The Male Massage Therapist Stigma

I enjoy being in a career field that's predominately women.  I get to "stand out from the crowd" so to speak.  Of course being a male massage therapist does have it's set of challenges to overcome.  There are so many people I could have helped with their pain situation; if they would have let me work on them.  Sadly however many out there wouldn't ever let a guy perform bodywork on them.

Now I'm not setting out to complain, but I would like to share my perspective.  Everyone has their reasons of choosing one gender over the other.  People look for female therapists because they have more of a "caring" touch.  Many look for male massage therapists because of the perception that we are stronger.  I'm here to tell you that when it really comes down to it, gender doesn't matter when it comes to a good massage.

Does it upset me a little when someone tells me that they want a female therapist instead?  I would be lying if I said it doesn't, but I know everyone has their own reasons.  That person might have a history of sexual abuse from a male, had a terrible massage experience from a male, sexual bias or a plethora of many reasons they prefer a female over a male.  I can relate to most guys who would never let another guy touch them.  Before I entered this profession, I wouldn't have either.  It would have been just too weird for me.  Nowadays, I couldn't tell you how many male massage therapists have worked on me.

What changed my mind?  Working on and being worked on by males when I was in massage school was so weird to me.  But the more massage I received, the more I realized that it really didn't matter who was working on me.  Sometimes females gave better massages, sometimes it was the males.  I got to a point that gender didn't matter anymore.  I wanted the best person for the job.  If I'm paying for an hour massage which generally ranges from $60-$100, I want to get my money's worth and give it to the best therapist male or female.

I can see where it may be more difficult to trust a male therapist over a female.  My first recommendation is to always research who the therapist is.  When potential clients find my website, I make sure to present a professional image.  I do this by spelling out exactly what I do, what my clients can expect, great reviews from past clients, and the many articles I have written about massage.  To make it easier, I always let everyone know that I can perform bodywork with your clothes on.  My main concern is if someone could really use my services, I'd hate for them not to come see me because of my gender.  I work on over 100 people a month, you're just another body on the table that needs my help.  Whether that is relaxation or specific focus massage for pain, I want to make sure all my clients have a great experience.

Most people have no problem going to physical therapy and having a male physical therapist work on them.  The work I perform is closely related to manual techniques that some physical therapist would use.  Many have no problem going to a male chiropractor.  The work I do is equally as important as the benefits you can receive from chiropractic.  Why the hang up?  Is it taking off clothes and having some male stranger massage you?  Possibly.  If you look at it as a medical necessity does your way of thinking change?  What if you got to keep your clothes on and get the same benefit?  Would you change your mind?  I give those options to all my clients.  Before each session with a new client I say "undress to your comfort level".  If that means keeping your clothes on, thats just fine by me.

Some of the misconceptions out there are that guys give more pressure than girls in massage which is not true.  Depending on how that therapist uses their body while performing bodywork depends on how much pressure the client gets.  I've had very deep massages from females and lighter massage from males.  If you find a female therapist online who specializes in deep tissue massage, chances are your going to find the pressure you need from that massage.  Male therapists can also give great relaxation massage just like their female counterparts.

If you're still thinking that you would never receive massage from a man, what's your hang-up?  A professional massage is never sexual in nature.  Granted there are creeper therapists that you hear about in the news from time to time; but that is why research is important before going in for the massage.  I always welcome potential clients to call or e-mail me with any questions before making a decision to book a massage.  

Hopefully my perspective on this has given you some insight.  Again, I totally understand that people will have their preferences.  I'll happily refer to the number of great female therapists in my area if the client is still uncomfortable with being worked on by a male.  However, if you've never had massage by a male and are considering it, give us a try.  Many who do end up being long term clients.