COVID-19 Changed the Bodyrub Industry – 2023 Guide
In a time where mental health matters, how are the gatekeepers functioning?
Bodyrubs, massage therapy, and other types of touch-based meditative practices have long been hailed for their help in connecting our mental wellbeing with our physiological health. Bodyrubs can help us center, actualize ourselves in the present, and reconnect the often-compartmentalized functionality within our body and our mind.
Bodyrubs specifically, can help create more robust communication skills, tapping into ancient practices to better align ourselves with the metaphysical- as practitioners communicate through touch- something that even the most ironclad defenses have trouble ignoring. “Sentimentality and intimacy are two aspects to bodyrubs that most people gravitate towards.” Says the brilliant mind behind Elite Indulgence. “Because of their tactile nature, bodyrubs have a way of bridging a gap between our emotional life and our physical life- something that most intensive massage practices don’t really focus on.” Elite suggests that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, familiarizing ourselves with our emotional mind is now more important than ever.
“There’s a lot of loss happening right now. Loss of money, security, social relationships, a sense of belonging… If we aren’t given the appropriate space to deal with these emotions now, the buildup will be devastating.” However, with most bodyrub temples and purveyors being shut down- what are we to do about it?
What Bodyrubs Can Offer
Bodyrubs can offer something that goes far past sexual satisfaction, in fact, that’s generally just considered a bonus. The point of a bodyrub is to better connect your emotional mind with your physical one. A separation and compartmentalization habit that most of us fall prey to without even realizing it. By suppressing deeper, more vulnerable emotions, our communication skills and baselines happiness flounder, particularly when we use the distractions of the future and past to occupy our present mind.
“So many of us use things like guilt and anxiety to self-modulate. These are past and future emotions, respectively; and neither has anything to do with where we are at today, right now. I think that this type of compartmentalization will see a lot of people truffle to pull back from the trauma that Covid-19 has brought with it.” Elite Indulgence suggests that the best way to connect with the present, and consequently deal with these distracting emotions is by doing something that brings you firmly into the present.
Using mindfulness and meditative practices aren’t easy though. These things require someone to shut off their internal dialogue, focusing only on the sounds and sensations that they are presented with at that very moment- while disconnecting their physical body from reacting. This can help lower cortisol levels in the body, a hormone that is responsible for a number of mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety.
Bodyrubs can offer this type of focal point by creating a safe space to be vulnerable in, as well as sensations that require your mind to focus solely on what is happening in the present moment. “This idea of pretense can help a lot of people practice mindfulness, especially men- who are generally more resistive to mindfulness practice.”
By increasing blood flow, helping to relax tense muscles, and melting away stress, body rubs also protect your physical health. Human touch and intimate interaction often result in the body releasing hormones that are thought to have a profound effect on our mood and general state of happiness. Hormones like oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine are just some that are related to these functions.
Specifically, with the release of oxytocin, we are able to trust those that touch us in favorable ways, which creates a feedback loop for bodyrubs and the people who are receiving them. “By releasing oxytocin, a sense of trust is achieved. If you trust your masseuse, then you’ll basically be priming yourself to become more vulnerable. Which means that you can more easily reach that meditative state of mind that most bodyrubs seek to achieve.”
Many types of massage also promote body familiarity, which just means that you’re more aware of what’s normal for your own body’s form and function. This can help to note any abnormalities or red flags early, which can assist in heading off disease and identifying any problem areas that may require a physician’s attention. Other physiological upsides to receiving regular massages, both during a pandemic and after- are the improvement of immune system function, decrease in resting heart rate and blood pressure, as well as improved joint mobility. There’s also evidence to suggest that a bodyrub or other type of massage could actually help you fight off Covid-19, as researchers say massage may dampen cytokine response. An inflammatory modulator that has been closely linked with the novel coronavirus, among other respiratory diseases.
Bodyrubs in a Pandemic
While the time to get a bodyrub may well be upon us, finding one is much more difficult. Because of the intimate nature of bodyrubs, practitioners must come in close contact with their clients. As we well know, close contact isn’t something that particularly in vogue at the moment. Mostly because businesses that require this sort of close contact have been closed due to governmental guidelines, but as these rules ease, bodyrub experts are looking for ways to reopen. Keeping their customers safe without compromising on the experience.
“Foremost, I think it’s important to be there for our client’s rights now,” the owner of Elite Indulgence explains. “I understand how difficult this time is for people all over the world, and it’s been really disruptive for me that I can’t just jump in and help.” Elite Indulgence, like many other practices, is looking for the best ways to re-extend their talents. When mask-wearing becomes a barrier to the effectiveness of their service, places like Elite are looking into other methods of safety. Some have begun asking for a verified negative COVID-19 test from clients, within 24hrs of their appointment; supplying theirs in return.
More intensive cleaning and sanitizing processes are eating up profits, yet practitioners are happy to comply. Some see fewer clients, allowing for more time between bookings, ensuring everyone’s safety. “Things have changed, but the goal is still the same.” She says, “I want my clients to be happy and healthy. When bodyrubs are an important part of their wellbeing, I want to make sure I can provide that in the safest way possible.”