Parasympathetic Stimulation and Massage Therapy – A Frank Discussion of The “Involuntary Response”  

Parasympathetic Stimulation and Massage Therapy – A Frank Discussion of The “Involuntary Response”  


I begin this discussion by addressing the male guests first, as they appear to have, in my opinion, a more obvious reaction fitting the summary. To them I suggest pretending that the spa visit/massage is like a first date that you don’t want to go through “uncomfortably”. To prevent your gun from discharging, try arriving with a virtually unloaded    remise en forme   gun and an open, clean mind. Men already know that this is no “guarantee” but it helps prevent an unintended situation. You can’t really relax with a “loaded gun” can you? It does not matter whether you think your therapist is attractive or not, whether you have a same-sex therapist and you are completely heterosexual or not, whether you have the opposite scenario, or whether there are any obvious indication of the therapist’s sexual orientation. The parasympathetic brain will respond however it does in that moment and without your or your therapist’s fault.

The parasympathetic or involuntary response you have to your therapist’s touch can be scary, exciting, embarrassing, or frightening depending on you, your therapist, your view and understanding of massage, its benefits and the intent, skills and qualifications of the therapist. If your therapist is a professional, he/she is well aware of this involuntary stimulation when you are being massaged. Most of us don’t “freak out” when our client gets a hard on, although that was not the intent of our massage technique. I often say (when asked, and yes I have been asked countless times… LOL) that I expect it to happen. Why? Well, we are alive, sexual beings who respond to touch and external stimuli. You are being touched, hopefully lovingly, even if we’re working on a knot, and even if sex is not on your or our minds, which hopefully is the case in your legal and professional setting. An erection, in the “involuntary brain” is the same as digestion. You can’t control the stomach noises when you are hungry nor when your therapist works on some “trigger areas”. So, we are gonna hear “stomach noises” even if you ate and/or already went to the bathroom; and equally, you are gonna feel stimulated possibly leading to an erection, sometimes even if “the gun was/is empty”. Hence, DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT. DON’T FREAK OUT. DON’T TRY TO HIDE (which you can’t unless you are prone or you took precautions when you turned over (supine), to position this muscle where your therapist is less likely to see it), AND MOST OF ALL, PLEASE, DON’T REACH FOR IT OR REQUEST THAT WE REACH FOR IT.

At least in my practice, it’s not that kind of place; and actually, that is illegal in so many ways! Don’t draw our attention to it, whether you are being “funny” or not. I make note here also, that there may be the urge to grab at the therapist. You may need to pretend it’s that stripper at the club dancing on your lap but you can’t touch, or you get thrown out and still have to pay! Whoa, what an analogy! (giggles) Yes, please resist this urge, unless your therapist is your lover, etc., outside of the establishment. Sometimes, even if that is the case, please resist and don’t compromise the establishment’s business and change the flow of energy in your massage session. Someone will know! In this case, please “be selfish” and feel grateful that things inside you still work the way they should and mentally thank the therapist for reminding you of this. The work has been great and honorable in “unblocking” that channel for blood flow.

What is my wish for my honored client on my table? Do you have a choice if something happens in session that disturbs you? What else can you do to improve the relationship with your therapist and the establishment at which you receive service?

My direction at the beginning of every session is that: “If at any time anything feels uncomfortable, please let me know.” This could be any “uncomfortable” feeling. Maybe I need to stop moving my hands that way or go work somewhere else for a bit then return if I sense my “mission in that area was not accomplished or was delayed”. Please speak up! I don’t know what you are feeling when I do what I do. I just know that my hands convey love, my intuition indicated there was a need in that area and my energy went there in response to yours, so as to provide therapy. Sometimes your body asks for more pressure when you can’t handle it. Sometimes you have “emotional breaks” causing my hands to work fast or slow or go directly to that spot that has been bugging you. This is “energy movement”, which I am usually very connected to and which is not always understood. This type of “intuition” cannot be taught. You nor I don’t always know why I went directly to that spot, but it brings relief you have been begging for all week and that’s all that really matters. PLEASE KNOW THAT IF MY TREATMENT CAUSED YOU TO BE AROUSED, THAT THIS WAS NOT MY INTENTION AND HONESTLY, I WOULD BE MORTIFIED IF I KNEW YOU TOOK IT THAT WAY.

Sometimes clients don’t want to go back to that therapist, although, other than the “arousal embarrassment”, everything was great and they felt relief from the massage. Maybe the massage triggered feelings that were strong and overwhelming for you… Sometimes so for the therapist too, who must maintain professionalism and deal with this “self-care” later. If you understand parasympathetic stimulation in massage, you will understand the difference between when you are being touched for sexual pleasure and when you are not. If when you involuntarily moan, your therapist responded and started to coach you to give more, then it’s time to stop the session. The lines have been crossed into a different direction, as your therapist did not need to respond while in session and feed that channel.


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