Legal Discrimination in Massage Therapy

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softy515
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Post by softy515 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:58 pm

Yes.

StressSolutions

Post by StressSolutions » Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:14 pm

Personally I will go to a male and have countless times.
Great.
softy515 wrote: I would not walk into a spa and let them schedule me with any Tom Dick or Harry they have working there.
Why?

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Post by softy515 » Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:56 pm

We already know the answers to that question. Its the same reason many women won't see a male therapist. Trust. Discomfort. Fear. Insecurity.

The male therapists I see currently I have met prior to having appointments with them. Actually thinking back, ALL my sessions in the past 12 - 18 months have been with a male, except for one (had a gift certificate to use).

This isn't anything new, its been discussed countless times. And having worked in high end spas I know for a fact that there have been shifty male therapists working there. Good ones too, not to discredit them.

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Post by Hands and Spirit » Sun Dec 21, 2008 8:24 am

A spa's success is driven by client satisfaction. They will do what they need to assure satisfaction. Many clients (as we all know) have definate gender preferences when being massaged. Yes, this really shouldn't matter, but for many people it does.

Being a male in the massage industry is not an easy path. It requires us to be even more diligent about marketing, skill, knowledge and exceptional client service. It's not fair, but it is a fact of life in the massage industry. We can adapt and survive, or fuss about the unfairness of it and get stuck. I almost gave up on making it in the massage industry for this very reason. Fortunately I married a wonderful woman who kicked me in the butt a few times and encouraged me to keep going. I'm glad she did.

In Peace and Light
Gerry
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It is an essential part of a lifestyle for optimal health.
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Post by NaplesLMT » Sun Dec 21, 2008 8:30 am

Sounds like Softy MAY have male trust issues. IF SO, I'll bet they didn't originate with a male therapist and even if they did, it's just doesn't make sense to extend that mistrust to all male therapists "unless you have met them first".
While everyone is welcome to post here, let's not forget that the title of this section is The Male Practitioner's Perspective and the content of posts should be subject appropriate.
Just to be clear, I am trying to be polite and kind with my response.
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Post by StephenCMT » Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:27 am

I've worked in high end spas as well and have run across some shifty female therapists. It's a crap shoot every time you go somewhere for a service and then you're stuck relying on statistics to possibly minimize drama, but...

The problem with statistics based on opinion is that you can't really know if the subjects were being honest, objective, or either when giving their opinions.

Either way, it's your money and you have the right to your own screening process in my book. :)
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Post by RelaxandRejuvenate » Sun Dec 21, 2008 12:07 pm

NaplesLMT wrote:... even if they did, it's just doesn't make sense to extend that mistrust to all male therapists "unless you have met them first".
you're kidding, right?

You have expressed broad generalizations to mistrust all spas based on your experience at the Ritz.

Gender profiling = BAD

Employer profiling = GOOD

Talk about not making sense...
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Post by StephenCMT » Sun Dec 21, 2008 1:20 pm

softy515 wrote:And having worked in high end spas I know for a fact that there have been shifty male therapists working there. Good ones too, not to discredit them.
Having worked in high-end spas myself, I know for a fact that there are also shifty female therapists mixed in with the good ones.

One of the problems in this situation is that we tend to go on statistics too much. Statistics based on perceptions/opinion aren't exactly concrete. People's opinions may be clouded by a number of factors or they could just be lying when asked. Things like Push Polling or the the last election's fear of "The white guy SAYING he's voting for the black guy in public but really voting for the white guy in the booth", people that rail against this sin or that yet do it repeatedly behind closed doors...this and a multitude of other examples that people are free to add are a good reason why statistics will never be the proper benchmark for this.

Either way, I have no problem with you wanting to meet your male therapist first. It's your money and you obviously like getting work from males. Personally, I want my clients to feel comfortable with me. Some of my most loyal regulars gave me that, "Oh God. Young, male, and latino looking....this can only go bad" look/attitude when they first saw me. And, years later, some of their references are on my website as longtime loyal clientele.


Like I said before, folks. Don't let this get in your way if you really love this career. There will always be people with varied reasons to hate/mistrust and it's not your job to address those issues though I do feel that you should address things on the receptionist side of it as I had to do that as well. Other than that, just do what you do the best you CAN do and watch your business raise up out of the muck you had to start in because of poop like this. :)
Stephen Hartswick, CMT
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Post by softy515 » Sun Dec 21, 2008 1:27 pm

I agree that is someone is passionate about what they do, whether male or female, that they should pursue it!

It didn't feel like you were attacking my response Naples, just giving an honest opinion.

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Post by NaplesLMT » Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:45 pm

I too have met my share of "shifty" female therapists. I try not to let that color my opinion of female therapists in general because the majority have their "intent" in the right place just as the majority of males do. In private practice, you have only the client's preference to deal with. In a spa/employee setting, you have owner's, manager's and reception's policies and practices to deal with. Very different than client preference. Just cause it isn't illegal, doesn't make it right. Intent applies to owners/managers as well as therapists. The goal of happy clients should extend to happy, fairly treated therapists.
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Post by sillypup » Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:26 pm

I realized now that there are no poopy therapist. male or female. there is only poopy combination of client and therapist. there will always be a client that loves the service a therapist give no matter how horrible reviews they get. the key is to partner the right therapist with the right client. And that is how any business should conduct their appointment schedule. figure out need of client and fit them with therapist that can provide it.

In regards to male discrimination in the field. well, it exist. can't do much about it. all politics related. look at most city regulation that are discriminatory lumping massage into prostitutes so they have stupid laws. not to mention the prostitute thing is geared toward female focus. so that make it discriminatory against males by not considering the fact that male therapist exist. example is that if one have a name that isn't male or female, they would address you as a female in your letter correspondence. so the assumption is that all therapist are females. we hardly hear about male prostitutes. yet they make it hard to open private practice due to female prostitute.

I would bet that if prostitutes were males, they wouldn't lump massage with prostitutes law prevention.

another thing the law makers didn't consider is that most massage received are female clients so if they assume all therapist are female then prostitution shouldn't be an issue since you rarely see prostitutes of female with female. bottom line, laws are evil in this field to help make money for school and politicians running city. and the massage organization isn't even fighting for us therapist. they just want to increase the schooling so they can monopolize the field yet they don't care if we can or can't start a business. most place can easily get massage practice permit but hard to get massage business permit. if you look around, you hardly see a massage by itself. they almost all have attachment to spas, hotel, gyms, wellness center, etc... or if one is a doctor. not counting home business of course.

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Post by JasonE » Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:55 pm

sillypup wrote:I realized now that there are no poopy therapist. male or female. there is only poopy combination of client and therapist. there will always be a client that loves the service a therapist give no matter how horrible reviews they get. the key is to partner the right therapist with the right client. And that is how any business should conduct their appointment schedule. figure out need of client and fit them with therapist that can provide it.

In regards to male discrimination in the field. well, it exist. can't do much about it. all politics related. look at most city regulation that are discriminatory lumping massage into prostitutes so they have stupid laws. not to mention the prostitute thing is geared toward female focus. so that make it discriminatory against males by not considering the fact that male therapist exist. example is that if one have a name that isn't male or female, they would address you as a female in your letter correspondence. so the assumption is that all therapist are females. we hardly hear about male prostitutes. yet they make it hard to open private practice due to female prostitute.

I would bet that if prostitutes were males, they wouldn't lump massage with prostitutes law prevention.

another thing the law makers didn't consider is that most massage received are female clients so if they assume all therapist are female then prostitution shouldn't be an issue since you rarely see prostitutes of female with female. bottom line, laws are evil in this field to help make money for school and politicians running city. and the massage organization isn't even fighting for us therapist. they just want to increase the schooling so they can monopolize the field yet they don't care if we can or can't start a business. most place can easily get massage practice permit but hard to get massage business permit. if you look around, you hardly see a massage by itself. they almost all have attachment to spas, hotel, gyms, wellness center, etc... or if one is a doctor. not counting home business of course.
I'm not sure what to say... I agree with a few things you have said, but strongly disagree with the rest. What is clear is that you really aren't up-to-date on what is happening regarding the regulation of massage.

Here in Minnesota, we have a disastrous patchwork of confusing and counterproductive local regulations that prevent honest MTs from doing their work while enabling prostitutes to continue business as usual. There is an effort to establish a sane state licensing process for MN MTs that will free us from discriminatory local regulations without disenfranchising legitimate practitioners. We are getting close to seeing a bill introduced for consideration, and it's a pretty good one.

If you want to learn more, go to: www.almt.synthasite.com and read the info about what the bill is intended to accomplish, who is behind it, and where the process is at now.
Jason Erickson, NCTMB, ACE-CPT, AIS-TA
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http://www.CSTMinnesota.com

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Post by JasonE » Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:58 pm

For those who just want to read the FAQs about the MN licensing effort, go to: http://almt.synthasite.com/FAQ_about_Licensure.php
Jason Erickson, NCTMB, ACE-CPT, AIS-TA
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Post by sillypup » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:13 pm

I'm up to date on the local regulation. at least the major cities in California. The state license is voluntary and does nothing to change the local business regulation of massage. It's basically a front saying we are making progress but in reality it isn't. you can just look at who regulates therapist and you know they aren't supportive of you.

I'm glad that MN is making progress but major states like CA isn't. The point is. what's the point of getting massage credential/acknowledgement if the local business license isn't supportive of it by being discriminatory and makes the massage law useless. what use is license permit if you can't even open shop to run a business? that's my point. the business permit have to support the massage law. not undo the massage law efforts. and the business regulation is discriminatory to massage therapist. other personal health field don't have same regulation. and the stupid part is they say any touch work require massage regulation even if it's not massage like somatic education, clothes on bodywork etc... It's overlapping into other health areas that isn't massage. it's all control power trip to monopolize massage from school influence. they don't even acknowledge apprentice training. you have to go to approve school. it indirectly affect who you can learn from. that is why law is stupid in that it's trying to control where and what school you can learn from.

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Post by JasonE » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:32 pm

sillypup wrote:I'm up to date on the local regulation. at least the major cities in California. The state license is voluntary and does nothing to change the local business regulation of massage. It's basically a front saying we are making progress but in reality it isn't. you can just look at who regulates therapist and you know they aren't supportive of you.

I'm glad that MN is making progress but major states like CA isn't. The point is. what's the point of getting massage credential/acknowledgement if the local business license isn't supportive of it by being discriminatory and makes the massage law useless. what use is license permit if you can't even open shop to run a business? that's my point. the business permit have to support the massage law. not undo the massage law efforts. and the business regulation is discriminatory to massage therapist. other personal health field don't have same regulation. and the stupid part is they say any touch work require massage regulation even if it's not massage like somatic education, clothes on bodywork etc... It's overlapping into other health areas that isn't massage. it's all control power trip to monopolize massage from school influence. they don't even acknowledge apprentice training. you have to go to approve school. it indirectly affect who you can learn from. that is why law is stupid in that it's trying to control where and what school you can learn from.
The problem isn't that state licensing exists. Rather, the problem is with how it was enacted in your state. Based on what you've stated, here are 3 things that would eliminate your primary objections:

First off, it should be mandatory, not voluntary, with an independent state Massage Board handling paperwork and enforcement.

Second, it should exempt state-licensed MTs from local licensing laws.

Third, it should not apply to non-massage practitioners such as those performing only somatic education, energy work, etc. Only those claiming to provide massage should be subject to it.
Jason Erickson, NCTMB, ACE-CPT, AIS-TA
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http://www.CSTMinnesota.com

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Post by mtnlionz » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:59 am

Sillypup is misinformed. The state certified massage therapist will indeed be exempted from local massage licensing hoopla. That was a major point of the bill from the MT's perspective.

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Re: Legal Discrimination in Massage Therapy

Post by Laura. » Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:50 am

as a female student, i recognize that my opinion in this matter is relatively premature - and will be taken as such. but i don't agree that a client has a right to choose who massages them based on gender. same goes for employers hiring ICs - just because they're catering to their clients. i think that people either understand the therapeutic nature of massage or they don't (and should be taught). allowing them to choose which gender they feel more comfortable with only validates the sexual undertones assumed by the client, rather than addressing them directly and expelling them completely. i get that if you're name is john or laura a prospective client is going to assume gender and choose to call the practitioner they prefer. but in a setting where the session is booked and then assigned to a practitioner, i don't think the client should be given a choice between a male or female therapist. it perpetuates the idea that a practitioner's gender is just as, if not more important than their skill. it's one thing when a client discriminates against a practitioner when they're looking through the phone book or browsing the internet. it's another thing entirely when this type of discrimination is endorsed by an institution.

and while i'm very sympathetic to victims of abuse, i don't think that making accommodations for them by allowing an entire industry to embrace discriminatory practices is justifiable.

i know my opinion has no impact on the way the world works - or even my school. our student massages are offered to clients who are given the opportunity to choose the gender of the therapist. while i think it's unfair that the male students are often discriminated against i also feel creeped out when i am assigned a massage because a male client demands a female therapist. why exactly is he so adamantly against having a male therapist?? if all he really wants is for his pain to go away, what difference does it make? i can't imagine any reason outside sexual preference. :irked:
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Re: Legal Discrimination in Massage Therapy

Post by tranquilspirit2006 » Sun Jun 13, 2010 6:22 pm

I don't like males being discriminated against, because I know that most of them are very good at what they do and are professional in their work. They have added yet another layer of respectability to our profession. The fact that I worked with one who ended up not being what I thought he was, doing things he shouldn't have been doing, makes me uneasy as has he been doing this before, has it gone further and where is he now? And he had a gift, no doubt about it, of massage and energy and bodywork. Magic touch.

My personal issue -and I know its MY issue- is the discomfort of being naked in a room with a man not my husband. It's not the same, I realize that, touch and intent is different. The past few years of my life live have been very stressful and I have selfsoothed wit food. I am not happy about my body and feel very selfconscious about the way it looks; my arms and legs are still firm, definite musculature. But my tummy is a mess, it has expanded and always feels bloated and I HATE IT. I chose a female MT because I just feel more relaxed reveling myself, just as I chose a female GYN for the same reason.

It's funny I know, because I can work on any type of body and have no feelings whatsoever about what I am seeing and touching. I accept them all, I haven' t had an ugly body on my table yet and I don't expect I ever will. I think the human body is pretty darn amazing and awesome...when it's not mine. It's my own issue about my own body I know, but I have that right, to only have a woman work on me, if at the time, that's what I prefer. It makes it very hard on the guys, I know, but I want to feel comfortable with who might see me and who is definitely going to be touching me.
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Re: Legal Discrimination in Massage Therapy

Post by EgoMagickian » Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:41 pm

Well Laura, I'm no longer a student and I happen to think your take on the matter is right on.

There is different "when a client discriminates against a practitioner when they're looking through the phone book or browsing the internet" versus "when this type of discrimination is endorsed by an institution."

Of course this has been discussed ad nauseam in the past here, but I wanted to validate your perspective. A lot of massage therapists disagree with us. Most of them seem to have trouble differentiating between the client's right to not be worked on by anyone they choose not to have work on them... and the alleged "right" to have those preferences catered to by a place of business, an entity that has certain responsibilities not only to its customers but also to its employees and contractors.

Sorry you had the experience you did in clinic. I know the National Holistic Institute student clinic here in SF does not allow selection of therapists by gender preference. Perhaps others will follow suit over time.

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Re: Legal Discrimination in Massage Therapy

Post by RelaxandRejuvenate » Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:01 am

EgoMagickian wrote:an entity that has certain responsibilities not only to its customers but also to its employees and contractors.
An entity has no legal responsibilities to contractors other than those spelled out by the contract. Don't go fighting "alleged rights" with other "alleged rights".

As a matter of fact, i would counsel an entity not to include in the contract that customers can't specify gender. By giving contractors the same working conditions and employees, employers face a fight with the DOL for treating contractors like employees.
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Re: Legal Discrimination in Massage Therapy

Post by EgoMagickian » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:11 am

Really? An employer has no responsibility not to discriminate illegally against its contractors? In fact they have no responsibilities at all you say? I'm not a lawyer, but that sounds inaccurate to me. ;-)
RelaxandRejuvenate wrote:
EgoMagickian wrote:an entity that has certain responsibilities not only to its customers but also to its employees and contractors.
An entity has no legal responsibilities to contractors other than those spelled out by the contract. Don't go fighting "alleged rights" with other "alleged rights".

As a matter of fact, i would counsel an entity not to include in the contract that customers can't specify gender. By giving contractors the same working conditions and employees, employers face a fight with the DOL for treating contractors like employees.

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Re: Legal Discrimination in Massage Therapy

Post by RelaxandRejuvenate » Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:19 am

EgoMagickian wrote:Really? An employer has no responsibility not to discriminate illegally against its contractors? In fact they have no responsibilities at all you say? I'm not a lawyer, but that sounds inaccurate to me. ;-)
You are working under the assumption that a client choosing the gender of their service provider is illegal. It is not.
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Re: Legal Discrimination in Massage Therapy

Post by cajunmt » Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:52 pm

What is truly lacking is a federal discrimination lawsuit to decide the, "is it legal "question. All the research that I have done has led me to believe that it is still undecided law. The 1964 civil rights act says you may not discriminate based on sex in hiring even to protect your buisness even if it is driven by customer choice. The only carve out they make for gender bias is if being female or male was a bona fide job qualification. Since most of us were schooled to believe there should be no difference in skill type or knowledge between male and female therapist, that is out. The other issue is customer privacy. On first view it would seem that this would be a slam dunk for the biased customer, however, if you look at other court cases involving massage therapist and discrimination, specificallly, Olsen vs. Marriott. the lawyers for marriot failed to prove that the client's privacy would be harmed by being booked with a male for several reasons. One, the customer had the choice to dress down to their level of comfort and two, client was allowed to choose which areas of the body that they would like or dislike having work done on. The court said in the brief that since the client retained these two levels of control that the idea of massage being an " intimate act" did not hold water.
So I say again who will be the brave, disgruntled, male massage therapist who can convince some ACLU lawyer to take on the case. Could be a lucrative class action in a state like New York or California. Since I'm in Georgia I am afaid that employment law down here in the South would not take me very far. I would like to talk to somone who might like to begin a legal fund for this purpose, Most of the professional orginizations in our country have turned a deaf ear to our plight. Male massage therapist don't fit the typical victim in their model or on our countrie's legal system's model either. This needs to change. I am a father of two who has worked over 60 hours a week for nearly 6 years to support my family and watched my female counterparts make the same as me pulling 40 hours . I have heard our front desk sell us to our clients like an apology, " All we have left are men, Is that Ok?" So I ask who is it going to be.

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Re: Legal Discrimination in Massage Therapy

Post by EgoMagickian » Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:04 am

RelaxandRejuvenate wrote:
EgoMagickian wrote:Really? An employer has no responsibility not to discriminate illegally against its contractors? In fact they have no responsibilities at all you say? I'm not a lawyer, but that sounds inaccurate to me. ;-)
You are working under the assumption that a client choosing the gender of their service provider is illegal. It is not.
No, I was just responding to your post on its own, which was not specific to gender issues but was worded quite generally.

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Re:

Post by Heal The World » Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:09 pm

StephenCMT wrote:Hey, gang!

Discrimination be damned, fellas. Do what I did and do your thing the Tiger Woods way. Let your talent/skill do the talking for you. Earn it, gentlemen! :)
Sorry, I was reading this thread and couldn't help but notice this...in light of recent events this comment has taken on a whole new vibe.

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