Nothing to do with the impossibly complicated DiCaprio movie of a similar name, “interoception” is your sense of the physiological condition of your entire body. Essentially it is your own sense of how you feel. At its most basic, this means noticing the sensation of, for example, a dry mouth (thirsty!) or a rumbling stomach (hungry!). But how many us have a good sense of our own heart rate, or breathing rate, or can correctly interpret signals from muscle fascia? We all have different degrees of accuracy in our senses of interoception just as we do with other senses, like eyesight. People with impaired interoception are often unable to distinguish between different physical sensations and sometimes have trouble feeling anything at all, including emotions. In fact, depression has been associated with impaired interoceptive accuracy. But clinical treatment to improve impaired or disturbed interoception are rare, which is where alternative therapies could help.
As massage therapists, obviously our job is to make our customers feel better. Sometimes this is a case of helping you relax (for which we recommend our Thai aromatherapy massage); sometimes it’s about loosening up a tight muscle (for which we recommend our Thai deep tissue massage). Massage stimulates the nerve endings in muscle fascia, which is a direct path to enhancing body awareness. Slow techniques in particular, that tend to induce feelings of relaxation, allow customers to accurately process sensory input. So as you start coming for more regular massages, a welcome side effect can be an improved sense of interoception. Ultimately, improved interoception can boost your capacity for self-care, and to help guide us to the exact location of discomfort.
We encourage our massage therapists to focus on their interoception too – you may notice your therapist taking a few deep breaths before starting your massage. Recognising the early signs of bodily strain is important to keep our therapists working at their best.
If you’re thinking about starting a course of massage in the serene surroundings of our new spa in Holborn, then please go ahead and book yourself in!