Does a Massage Therapists Gender Matter?
Posted on: June 23, 2016
It was the first time I’d ever gotten a real massage—as in, not from a friend but from a certified therapist. The excitement mounted on the appointment date, and I was so excited for the upcoming fifteen minutes of relaxation that I arrived early. Inside, I was introduced to the male massage therapist, and my giddiness downshifted. It never occurred to me to ask if the therapist was male or female, but I was suddenly faced with a moment of hesitation. Did I really want a guy massaging me? Then I told myself, this is about the therapy, not the sex of the therapist.
Why does the gender of the massage therapist matter so much to some people? Personally, after I got over the moment of apprehension, there was nothing awkward about the experience at all. It was a person doing their job. However, even in today’s society, we tend to be blind to the different kinds of touching. Some clients will request a therapist based on their gender because of a reluctance or fear of skin-to-skin contact. Previous trauma might also be a factor. Yet, an educated massage therapist knows how to touch without being intimate or intimidating. The therapy part comes from touch. Both men and woman can provide this nurturing touch equally well, so it really shouldn’t matter who is doing the massaging.
The bias over gender in massage therapy is certainly a strong one, but I think it will eventually be absolved. The key is for massage therapists to be clear in their message. Correcting any misunderstandings about what type of therapy the client will be receiving, as well as how massaging is beneficial, can change misguided perspectives. On the other hand, patients need to be able to relax around their therapist. Therefore, the choice between male or female will most likely remain.