Male Therapists - Professional

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

Moderators: Pete, JasonE

Post Reply
tksbussong
Registered Member
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:57 am
Location: State of Disbelief
Contact:

Male Therapists - Professional

Post by tksbussong » Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:02 am

Hey guys!

I work at a Wellness Center that was established about a year ago. The owner is not a massage therapist in any way, shape, or form. We've had several discussions where she goes her own way because of her personal experience with pain and disregards professional ethics.

We recently had a conversation about new clients that call in and asking them if they prefer a male or female therapist.

She refuses to ask. She said that she assigns who she feels is fit. We've had awkward situations where people have caused scenes because they didn't want a male therapist and the owner stuck to her guns.

I believe that you should ask because if someone is uncomfortable in the massage, it defeats the purpose of the massage.

Any suggestions on what to do?

Thank you!

riversinger
Moderator
Posts: 1310
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 3:18 pm
Location: Bucks County, PA

Post by riversinger » Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:44 pm

This has been discussed frequently here on BWOL. I'd have to lookup the links or you can do a search yourself
if you have a few minutes. Then I would do a copy & paste
on your computer & at least show it to the owner of the
Wellness Center.

The bottom line is that many people will often prefer a female rather than a male therapist, though it certainly isn't always the case. In some middle eastern countries their culture is such that it would be against their traditions for a woman to have any man, other than her husband touch her. In other cases, some woman have issues trusting men, due to a bad experience, or otherwise & will not be able to relax, or they simply prefer another woman to work on them. As to men, there are those who care & those who don't. But I personally don't feel it is fair to the clients to surprise them, nor is it worth it to a business, to upset their clients, and lose the income they are likely to lose on the spot, or in the future, due to bad policies.
The song of the spirit is as the song
of the river, on a journey back to source.

riversinger
Moderator
Posts: 1310
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 3:18 pm
Location: Bucks County, PA

Post by riversinger » Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:49 pm

For further info. check it out under this section:
The Worst Experience I've had a Male MT
Homophobia
Last edited by riversinger on Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The song of the spirit is as the song
of the river, on a journey back to source.

cicerone
Registered Member
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:08 pm
Location: NC

Post by cicerone » Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:14 pm

And let's not forget the infamous:About.com: Male vs. Female

I am of the opinion that the client should not be asked "Male or Female?" but told, "You're booked with Tom on Friday at 3, will that work for you?" or words to that effect. If the name isn't gender-specific, "Pat has an opening on Friday, he is available at 3."

I hope your boss is just trying to be fair, but maybe she needs to read the book "Psychology of the Body" before she sticks to her guns and gets shot in the foot by a traumatized client.

User avatar
EgoMagickian
Tech Admin
Posts: 2273
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2004 12:34 am
Location: San Francisco, CA

Post by EgoMagickian » Mon Sep 08, 2008 11:39 pm

I'm lovin' your boss. Give her a hug for me.

User avatar
Vision001
Registered Member
Posts: 91
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2005 11:31 am
Location: Daytona Beach FL
Contact:

Re: Male Therapists - Professional

Post by Vision001 » Tue Sep 09, 2008 1:33 pm

tksbussong wrote:
Any suggestions on what to do?

Thank you!
Thank your boss
You Hurt? I Help.

User avatar
JasonE
Moderator-S.S.S
Posts: 2247
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2007 9:12 pm
Location: Burnsville, MN
Contact:

Post by JasonE » Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:54 pm

Start a competing business and take all the business she drives away.
Jason Erickson, NCTMB, ACE-CPT, AIS-TA
Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer
http://www.CSTMinnesota.com

Internet forums are like going to the zoo; if you get enough monkeys together, sooner or later someone will start throwing their poo.

User avatar
BJB-LMP
Registered Member
Posts: 1694
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 3:37 am
Location: Pacific NW

Re: Male Therapists - Professional

Post by BJB-LMP » Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:22 pm

tksbussong wrote:We've had awkward situations where people have caused scenes because they didn't want a male therapist and the owner stuck to her guns.
This is the only sticking point for me -- as a business owner I would probably back down if the customer was upset about their therapist assignment. I see her point and would take the same initial approach, but if a customer is actually upset about it -- what do you guys (actual guys) think? Have you worked on a client who was upset to have you work on them when a scheduler "stuck to their guns?" It seems like it would be a hard situation for a therapist to be in, but what do I know.
-Beccy

User avatar
maestra
Site Admin
Posts: 3886
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2003 3:24 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Post by maestra » Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:24 am

We have a male MT on staff now and I enjoy working with him.
However, in the beginning they did schedule clients with whoever had time and they did not tell the potential client who their appointment was booked with. (As they like to change things around as they see fit during the day.)
Anyway, the client comes in she doesn't want a male therapist... the rest of us are booked... it was for a couple's massage, so 2 clients turn around and walk out the door.
Personally I think they should stick to their booking decisions if at all possible, so that clients know, "Your appointment is at 3 pm with William." Or whatever, just so it's not "sticker shock" and 2 clients walk out the door rather than one!
I know my male co-worker does not really want to work on clients who are not ok with having a male MT work on them.
Sometimes it's fear of a new experience... and once they meet the male MT and see how calm and professional he is, they decide to try it and usually are quite complimentary afterwards!
"Best massage I ever had!" Who knew? :lol:
“Try to be like the turtle -- at ease in your own shell” - Bill Copeland

joshuatenpenny
Registered Member
Posts: 54
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:20 am
Location: Massachusetts - Westminster

Re: Male Therapists - Professional

Post by joshuatenpenny » Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:07 am

BJB-LMP wrote:I see her point and would take the same initial approach, but if a customer is actually upset about it -- what do you guys (actual guys) think? Have you worked on a client who was upset to have you work on them when a scheduler "stuck to their guns?" It seems like it would be a hard situation for a therapist to be in, but what do I know.
I would not want a person to feel forced to see me when they weren't comfortable with it. (I prefer the "your appointment is with Dave" system.) If they were initially hesitant that is one thing, but if they really object, then I would strongly object as well.

When I was covering for a female therapist, I had a client show up and ask to reschedule because he didn't want to get work from a man. Thankfully, the other therapist working that shift had a client that I'd seen in the past booked for that same slot, so we swapped, and everyone was happy.

Some time ago I was talking to a guy who works at a Canyon Ranch spa (a high end place). He said that they get a little slip of paper for each client that has their name and what type of treatment they booked and any special notes. A few times a month he gets a slip with the note "RFT" which means "Requested Female Therapist" (meaning they initially objected but then agreed because he was the only one available at the time). He said these are often a little awkward at first, but it is an opportunity to impress a new client with your skills and professionalism.

-- Joshua

User avatar
EgoMagickian
Tech Admin
Posts: 2273
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2004 12:34 am
Location: San Francisco, CA

Post by EgoMagickian » Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:02 pm

what do you guys (actual guys) think?

I think this business should be clear about its scheduling policies upfront, so that clients know what they're getting themselves into. A simple sign/statement such as, "We are unable to fulfill requests for therapists based on race, gender, or other non-work related categories."

As far as the clients, I suggest they begin to wonder if the next female-presenting therapist who touches them is a biological female or not and, in case of the latter, whether she might be pre-, post-, or no-op... just as a next step in the process of getting over it. Sometimes discomfort increases before conditions improve, you know?

BTW, what do you mean by "actual guys"? ;-)

tksbussong
Registered Member
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:57 am
Location: State of Disbelief
Contact:

Post by tksbussong » Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:16 am

Thank you all!!

I'm sorry the for the dup post of male therapists.

The points of concern for me are that she waits until the last minute to spring it on the client and if they balk, she becomes publicly confrontational.

In addition, she also advises the clients to take certain OTC meds, specific foods, or actually tries to diagnose their condition. I've literally tried to run away when she does this but when she turns to me to back her up on what she is saying, I've had to say to the client "I'm sorry. We're not nutritionists nor physicians so we can't comment/recommend on your condition."

Then I feel like I disrespected her in front of the client and she ends up angry with me.

I've tried to explain it to her but her argument is that she has had pain for years so she knows what to say. My argument is that her LICENSED DOCTOR recommended her treatment plan for her pain....not the guy at the grocery store.

She also will tell the therapist what to do to the client for their session.
Recently, a client came in with chest pains and she put them in for deep tissue. (thankfully, I wasn't there or I think I would have been having chest pains as well)

Thank you for listening!
Last edited by tksbussong on Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
BJB-LMP
Registered Member
Posts: 1694
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 3:37 am
Location: Pacific NW

Post by BJB-LMP » Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:37 am

EgoMagickian wrote:BTW, what do you mean by "actual guys"? ;-)
"Self-identified as having the perspective of a male massage therapist." ;) I know what section I'm posting in!
-Beccy

riversinger
Moderator
Posts: 1310
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 3:18 pm
Location: Bucks County, PA

Post by riversinger » Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:49 am

advises the clients to take certain OTC meds, specific foods, or actually tries to diagnose their condition.
It's one thing to suggest someone cover their bases with
a good multi-vitamin, but diagnosing conditions or putting a person in for a session, let alone a deep tissue session, who is having chest pains :shock: is a law suit waiting to happen! Does she require any form of case history intake?

I know you need an income, but I'd be looking for another job & very likely reporting her too.
Last edited by riversinger on Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
The song of the spirit is as the song
of the river, on a journey back to source.

tksbussong
Registered Member
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:57 am
Location: State of Disbelief
Contact:

Post by tksbussong » Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:54 am

riversinger wrote:
advises the clients to take certain OTC meds, specific foods, or actually tries to diagnose their condition.
It's one thing to suggest someone cover their bases with
a good multi-vitamin, but diagnosing conditions or putting a person in for a session, let alone a deep tissue session, who is having chest pains :shock: is a law suit waiting to happen!

I know you need an income, but I'd be looking for another job & very likely reporting her too.
I know! It drives me crazy!

But, honestly, what are the legalities with her recommending something like that to someone when she has NO license or cert?

I know our licenses would be in jeopardy but what about her?

riversinger
Moderator
Posts: 1310
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 3:18 pm
Location: Bucks County, PA

Post by riversinger » Fri Sep 12, 2008 7:08 am

Good question, wish I was sure about the legal issue here.
You might be able to ask a pharmacist, or better yet your
own doctor about it...other than that I suppose you could
check with an attorney. They will often answer a quick question without a fee.
The song of the spirit is as the song
of the river, on a journey back to source.

User avatar
CtScapula
Fresh Hands
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2008 12:33 pm
Location: Chicopee, MA
Contact:

Booking Etiquette is Always an issue

Post by CtScapula » Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:55 am

Discrimination in a spa setting is quite the topic. The booking is what helps make or brake the whole thing. It's often a perceived preference, but actually of the people who actually get massage on a regular basis the difference between male and female is really minimal in their mind. (there's a study to reference here, I'll dig it up and reply again) The truth is by asking the question, you ask for the perceived response, we could all say what we want about stereotypes but it's only natural that since nearly 85% of practitioners are female, when someone thinks of a massage therapist they are likely to think of a female.
If you have the receptionist ask for their preference, you're likely to stack the deck against yourself. It's not a 50/50 its a 85/15.
the best way to get referrals from the desk is to show them that you're a great MT, give them a session, testimonials have worked wonders for generating calls and referrals. If your boss isn't getting you clients, you have to do it yourself, which you should probably do anyway. I've posted on this subject on my site, you can also e-mail me.
Good luck.

Timedess
Registered Member
Posts: 1615
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:45 pm
Location: Texas

Post by Timedess » Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:45 pm

Recently when my son couldn't make it for his day of internship,. I covered for him (we are both students at the same massage school; he was scheduled to work a certain day that I was not). There was a lady he had been scheduled to work on, and when I showed up for her appointment, she said "You don't LOOK like a male student" I laughed and told her that the student she had been scheduled with had to call in sick, so I was covering for him. That session turned out ok, but it was a bit awkward- especially when she remarked that she typically requests males (because "they can apply more pressure").

The front desk always asks if they have a preference, whether scheduling for student or licensed therapists' appointments.
~Renee

elsewhere
Registered Member
Posts: 628
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2007 2:35 am

Post by elsewhere » Wed Nov 19, 2008 6:30 pm

I love that you and your son are studying together!

Timedess
Registered Member
Posts: 1615
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:45 pm
Location: Texas

Post by Timedess » Thu Nov 20, 2008 9:36 am

elsewhere wrote:I love that you and your son are studying together!
Thanks- I do too! We're both almost done; I should be done by the end of November, and he by the end of December (he got a later start with the internship than I). We should both have our licenses eary next year!
~Renee

Post Reply

Return to “Massage - The Male Practitioner's Perspective”