Body Talk: Are You Ticklish?

One recent client shared with me she was uncomfortable receiving massage due to being highly ticklish. She said, “I don’t like being touched because my knees, back and calf muscles are so ticklish!” Sensations that keep individuals from the massage table may be sensations that are telling you the body is holding tension.

Over the years, I have come to know that physical sensations are related to tension held in the body. Pressure, ticklishness, tenderness, and pain are all related to muscles holding tension in the body. In particular, ticklish sensations can be reduced as the body relaxes. Because the sensation causes laughter and sometimes contractions throughout the body, I begin by gently stretching the ticklish muscles. This invites the body to release tension on the joints above and below the muscle, for example the quads release the knee, hip and even the low back area. One the muscles are relaxed, firm pressure on the muscle tissue invites increase in circulation, often the sensation of ticklishness is reduced or gone after stretching. Then pressure on the muscle brings deeper relaxation to the body.

This methodical series of techniques allows a ticklish person to receive massage without bringing more tension to the body. I’ve worked with individuals who have high degree of ticklishness in the leg muscles with success. These clients depart relaxed and happy to be rid of the ticklish feelings.

If you have a highly ticklish body and other issues of carrying tension in your body that keep you from the massage table, consider asking that your body be stretched before your muscles are touched and tickled. If I can be of service, please contact me at the link below.

Peace to All,

Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT

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