
This massage was such a good experience for me. We attract exactly the people we need into our lives. To now have my very own masseuse who understands my condition because she has it herself and can think like I think with regard to sweating is awesome. She told me she was thinking about our appointment ahead of time and trying to come up with ways to make it better. She debated the pros and cons of massage lotion vs massage oil (she went with oil since it takes longer to absorb into the skin and I could wipe most of it off when we were done), where to place the fan, removed all the blankets and had only sheets on the table, didn’t turn on the heating function on the table, etc. She was even worried when she was working on my right side that she might be blocking the fan. I love this woman!

 

We had such a nice conversation afterward. Julie said she got into massage because her parents were both very sick and she watched as they were no longer able to have massages. Her mother went to the same masseuse for 14 years and then stopped going because she now had to wear a colostomy bag. Her mother was embarrassed and felt unsanitary and no longer worthy of having a massage. Julie said she also wants to help wounded veterans who are disfigured or missing a limb; they, too, have reservations when it comes to feeling worthy of being touched. These stories absolutely broke my heart. No matter what we go through, we should never be ashamed and feel unworthy of the gift of touch. The gift of touch can save lives. If you’re reading this, please know that you are worthy. You are worthy simply because you are here. You deserve love, compassion, and the opportunity to live your truth and not be inhibited by exactly who you are. If you haven’t already, begin now to stand tall. Fake it at first if you have to. Eventually it will start to feel natural because you will be more fully engaged with the intention of becoming your best self. If you are confident, you are beautiful. If I can get a massage, you can, too.

 

Fall 2011 050 This is on the wall of the massage room. I like it because it doesn’t quite sit straight on the wall.

Life is always slightly askew. You just have to be able to lean with it to get a straight view.


 

Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle

My First-Ever Massage

I’ve always been too afraid to get a massage because of my hyperhidrosis. I worry about being too sweaty and dripping all over the massage table, grossing out the masseuse, grossing out myself because I hate my body and can’t control it, and not being able to relax physically or mentally because the sweating takes over my psyche. So when my friend posted about a massage giveaway, I must have gone temporarily insane because I decided to register to win. I figured if I won, then it was meant to be and I was supposed to go through with it so that I could blog about it. Well, hot damn and hallelujah! I won! I was initially very excited, but then all my HH doubts started to creep back into my mind. When Jennifer at Healing Hands Massage emailed me to schedule the appointment, I explained to her right away that I suffer from HH. She appreciated my sharing the information with her and said not to worry about my condition, that she’s worked on many different types of people and that variety is the spice of life. She told me not to focus my energy on my sweating, but to focus it on relaxing into the moment and enjoying the massage.

I explained to her my preferred environment: cooler, lots of air flow, and with plenty of time to spare for me to arrive and allow my body to adapt to the environment. I absolutely cannot feel rushed when I’m doing things, as it triggers my HH. I arrived with time to spare and Jennifer went over my paperwork, asked me if there were any areas of my body I did not want her to touch, and explained what to expect during my massage. While we were talking, she mentioned that she had already removed the fleece blanket she had on the table, since she knew that hot things were my enemy. When she left the room and I was getting ready to lie down on the table, I noticed another blanket on top of the table, so I immediately tossed it onto the chair. So, it was just me in between 2 sheets. I wasn’t entirely nude; I wore a pair of loose cotton shorts because I just wasn’t comfortable being completely exposed even though she would only uncover the part of my body she was working on at the time.

Prior to all of this, I had told her that I would be bringing my own small fan with me to help increase my comfort level. She also had a fan on site that was much bigger than mine, so we ended up using hers instead. God bless whoever invented fans; it was my saving grace that day and allowed me to indulge in an experience that I otherwise would have kept avoiding because of my sweating. Do not be afraid to ask for what you need if you think it will allow you to go beyond your normal comfort zone and live your life. My complete honesty and straightforwardness about my condition allowed me to transcend it for that blissful hour.

The only part I had a problem with was getting my brain to stop ruminating. I was able to relax my body and not worry about sweating since I had my BFF the fan right there next to me blowing cool encouraging breezes. I never got cold, and Jennifer said my muscles stayed warm and loose enough that she could still work on my body, which makes sense since my skin is always warmer than those who don’t have HH. So, I need to work on being more present in the moment and letting my brain relax. I certainly don’t need to be thinking, Okay, now she’s rubbing near my butt. I wonder if she thinks it’s fat? Seriously, that’s the kind of dumb stuff that was going through my brain. If you have any tips for meditation or mental relaxation, share the love. I’m a ruminator by nature, so this will definitely be something I’ll have to work on. But knowing that I can go through with a massage and tell my hyperhidrosis to suck it for an hour makes me hopeful.


If you’d like to book a massage with Jennifer, please tell her I referred you.

Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle

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