Is it really harder for male massage therapists to succeed?

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randomness0
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Is it really harder for male massage therapists to succeed?

Post by randomness0 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:01 pm

Have recently written an article countering the perception that the massage industry is geared against male therapists.

http://www.innerwestmassage.com.au/blog ... er-sydney/

Would appreciate any comments/discussion.

Thanks
Richard

Levi
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Re: Is it really harder for male massage therapists to succe

Post by Levi » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:02 pm

I am a relatively new massage practitioner, but have been a steady consumer of massage services for decades. It took me at least two decades before I went from requesting/demanding/using only female therapists to using male/female therapists equally. My evolution was probably slowed initially by a few particularly poor sessions with male therapists. I agree with some of your points, but not many of them. A 2002 survey is not very convincing of anything.

I am working in the field because I find it very satisfying and interesting. Hopefully that shows in my work and the approach I take with clients. I have no complaints, so I guess your article does not really apply to me.

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Re: Is it really harder for male massage therapists to succe

Post by randomness0 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:27 pm

Thank you for your thoughts. Not sure I understand your comment
A 2002 survey is not very convincing of anything
The findings of that survey were clear that established male therapists see more clients per week and earn more than female therapists on average (albeit for Australia) .

Are you saying that the massage industry has changed in the past 10 years so that the findings do not apply today? Obviously the survey data is average and each therapist has their own individual challenges and experiences.

Can you please clarify why you do not find the survey convincing (btw full link to the survey is at http://www.atms.com.au/uploads/pdf/2002 ... apists.pdf ?

Richard

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Re: Is it really harder for male massage therapists to succe

Post by Levi » Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:35 pm

Hi Richard,
OK, perhaps I was a bit harsh. Sorry. The study you refer refer to is very thorough albeit a bit dated. Within the scope of remedial massage practices as they pertain to the applicable geographical continent this survey was taken from, the results speak for themselves.

For a more recent and USA centric perspective, I think this is a more accurate and revealing article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/fashi ... d=all&_r=0

My gut level perception is that only 10-15% of the pool of paying U.S. massage customers either want a male massage therapist or authentically do not care about the gender of the therapist. Then there are some folks that will take an exceptionally skilled male therapist over a mediocre female therapist. That piece of the pie is where the largest "market share" gains for male bodyworkers will likely come from in the foreseeable future.

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Re: Is it really harder for male massage therapists to succe

Post by randomness0 » Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:17 pm

Hi Levi,
Personally I don't believe that in Australia there would be a significant difference regarding 2002 and now so I would question whether being dated is an issue or not. Whether there is a difference between Australia and other western markets is debatable, I don't know.

The article you link to I think reinforces my argument. It refers to spa massage and that is predominantly the realm of the female therapist. As I wrote
Any male who goes through massage school thinking that because he does a great relaxation massage, he will be snapped up by the swanky spas is naïve and have unrealistic understanding of the massage industry
If you are a male therapist in this segment, you will be faced with the constant challenge that (less skilled) female therapists will be preferred to you (although this is not necessarily an insurmountable obstable if you genuinely want to be in relaxation/spa industry).

Without knowing what massage market you are specifically talking about, I would question your perception regarding 10-15% want a male massage therapist or genuinely do not care about the gender of the therapist. With my mobile businesses which mainly offer remedial/sports/therapeutic/pregnancy service, I will always ask whether it matters whether therapist is male or female and I'd probably come up figures of 10-15% want a male, 40% want a female and the remainder do not care.

Even the article you quote finishes with
The question of masseuse or masseur seems to matter less over time. Experienced spa-goers say they care less and less with each visit.
There are enough clients out there for (good) male therapists and the (old Australian) data concludes that this is indeed the case.

Richard

ps Just as a curiosity does anyone have any feel for the proportion of male/female therapists working at the chains such as Massage Envy (which the like of haven't hit Down Under yet)?

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Re: Is it really harder for male massage therapists to succe

Post by rwhoski » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:10 pm

Some people will always want a female therapist. In as much as allot of people are going to have a preference for a female therapist, there really are allot who don't care or prefer a male. It was harder starting out as a male massage therapist, but over time it became irrelevant.

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Re: Is it really harder for male massage therapists to succe

Post by HandsDown » Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:45 am

During my class yesterday we went on a field trip and provided local hospital staff with chair massages. Not one staff member looked at me and said, "I prefer a female, please". On the contrary one staff member leaned and whispered to me that he preferred a male to work on him. He did it so sly, I almost missed his request. :lol: Anyway, I'm sure a study can tell you a lot, however, I think you play off the power of choice. If they have a choice you, let them choose. If they don't, you leave them feeling like it didn't matter anyway. Because, next time they come for a session, it won't!

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Re: Is it really harder for male massage therapists to succe

Post by dmitriys » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:01 pm

From personal experience I can say that in Ukraine is much more difficult to be a female massage therapist. They face with some sort of informal spiritual Discrimination (My personal opinion). But in any case the coin always has two sides.
How you visually present yourself - so the case and will. :D
Work is what we do when there are no forces - Art of classical massage

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RelaxandRejuvenate
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Re: Is it really harder for male massage therapists to succe

Post by RelaxandRejuvenate » Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:50 am

There will be some cultural / geographic differences, but I don't see it being an issue in the US

We ALWAYS as our clients if they have a gender preference, but we also ALWAYS include the option "...or does it not matter" About 50% of our clients either prefer a male or say it does not matter. That is 1/2 the market, which is a pretty good segment to be targeting!
Smithers: "Sir, I'm afraid we have a bad image, people see you as a bit of an ogre." Mr.Burns: "I ought to club them and eat their bones!"

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Re: Is it really harder for male massage therapists to suc

Post by Levi » Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:38 pm

Hi RelaxandRejuvenate,ere

That is an interesting statistic. However, it does not factor out clients that do have a preference, but wish to give a "politically correct" answer to your intake question. Back in the day when I had a pronounced female therapist preference, I would usually answer a question like that "no preference", smug in the knowledge that only about 15 percent of massage therapists where male. If I ended up with a male, it was not the end of the world, and I would deal with it. If I was lucky, I would get a male therapist that knew what they were doing.
http://www.amtamassage.org/articles/3/MTJ/detail/1663

The more meaningful data would be how many clients specifically request a female therapist vs clients that specifically request a male therapist. Even more revealing would be the ratio of massages in your business that are performed by females vs males. I could be wrong that massage is a female dominated profession in the U.S., but I sort of doubt it.
RelaxandRejuvenate wrote:There will be some cultural / geographic differences, but I don't see it being an issue in the US

We ALWAYS as our clients if they have a gender preference, but we also ALWAYS include the option "...or does it not matter" About 50% of our clients either prefer a male or say it does not matter. That is 1/2 the market, which is a pretty good segment to be targeting!
Last edited by Levi on Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is it really harder for male massage therapists to succe

Post by randomness0 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:30 pm

Back in the day when I had a pronounced female therapist preference, I would usually answer a question like that "no preference", smug in the knowledge that only about 15 percent of massage therapists where male.
Have to admit if someone says "no preference" when ringing me, they would generally be scheduled with a male therapist just to counter the bias towards females.
For my business, I would hazard a guess that the breakdown of responses to the question "does it matter if it is a male or female therapist" would be
- 40% state they want a female therapist
- 10-15% request a male
The balance claim no preference.

Richard

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RelaxandRejuvenate
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Re: Is it really harder for male massage therapists to succe

Post by RelaxandRejuvenate » Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:02 am

randomness0 wrote: Have to admit if someone says "no preference" when ringing me, they would generally be scheduled with a male therapist just to counter the bias towards females.
For my business, I would hazard a guess that the breakdown of responses to the question "does it matter if it is a male or female therapist" would be
- 40% state they want a female therapist
- 10-15% request a male
The balance claim no preference.

Richard
That is our policy as well. NO PREF always goes to the male therapists. We staff 2 to 1 on an average day and our male therapists often out earn our females.
Smithers: "Sir, I'm afraid we have a bad image, people see you as a bit of an ogre." Mr.Burns: "I ought to club them and eat their bones!"

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Re: Is it really harder for male massage therapists to succe

Post by Levi » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:01 am

HI RelaxandRejuvenate,

Is your 2 to 1 massage therapist staffing ratio 2 females to 1 male? Or 2 males to one 1 female? Either way, that is encouragingly high. Local institutions in my area staff less than 10% males, but that seems to be currently increasing for some reason. I think that there is a recent increased influx of males into the profession, which I see as a positive thing.

When I worked in business before women's equality came about, women were unfairly held to a higher standard of performance. The tables are turned in massage therapy, which has not yet achieved equality/parity. Men are the ones held to a higher standard of performance, by both clients and employers. Most of the male massage therapists are aware of this and gracefully deal with it because they enjoy the work so much and are not set back by a challenge.
RelaxandRejuvenate wrote:That is our policy as well. NO PREF always goes to the male therapists. We staff 2 to 1 on an average day and our male therapists often out earn our females.

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Re: Is it really harder for male massage therapists to succe

Post by JasonE » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:27 pm

Our business does NOT ask people if they have a gender preference. If a client states one, we respect it. If they ask for clarification of a therapist's gender due to names that can go either way (i.e. "Pat"), we clarify. As much as possible, we are trying to educate (and train) our clientele to become as gender-neutral as possible.
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Re: Is it really harder for male massage therapists to succe

Post by truepeacenik » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:22 am

Relax and rejuvenate, maybe your males out earn because you are funneling ALL no preference to males?


We ask only on couples massages when the owner and one of the hired therapists (he hires women. Where is the real discrimination?) are the available therapists.

If someone states at booking, we respect that.

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Re: Is it really harder for male massage therapists to succe

Post by Yan » Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:12 am

JasonE wrote:Our business does NOT ask people if they have a gender preference. If a client states one, we respect it. If they ask for clarification of a therapist's gender due to names that can go either way (i.e. "Pat"), we clarify.
I wish every business had the same approach, because IMO asking clients 'would you like a male or a female therapist' is just confirming to them that there is a difference in who's treating you. Yes, I know that some clients prefer receiving their treatment from a female and they definitely have the right to choose as they are the ones paying for the service, but some of them may actually want slim blonde Caucasian female therapists, so do we need to clarify their preferences even further?

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Re: Is it really harder for male massage therapists to succe

Post by RobertGWellness » Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:46 pm

As a male therapist of 13 years I can say that in the U.S. it is more difficult to work full time. That being said it's not impossible but your marketing has be Amazing in addition to your bodywork. I would recommend focusing on sports related work and pain relief and having yourself be seen as more medically oriented. If that's not your schtick I understand but in my experience males do better in those niches.

I do Thai massage which allows the receiver to be clothed. This made a huge difference to my work on many levels. The clients could remain clothed and I worked differently than most table therapists so I fell into a niche that has worked for me. You can see a sample of Thai massage by downloading my **Free** workbook here: http://robertgardnerwellness.com/

Long story short, Thai massage opened up my practice as most have never heard of it in my area. I became the "fix it" guy and the Thai massage guy locally which makes me stand out. I developed a good reputation and the rest...well, do good work and keep promoting yourself. I know it can be difficult but if you Want it...Keep Going and don't let anyone tell you you can't.

Blessings and Metta.

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