Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tales From the (Massage) Table: Alopecia

So, I've been a working massage therapist since about mid-August (about 10 weeks), and I've enjoyed getting to know -- to feel -- so many different types of bodies, so many types of skin, hair, bones, and energies.

There is a disorder called Alopecia.  It is a condition that causes hair loss, sometimes all over a person's body, sometimes in small patches.  There are lots of possible causes, and sometimes it's permanent, sometimes fleeting.

To feel the skin of a person with this condition is heavenly.

I'm fully aware that losing any of one's hair can be stressful, sad, difficult, and angering. I am not in any way trying to dismiss or diminish the reality of those feelings. But to me, it's better than stroking a baby's skin. Babies feel fragile. Even their skin feels fragile and delicate; kind of loose, and you can feel the surface layer separately from the underlying chub. With folks with alopecia, their skin is ... how to describe? The word that comes to mind is "rich." It is velvety, but deeper than that. If you had a piece of very thick-napped velvet and held it in a bowl of water, so it was smooth and glidey and just a bit resistant, that might be it.

And instead of that super fragile feeling you get from baby skin, it's strong.  So strong and resilient. Not porous, not spongy, not careful.  To me, it's the way skin would feel if somehow science in about 200 years figured out how to make skin strong and injury-proof, but still sensitive to touch.

To all my clients (past, present, hopefully future), I enjoy and respect your skin. I hope you do too.

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