Male Massage Therapists really get a bad rap in the massage profession. They are the minority in the profession with 83% of massage therapists being women (ABMP Statistic: http://www.massagetherapy.com/media/metrics.php), men have a very different role and challenge.
The thing is that men don’t want to get a massage from men because of issues of homophobia or some men just get the idea that having a male touching them would be very uncomfortable.
Women don’t want to get a massage from men in a professional setting. Some of the reasons are usually related to past experiences of abuse by men/fathers and carrying that fear with them and for good reasons. There is a big trust issue that comes into play here. A women with past abuse issues with men won’t feel safe with male massage therapists.
The thing is that most men who are massage therapists are usually much more caring, nurturing and open. They seek out careers in massage for some of the same reasons as women do: because they want to help others, because they want to be in a more caring environment and the usual reasons to make money.
Another problem is that there are so many images of men all around online with the whole M2M phenomenon that is about gay males and sex give the idea of getting a R.E.A.L Massage from a man a bad rap.
So what is a guy to do in the massage profession?
Men in Massage have a very important role that is really under-emphasized. Being able to receive nurturing touch can help to heal some of these traumas and stigmas that are attached to getting a massage from a male.
Men have the opportunity to provide a safe place for many to heal their touch traumas. It doesn’t even really have to be a touch trauma as many of us just will have issues with men in general if we received less than ideal nurturing and attention from fathers/men growing up.
Men in massage will usually tend to focus more on medical massage or sports massage in general, but there are also many men who will work in relaxing spas/salons. The idea that men can give a ‘stronger’ massage and apply more pressure isn’t necessarily true as many women can apply just as much pressure by learning to use their body as leverage and using the massage table as a tool.
Men in the massage profession need to make a big change in this area. There are not many leaders or mentors that are working to make a change for male massage therapists. I would love to see a group of men writing about their experiences as men in massage and also the people who get massage from men talking about it too.
We also need a specific category of research on getting a massage from men to see if there are differences. We don’t have any research on massage from men specifically. We also just need more information on touch and trauma too.
We need someone to step up and lead the men in massage. It could be YOU! Find out more about becoming a massage therapist.
Male Leaders in the Massage Profession
The thing is that there are many successful men in the massage profession. Many have gone on to become teachers and develop their own methods of massage and bodywork. Many have written books.
Paul St John- Creator of Neuromuscular Educators
Leon Chaitow- Massage Today articles and profile,
Whitney Lowe- Massage Today articles, Founder and creator of Orthopedic Massage Research and Institute, author of
Keith Grant- Massage School teacher and writer who is very informed about the politics in the massage profession and is working to create standards for the massage profession. His website is www.ramblemuse.com
Ben Benjamin- Massage Today articles
Thomas Myers- Started with Ida Rolf and Rolfing and developed his own system of bodywork – Anatomy Trains.
Stuart Taws- British Sports Therapy
Art Riggs – Deep Tissue Massage Manual
Steve Capellini – Articles on Up Close and Personal, Spa Instructor and author. See his website www.royaltreatment.com.
John Upledger – Massage Today articles and profile. founder of the Upledger Institute.
George Kousaleos- Founder of the Core Institute
Robert Calvert – founder of Massage Magazine and author of the “History of Massage”
Eric Dalton – Massage Today articles and Profile, Freedom from Pain Institute
Joseph Heller -Studied with Ida Rolf and created his own version of Structural Integration called Hellerwork.
Milton Trager- Tragerwork and Mentastics.
These are just a few of the many males in the profession who have created a name for themselves. They all have done it by working on many people and studying the body.