The worst experiences I have had as a male MT

Discussion area for male practitioners on issues and topics related to their practice.

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joshuatenpenny
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Post by joshuatenpenny » Tue Sep 02, 2008 1:02 pm

AaronN wrote: "Okay, I have you booked with Aaron, one of our male therapists, at 2:00. Do you have any questions?"
The secretary at my office routinely introduces me to clients by saying "This is Joshua, our male massage therapist". It boggles me why she feels this is necessary. I'm standing right there. I'm obviously a man. My name is as gender-specific as they get. But we only have two MTs, and if she is introducing both of us she will say "This is Christina, our female massage therapist." I really don't get it.

-- Joshua

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Post by naturalhealing » Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:28 pm

joshuatenpenny wrote:
AaronN wrote: "Okay, I have you booked with Aaron, one of our male therapists, at 2:00. Do you have any questions?"
The secretary at my office routinely introduces me to clients by saying "This is Joshua, our male massage therapist". It boggles me why she feels this is necessary. I'm standing right there. I'm obviously a man. My name is as gender-specific as they get. But we only have two MTs, and if she is introducing both of us she will say "This is Christina, our female massage therapist." I really don't get it.

-- Joshua
Have you said anything to her about that? To me it might create an issue where there wasn't one.

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Breathe
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Post by Breathe » Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:30 pm

joshuatenpenny wrote:
The secretary at my office routinely introduces me to clients by saying "This is Joshua, our male massage therapist". It boggles me why she feels this is necessary. I'm standing right there. I'm obviously a man. My name is as gender-specific as they get. But we only have two MTs, and if she is introducing both of us she will say "This is Christina, our female massage therapist." I really don't get it.

-- Joshua

You should beat her to the punch and start introducing your clients to "Jane, our Female secretary." hehe.
abusing the word "actually" since 1973

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naturalhealing
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Post by naturalhealing » Wed Sep 03, 2008 3:19 am

Breathe wrote:
joshuatenpenny wrote:
The secretary at my office routinely introduces me to clients by saying "This is Joshua, our male massage therapist". It boggles me why she feels this is necessary. I'm standing right there. I'm obviously a man. My name is as gender-specific as they get. But we only have two MTs, and if she is introducing both of us she will say "This is Christina, our female massage therapist." I really don't get it.

-- Joshua

You should beat her to the punch and start introducing your clients to "Jane, our Female secretary." hehe.
lol I like that!

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Post by tksbussong » Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:43 am

I assist management at the Wellness Center that I work at and currently we have a "difference of opinion' on how we should handle the male vs female therapist situation.

We have 4 men working in our facility (14 therapists total). All VERY professional and excellent therapists!!

The debate is because the owner chooses to spring it on the client at the last second if they have a male or female therapist. The way that I have dealt with that if the client balks at it is, I will look at them somewhat shocked and dubiously if they ask for a female and sometimes say "really?? I'm sorry, I thought you described your condition as _____ and he's one of our top therapists trained in helping people with that specific condition."

Then, because I'm hateful, I may become condescending and smile politely.

I DO like the suggestion of "Your therapist will be ________"

It may be easier in a wellness center to begin with because people are looking to reduce their pain.

In a spa or salon, the people are already going there for superficial reasons (not an insult), so the probability of someone being self-conscious with a male would be greater.

Just my thoughts.

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Snackdaddy
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My (latest) worst experience

Post by Snackdaddy » Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:57 pm

Hi, I just joined today. 15 years in biz, first posting.

I contract some to a local high-end golf and residential community. I had done 5 or so massages on "Mrs. White", two at the clubhouse massage room, and three at her house. No problems whatsoever.

She invites me to her Christmas party. At first I said, "no", but she really insisted. So I went. It was there that I was briefly introduced to her husband "Fred". He was civil enough.

I get a phone call the next day from Mrs. White. She said that at the end of the party, he went BALLISTIC. Some of what he said..... "I cant believe you've been getting a massage from a man! How dare you invite him into this house! You emasculated me in front of my friends! Why didn't you just introduce him saying that here's a guy who has been rubbing my wife's a$$! I want to see records of how many massages you two have had together!" Et cetera, et cetera.

Needless to say, no more massages between me and Mrs. White. She asked, if he ever calls me or whatever, to lie and say that all the massages were done at the clubhouse. My answer is that my policy has been for years to not deny nor acknowledge the existence of a massage appointment to ANYONE other than the person asking for him/her self. The property concierge is in on all this, and is sympathetic to me.

Happy holidays to me! Or something. There are other scary stories, and some good ones, but those will come in time, right?

Happy to be here on this site, and look forward to participating with it.

Snackdaddy (my old vending business name).

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Post by StephenCMT » Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:21 pm

Ohhh, yeah. Been there.

Jealous husbands and BF's are the worst. I actually lost 2 great longtime clients due to their new BF's having them agree to not see me or any male MT anymore. And I have worse stories as well. As long as people remain ignorant of what legitimate MT's do, there will always be a chance of unfortunate stuff like this.

On the flipside, I know people who's GF/wives won't let them see female MT's so this isn't limited to being Male. Jealousy crosses all gender lines and we have to remember that it's less about us and more about whatever trust issues they're having with eachother or themselves.
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EgoMagickian
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Post by EgoMagickian » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:05 pm

She invites me to her Christmas party. At first I said, "no", but she really insisted. So I went.

Mmm as someone who has been dealing with boundary issues and learning how to skillfully say no to this kind of thing... I am struck by how dramatically crossing this line impacted your working relationship with this client.

My opinion: the possibility of satisfying a client's personal interaction desires in a situation that goes well and doesn't have negative consequences is SO not worth the risk of a situation going down the road yours did.

Your situation illustrates a couple other things... 1) it doesn't matter how normal your client is (i.e. "no exceptions") because 2) suddenly you lose a LOT of control when you exit your frame and unknowns (such as crazy spouses) can then become factors.

By not sticking to your boundary and giving in to what your client thought she wanted, she now has lost out on the care she was receiving. Your practice is there to meet certain caretaking needs, not to meet social needs; the boundaries are there to serve that. They're not there because we want to disappoint clients, but disappointing clients is sometimes necessary.

Vivid illustration. Thank you so much for sharing it.

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Post by Highlander » Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:47 pm

My feeling is this: If a client has a husband who is adamantly opposed to her getting massage from a man it is best to find this out quickly. The husband in this case was so upset that his wife was asking the MT to lie about a few (3 maybe) massages. What would he have been like if he found out that she had been receiving massages for a year or two? :shock:

I'm not saying that the wife was delliberately witholding information, I'm just saying that perhaps the "boundary crossing invitation" at least brought a situation that the MT needed to know about out in the open. I'm not sure how I'd feel about working with a client whose husband adamantly opposed our massages. :undecided: Would I end the relationship? Pehaps. I'll have to think about this one. Hmnnn. . .

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EgoMagickian
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Post by EgoMagickian » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:36 pm

Hmm maybe. I'm not sure I'm convinced that the situation is one the MT needs to know about. Seems to me that marriage conflicts over my services are still marriage conflicts and aren't actually about me or any of my business.

That's what I've got off the top of my head though :-)

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Post by JasonE » Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:17 am

Please pardon me for a brief rant...

If someone wants to come onto this thread (or this section of the forum) and spout incendiary stuff that stirs anger in the hearts of their fellow practitioners... let'em. It usually leads to productive sharing of deeper feelings that motivate behaviors and displayed attitudes. While we don't always like what we learn about someone, it's also a good opportunity to work our way past the disagreements and try to find some common ground to work from.

Ultimately, this is how we can change hearts and minds.

I am a male therapist, and I probably do more chest and hip flexor work than any four of my employees combined. Do I fret about whether a client has been abused or had some other traumatic experience related to the areas I am working? Never. If they don't share such concerns with me during our intake, I am not going to assume that problems will suddenly arise. Neither will I assume that such problems will never arise. That is part of the reason for doing an intake. It is their opportunity to share any concerns with me beforehand. If they choose to keep mum for whatever reason, I am not going to question that. They have their reasons and that's just fine. When they want me to know, they'll say so. Resolution of emotional issues is outside my scope of practice, regardless of what some practitioners (and CE providers) suggest to the contrary.

Do I care if a client has a significant other that would be jealous or angry because of the work I do for that client? No. So long as the jealous person doesn't interfere with my business, it's none of my concern. The client has to make their own choices and accept the consequences of their actions.

Sometimes I think MTs worry WAY too much about this or that possible thing, or about vague hints of client emotional issues, or whether someone might take offense to something we do or say. It's ridiculous. Many lengthy books have been published on the topic of "How to be a decent person and not a jerk therapist" - and I've seen many of those books recommended over and over - even have some on my shelf (and read'em). Is it really that hard to just be a good person, attentive to clients but not overly into their private life, and not blur the client/therapist boundaries?

And being a male MT: is it really so bad? I've run head-first into the idiots that have discriminatory hiring practices... but their practices generally aren't the sort of place I would want to work for long anyway. If you can't join'em, beat'em. Being a male MT has helped me avoid working for fools that can't see the longstanding errors of their ways, and propelled me to become co-owner of a large, successful massage center of good repute.

Mountains or molehills. Half-full or half-empty. Choose your perspectives and live with the consequences. There is always a way to become a better version of yourself, even if it's not the way you originally had in mind.
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Post by sillypup » Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:53 am

with regards to male issue of clients wanting females. I don't find that an issue unless the client wants pampering relaxation massage. It's also gets overblown if the owner of the business make such a big deal of it as what energy you put into this issue, it gets bigger. one of the ways to by pass this is to ask client what type of massage they want. Fit the needed service to the massage provider, not fit the gender to the client. big difference in professionalism if the bookings were done this way which many places don't do because they are short sighted in gender issues rather than focusing on giving great customer massage service. this is also reason why most business fail. they focus on gender pleasing rather than good massage.

also many are lazy to do paperwork. in CA one have to do disclosure form if one is doing real professional massage work. any type of massage helping pain require that if you want to protect yourself. and many places don't want that forms done because it will give clients info on their therapist. many business place don't want clients to know the therapist training because they are fresh off the boat or show such a big gap in training from each other. most hire base on looks, females of course as they were taught or followed the sheep herd in this business that massage is for good looking female.

until more great therapist have easier access to opening their own practice so the general public knows what a real massage work is, which isn't pampering, massage will be suppress and filled with discrimination. I still find a large percentage of clients who are clueless about potential of massage as a means to preventative health care. It's not going to change anytime soon if the day spa industry keep marketing massage as pampering and there isn't enough massage practice to counter that propaganda. notice how many spas want you to learn hot stone or body wraps or whatever service not massage related? which isn't really massage in my opinion. massage is a side business to the spas and will never be portray as a main dish on it's own in day spa environment. they will always have the word 'spa' filter massage as pampering, hence the hiring of females and males being look down upon. that's my intake on this male perspective.

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Post by YFChoice » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:56 pm

To sillypup:

HUH?!?
You have to think anyway....you might as well think big.
~ Donald Trump ~

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Post by sillypup » Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:22 am

Just ranting away about males having to deal with sexism of females clients wanting male clients or how company perpetuates it by how they book clients or run massage business base on pampering marketing and not professional work. And how the massage market is influence by spas which makes company want to hire females only due to 'pampering means massage' propaganda that is sweeping the massage field.

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JasonE
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Post by JasonE » Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:18 pm

sillypup wrote:Just ranting away about males having to deal with sexism of females clients wanting male clients or how company perpetuates it by how they book clients or run massage business base on pampering marketing and not professional work. And how the massage market is influence by spas which makes company want to hire females only due to 'pampering means massage' propaganda that is sweeping the massage field.
That's a marketing dead end. Get ahead of the curve and differentiate yourself from the "pampering" concept.
Jason Erickson, NCTMB, ACE-CPT, AIS-TA
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Snackdaddy
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Post by Snackdaddy » Thu Mar 05, 2009 7:52 pm

In an effort to be brief, I left too much of my story open to guesswork.

What convinced me to accept the party invitation was the news that ALL personal service providers of hers, and the property's, had been invited as well. The invitation was then taken as a networking opportunity to meet not just her family and friends, but the neighbors in the community as well, bearing in mind that I am on the "roster" of massage providers officially recommended by the propery management company. Even the property concierge, to whom I answer, was there.
Having worked in a number of resort hotels here in Scottsdale, AZ on and off for 15 years, I'm certain that company-sponsored happy hours and dinner meetings and golf outings and jeep tours and other "meet-and-greets" is standard procedure for most any other avenue of business in this country (except perhaps government work). It's how business is done.
So the problem here isn't HER having a need to trick her massage therapist into a date; nor is it ME not understanding boundaries. The problem here is HER JACKASS HUSBAND. Period. I won't accept any shame for my decisions. And I won't interact with people only in safe controlled environments. Human interaction bears risks. Most times all goes well; every now and then someone reacts in crazy ways. I accept those measured risks in order to connect with the people around me.

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EgoMagickian
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Post by EgoMagickian » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:41 pm

Thanks for following up, snackdaddy...

I won't accept any shame for my decisions.

Did you experience any of the replies as shaming you? I did not read any of them that way, and certainly did not write mine that way, so I hope this comment is only tangential to what's been said here.

I'm certain that company-sponsored happy hours and dinner meetings and golf outings and jeep tours and other "meet-and-greets" is standard procedure for most any other avenue of business in this country (except perhaps government work). It's how business is done.

Perhaps that describes how most business is done. On the other hand, there are a lot of professions—pretty much any which involve sensitive personal issues, an expectation of privacy, etc where this may not be the case.

I understand boundaries are individual... in my case, I still would have declined the client's invitation, but my work situation is different than yours. I can see where you could be coming from in terms of how you might want to hold your work and its relationship to the community.

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Snackdaddy
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Post by Snackdaddy » Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:14 pm

No offense taken, amigo. And I always like reading your writings on all the threads throughout the forums.

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experiences

Post by hawaiianhealing » Tue Apr 21, 2009 3:00 pm

Will male therapists every be totally accepted, most likely not. I have been a therapist for 24+ years. I grew up with three generations of male massage therapists and assumed until I was 19 that men only were massage therapists.

I have had men act improperly and women as well. I once worked at a place that asked me to not wear a shirt while giving a massage because they said it would bring in more female clients. (I told them no) they also had the women massage therapists wear spaghetti strap tops, claiming it was more comfortable for the therapists (Bull S) that also showed off 3-4 inches of their waist line.

I have had female massage therapist who did not want to be worked on by me because I was male. On that subject their schools failed them.

I taught at a school who would find out what ever issues a student had like they did not want to work on fat people or opposite genders, or gay or lesbian and the hands on teaching staff would make sure that those people got to work on those people every day.

Below is a quote from a long time massage school in california and I believe the field of massage therapy, clients and therapists themselves would be quite well served by the statement.

"We believe that learning the art of massage is first and foremost a journey of exploration into your own self. Before you can respectfully enter the intimate arena of physical contact with another human being you must first explore accept and understand your own world."
"We believe that learning the art of massage is first and foremost a journey of exploration into your own self."

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Re: The worst experiences I have had as a male MT

Post by AngEngland » Sat May 02, 2009 1:45 pm

It's funny because my favorite massage therapist is a man. In fact, I often have clients who ask "So who do YOU go to for a massage?" and I always reply, "The massage therapist who best suits my needs and with whom I feel the most comfortable is in _____ where my parents live. Whenever I go to vsit them I always try to squeeze in a session." and I think it often surprises and open their eyes to the possibilities. Because I am such a conservative person in my lifestyle, strong Christian, etc. so they seem to really GET IT at that point that male or female doesn't matter, it's about finding the therapist who best fits your needs/style/comfort at that time.

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Re: The worst experiences I have had as a male MT

Post by Lrwlmt » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:13 am

I was declined a position in a Chiro office because of my gender. It's one thing if a client doesn't want a male MT. But a Chiro should know better. Shame on them.

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Re: The worst experiences I have had as a male MT

Post by Yan » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:27 pm

Lrwlmt wrote:I was declined a position in a Chiro office because of my gender.
Is it even legal to refuse employment based on gender?
I realize that a chiro (or whatever) office may be looking specifically for a female MT, but if their ad doesn't specify that can they later refuse a guy based on gender?

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Re: The worst experiences I have had as a male MT

Post by TrPAssassin » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:04 pm

I've got to say there have been a lot of bad experiences had by all, but here in Australia I haven't had any issues with being a male practitioner. I work in a PT studio and I get a mix of men and women, and the thing I hear a lot of is that most people prefer a male practitioner because they believe a male will give a firmer massage and be able to work much deeper.

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Re: The worst experiences I have had as a male MT

Post by purpledandelion » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:09 pm

I'm a female therapist but I've had experiences about male therapists...

I recently started working in a Thai massage place in Miami and the situation I'm most often faced with is getting asked if there are any male therapists available. When I answer "no" some clients (usually women) are disappointed. When I ask if it's because of the ability to give a deep massage they usually agree, but I had a lady recently tell me that both her and her husband prefer male therapists because they usually get the frisky females touching her husband under the sheets... even when she (the wife) is right next to them in a couples massage!!! :shock:

After picking up my jaw from the floor I assured her that that type of behavior is NOT what a real massage should be and that those women were not LMTs, license or not, and what they were doing is illegal. They didn't schedule anything but they did acknowledge the difference.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have a female client (a regular now) that when she initially called us to schedule an appointment she asked me if there were any male therapists working for us at all, as she didn't even want them to be in the building and she asked for the doors to be locked as she and her female friend were receiving their massages. She used to be a massage therapist, but for whatever reasons, didn't like giving massages to men and couldn't find a job where she could only massage women, so she let her license lapse. I handled the situation as best I could. She hasn't elaborated and I haven't asked any questions nor do I think I want to.
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Re: The worst experiences I have had as a male MT

Post by tranquilspirit2006 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:00 pm

purpledandelion wrote: but I had a lady recently tell me that both her and her husband prefer male therapists because they usually get the frisky females touching her husband under the sheets... even when she (the wife) is right next to them in a couples massage!!! :shock:
This sounds very strange to me. I wonder what kind of places they were going to? I'm not going to say they don't exist but I can't imagine that many frisky female MTs eager to grab men under the drapes no matter where the wife is. And this has happened to them multiple times???

And the woman who wanted all men out of the building? I hoped you smiled sweetly and said "Sorry but we're unable to accommodate your request." Ultimately, I believe that I, and anyone else has a right to choose who touches their body, but GEEZ.
"Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it, because of course you're not really looking. You don't really want to know."

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