My Massage Instructor

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

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Sole_Purpose
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My Massage Instructor

Post by Sole_Purpose » Wed Feb 15, 2006 10:32 am

I don't know if this perspective will be of any consequence or not but I thought I'd share, in hopes that it is. :)

One of the most influential instructors for me in massage school was (is) a male. Although I acknowledge that there is what appears to be discrimination towards the male therapist, I believe that being a male therapist ought to be embraced. Take pride in the fact that you are a male in this field and carve out your own special niche as such.

The more your thoughts, words, and actions feed and buy into this stereotype, the more it will manifest (this goes for the rest of us - therapists and society - as a whole).

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maestra
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Post by maestra » Wed Feb 15, 2006 11:49 am

Indeed, while I loved all my massage therapy instructors (except for the A&P teacher), the one who made the biggest impression on me was Bill.
A client who was a teacher at a local school once said to me that since I was such a good MT that I must have had good instruction.
February 4th was the 9 year anniversary of my starting MT school. I remember Bill telling us that it was "an honor" to be allowed to help others in our capacity as MTs. He wasn't just saying it, I could tell he meant it.
Oh, we had some good arguements in school...I'm not going to lie to you... but I always believed in the firmness of his convictions... and that he always had My best interest at heart.
When a bad male client and fear made me swear off massaging guys for the rest of the clinic time (including classmates)... Bill would not let me get "comfortable" with the idea of a females only practice. His exact words were, "Nancy, I'm not going to let you cut your potential income in half."
LOL
He kept "challenging me" and drawing me out until finally my last day of clinic I was able to trade with one of my male classmates. When we finished our massages and approached Bill together, Bill just beamed at us.
A year later I'd make an appointment at his office and when I'd brought up my "school fears" as I was leaving he smiled and laughed acknowledging that he'd been thinking about it too during the session... and how I'd come a long way. :D And we hugged.
I had kept in contact with him for probably over 5 years after graduation... but had lost track of him a couple years ago.
I would often ask myself if I had a dilemma... "What Would Bill Do?"
I recently found new contact info for him, and I think that it's only fitting that I drop him a few lines to thank him for the training, and the impact he's had on my life, both as a person and as a massage therapist.
Yeah, I'll say it right here for the whole world to see... If I am any good as a massage therapist... it's Bill's fault.
:lol: :smt043 :smt045
“Try to be like the turtle -- at ease in your own shell” - Bill Copeland

Sole_Purpose
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Post by Sole_Purpose » Wed Feb 15, 2006 12:37 pm

maestra wrote:Indeed, while I loved all my massage therapy instructors (except for the A&P teacher), the one who made the biggest impression on me was Bill.

Oh, we had some good arguements in school...I'm not going to lie to you... but I always believed in the firmness of his convictions... and that he always had My best interest at heart.
The instructor I am referring to is also named Bill, and we had our share of arguments, etc, also! Too funny!! :lol:

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Post by boofdorf » Wed Feb 15, 2006 1:18 pm

Thanks Maestra and Kindredspirits for your stories!!!
boofy

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CaringHandsMss
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Post by CaringHandsMss » Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:10 pm

:)
Last edited by CaringHandsMss on Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by CaringHandsMss » Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:12 pm

In my first series of classes: The 100's Series I had a male teacher and he was a very encouraging person. He encouraged our strengths and it really was very neat to see him be Sooo Encouraging of Us who were male in the class as well.

KindredSpirits...I thank You for starting this thread and it is very much an encouragement to me that it has been so started.

Not at the fact that I am male do I feel :roll: , but at times that I am a male in this field do I sometimes feel the way that pathetic eye-rolling "smiley" must feel.

I don't know if it is the amount of hours I am looking to work, the modalities I am desirious to employ, or at time can cause discouragement, but this thread I hope will serve as one that spurs on discussion and gets it really going so that we can as males be spurred on to stand where we have felt we have a call, a purpose and a reason for being.

Thanks Again KindredSpirits, maestra and boofdorf :!: :!: :!:

Sincerely,
CaringHandsMss :)

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Post by BlackSwanMassage » Wed Sep 12, 2007 7:50 pm

As a male student, I was concerned about my place in this industry when I first signed up for courses. This was my passion, but I was concerned as to how much room there really was for male massage therapists in our town (kind of a conservative area of NW FL.)

Then I met Matt.

I didn't like him at first. As both of us are ex-soldiers, we tended to clash at times due to both of us having strong personalities. Around the end of Swedish, I came to the realization that his pushing back was designed to push ME.

He made a comment during my final evaluation for Swedish that I would be a fantastic therapist, and that there would be nothing to stop me once I let go and learned to stop competing with my own ego.

He was my instructor for every modality--Swedish, CT, NMT, Sports--and the more time I spent in his class, the more he taught me--not just about massage, but about what it meant to be a man in this business, and in life. He became one of my greatest role models, at a point in my life when I thought I was beyond needing one.

I stated the above, pretty much word for word, at our graduation ceremony. I'm told I brought him to tears. I couldn't tell, because I couldn't see through my own.

He's stopped teaching now--to the loss of future students--and has moved on to open a new business in a nearby city. I still keep in touch with him.

I'm scheduled to take my exam in Tallahassee on Sept. 21st, and I'm nervous...but not as nervous as I could be, because in addition to the faith of my fiancee and my coworkers, I also have an e-mail from my former instructor, stating once again his faith that I will succeed.
Nemo liber est qui corpori servit.

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Post by elsewhere » Wed Sep 12, 2007 7:55 pm

Awesome post Knightshade77. Long may you rock!

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Post by aroma4u » Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:54 pm

There is nothing wrong with being a male practitioner and there is a market for males also , there are lots of people that would feel better if a man was giving them a treatment .

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Post by Spock » Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:44 am

My massage instructor was a male and he rocked. Granted, he was an ex sergeant and taught in that way, and yes he could be moody and so we clashed, but man did I leave knowing what the heck I was doing.
My shoulder work is excellent.

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Post by sjidoulamt » Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:28 am

The director of the massage program at my college was a male. He was my instructor for several of my classes and I don't have the words to express how much I admired and learned from him.

Knightshade, your post rules. Best wishes for a successful exam on the 21st!

Maestra, thanks for sharing your beautiful experience.

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Post by maestra » Wed Sep 19, 2007 3:36 pm

Glad you liked it SJI. Actually I contacted him and met him at a cafe for an hour during one of my last trips to Madison. It was great seeing him - I briefly asked his advice about a work situation with a male client. Because there's nobody's opinion I would value more than his.
Well, when he finally closed his mouth and recovered from the shock he said, "You're working on males?"
"Yeah."
"How long have you been doing that?"
"Just a few months short of 10 years. Didn't know you had that big of an effect on me did you?" :lol:

It was great and I hope to catch up with him and hopefully some of my classmates again some time!
“Try to be like the turtle -- at ease in your own shell” - Bill Copeland

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Post by KneadingU » Fri Jul 11, 2008 12:55 pm

It does seem as we males are looked at in a more questionable way in the massage and bodywork profession. Since the basic need is, IMHO, nurturing touch, then cultural aspects can play a role whether a male is comfortable in this situation. I have had massages from therapists in Euopre, and they are comfortable with both male and female therapist, equally.

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Post by Foramenmagnus » Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:07 am

kindred spirit thank you for your encouragment. the school I am attending now told me not to bother being a massage therapist In the early 80's. WE MEN NEED RESPECT :) It is interesting being descriminated against by gender, I am a white hetero male protestant I have NEVER had to deal with descrimination before. It is an issue. I embrace it and move on.

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Cultural Stereotypes

Post by KneadingU » Fri Jul 18, 2008 5:40 am

I agree with Kindred Spirit and the other posters. We males are discriminated against. I remember one of my first experiences in student clinic: as I approached my young female client, I could tell that she thought she was getting a female therapist instead. I have one of those names that can be for a guy or a girl, so she assumed she booked a female therapist. I saw the look in her eyes and I knew what she was thinking. After we got into the room she stood across the table from me and said, "I've never been massaged by a man, and I don't think I can do this." I knew that was my moment to either crumble or shine. The universe gives us challenges like this to help us grow. So, I mustered up all the confidence I could, smiled, and calmly replied, "Well, how about if we just give it a try, and you can say stop anytime and I'll end the massage and leave so you can get dressed?" She reluctantly agreed.

She never said 'stop' and even fell asleep for a short time. Afterwards, she told me that it was a wonderful massage and that she never knew that a man could move with such grace and rhythm.

It is a stereotype we men face with both male and female clients, I sometimes go back to that session in my mind to draw strength. I think that is what makes the difference, if we act with confidence, people become more comfortable.

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Post by hawaiianhealing » Tue Apr 21, 2009 3:20 pm

for me even after 24+ years of being a massage therapist it is still an honour everytime someone gets on my table to be helped. I've been taught by both men and women therapists, but the biggest example was where I grew up and we had 3 generations of finnish male massage therapists, the grandfather, father and son. they were examples to me of big caring/nuturing people.

Massage schools need male instructors badly, the student therapists need to see males who are caring and nurturing and yet male, some of the female staff need to see males in that role as well.

I have worked on everyone from professional athletes in several sports, olympic athletes, actors, doctors, nurses, construction workers, moms and kids. Just remember that is it an honour everytime someone gets on your table to be helped.
"We believe that learning the art of massage is first and foremost a journey of exploration into your own self."

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