Tami is a freelance writer and artist. She has also been a licensed and certified massage therapist for over 15 years.
What Your Massage Therapist Is Really Thinking
Hello there! My name is Tami, and I have been licensed and certified in massage therapy for over 15 years. Throughout this time, I've come across a lot of the same situations again and again. I thought it would be helpful to write about these common questions and concerns to prepare you for a great massage session. So, I have compiled a list of 10 things a massage therapist would like to tell you!
1. It Doesn't Matter If You Shave Your Legs
Yes, it's true. At least 2–3 times a day, I hear my client say, "Sorry, I didn't shave my legs!" Let me be the one to officially say, it's okay! We really don't care whether you shaved them or if you have never shaved them. You are here to relax and receive massage therapy. This is the last place for you to feel any shame.
2. It's Our Job to Make You Comfortable
So, there you are, naked under the sheets (or at least in your underwear), and you are cold. You can feel your toes becoming icicles. But, you just asked your therapist to turn off the heat. Hmmm. You don't want to be seen as "difficult" or a "diva" by the spa. So, what do you do? Well, you tell us your toes are cold, and you'd like to have the heat put back on. You aren't being difficult. You aren't being a diva. Making sure you are the most comfortable you can be is very important to your therapist because it is part of how you receive your best therapy.
3. We Prefer the Term Massage Therapist
Please don't refer to us as masseuses or masseurs. Times have changed, and that word no longer is considered complimentary to us—just as servers don't like the term waiter or waitress, and flight attendants no longer want to be called stewardesses. We now prefer to be called massage therapists.
4. It's Okay If Your Stomach Makes Noise
Most of us have very busy and active lives, so our digestive systems are usually on standby waiting for us to relax so they can digest and go about their business. When you are on our table and we hear your stomach making loud rumbling sounds, we don't mind at all. It simply means your body has detected that you are in relaxation mode, and it can finally do its job. That's a positive sign for us!
5. We Have to Let You Know If We See Unusual Freckles or Moles
Sometimes we will see an unusual mole or freckle during a massage, and we need to alert you of it so you can get it checked. We may also come across odd tumors in your body, although they are typically benign and just hereditary. It's usually nothing to be seriously concerned about, but we will let you know when we feel something so you can alert your doctor if it changes shape.
6. You Don't Need to Help Us
I see this a lot, especially with female clients. They will lift their arm or bend them for me while I am massaging them. You don't need to do that. Your job is to relax and let us move your arms and legs when we need to. The only thing you need to do is flip over when it's time, and that's about it!
7. We Do Not Offer Sexual Services
Most people get this, but it bears repeating. Massage therapists are not in the business of helping you achieve any kind of sexual release. That is what a sex worker does. It is very demeaning when you are working on your client and they want you to massage them lower...and lower...and then finally whip out their penis to drive the point home. We are people who take our job very seriously and work to show you every bit of professionalism and respect that we can. We have boundaries—we respect yours and would appreciate you to respect ours.
8. We Can't Read Your Mind, So Speak Up!
While you are on our table, we will ask you from time to time whether the pressure is too much or not enough. We will also ask you if the table is comfortable and if the temperature of the room is satisfactory. But, sometimes while we are working on you, we may go too deep, or maybe you would like deeper pressure in that certain spot. Go ahead and ask us! We try to read any signs that you may be uncomfortable (like gritting teeth or tensing muscles), but even we professionals slip every once in a while. So let us know! We appreciate it and it helps us to do a better job for you.
9. We Need Those Tips and Cash Is Preferred
Massage therapists don't make as much money as we used to. Most spas now pay us an hourly wage, and that's it! So the tips we get from our clients are especially important. We are very grateful for what we receive because it's how we feed our families and pay our bills. Please tip at least 20% if you are able to. And we love cash! Credit card tips end up in our paychecks, but we might not receive them for two weeks. So having cash is great. Again, we really appreciate what you give us. Honestly, sometimes I like a client so much that I don't really mind if the tip isn't a lot, but tips are great! Thank you!
10. Your Satisfaction Is Most Important
I think it's safe to say that a lot of people go into the massage industry because they are natural people pleasers. Being a part of someone's day and having the chance to make it better is really an honor that I appreciate very much. I have worked on people that couldn't turn their heads or could barely walk when they came in to see me, and now they feel better because of my work. It's important for us to work on people who need us, and again, it's truly an honor!
I hope this helps answer some questions and concerns people have had about massage therapy sessions. Be sure to book one soon—it's good for you!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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