How to Talk About Bodies — Neutrally and Authentically! 

A group of happy women from diverse backgrounds in spa facials talk about body diversity neutrally

From positivity to neutrality, expand on how we talk about body diversity in a spa setting

Body Positivity” is a popular term (and hashtag) on social media, encouraging people worldwide to celebrate their bodies and how they appear, no matter how they appear. The notion seems good in principle at first glance, but look deeper and you may find it has a subtle, yet toxic underlying message: that all bodies should be celebrated,  no matter what, and there is no room for days where you just feel BLAH. And who doesn’t have days like that from time to time? 

Body neutrality is a term coined by Anne Poirier, and is the idea that bodies are neither “good” nor “bad”, they just simply are. It is a practice that calls us to accept bodies as they are, and what they can (or can’t) do as neutral fact. It makes more space for understanding that no matter the state, shape, size, or feeling, a body is just a body, and doesn’t need to be disparaged or celebrated. Imagine a world where no one would have to think about whether they will be able to comfortably sit on a chair in a waiting room, or lay on a massage table without it buckling, or boarding a plane and buckling their seat belt with ease? Wouldn’t that be a wonderfully mundane thing? 

Naturally, in a spa or other physical treatment setting, there are things you and other practitioners need to know to provide effective and meaningful treatments to your clients. Here are some phrases we recommend avoiding, and how to replace them in your consultations and intake, to start your body neutrality practice. 

Embracing Body Diversity Means Avoiding…
  • Suggesting that any body or parts are “problematic” or “troublesome” or “concerning”. People are the experts on their own bodies and experiences in them, so don’t project these kinds of judgments onto others.
  • Remarking on how “brave” or “inspiring” someone is for moving through the world in their body.
  • Recommending or implying that weight loss would increase their comfort or quality of life.

Finally, remember not to ask for any information that is not relevant to your client’s safety and comfort during treatment. Weight can be tricky to talk about, try to get ahead of needing to ask your client for their weight if needed. For example, include information about the size, weight capacity of equipment like massage tables, chairs, etc. on your website, so the client knows ahead of time. 

Practice saying or asking…
  • Questions about how your client feels that day, and how they want to feel after treatment, are good ways to empower them to work with you to get the most out of treatment.
    • Eg. “How do you want to feel after your treatment today?” “What do you want me to focus on during our time together?” 
  • Ask if there is anything that you need to be aware of to safely and supportively treat them, without shaming or judging them.
    • Eg. “Is there anything I should know about to make sure you are comfortable throughout your appointment? For example, any injuries, sensitivities, or allergies?” 
  • Invite them to ask questions or make requests for their comfort that may have been overlooked — let your client teach you how you can make things better for them for their next visit!
    • Eg. “What else would make you more comfortable before we get started?” “Do you have everything you need so you can relax and enjoy your treatment?” 

We are here to help you further your spa business’ inclusivity practices. Access your FREE Size-Inclusive Spa Checklist today. This essential tool is purpose-built for spa owners like you, designed to help evaluate the inclusivity of your business practices towards clients in larger-sized bodies. By applying the insights from this checklist, you’re well on your path to crafting a spa that exudes inclusivity, making sure every client, regardless of their size, feels authentically cherished and welcomed.

If you’re eager to discover effective strategies for reaching and growing your audience, attracting new clients, and boosting your revenue, visit our website at and explore Larger Luxury: The Size-Inclusive Spa Course.

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