Thursday, March 21, 2013

By any other name?

There are still plenty of people who use the term masseuse. To me, a masseuse is either a a busty gal dressed as a French maid who shows up at a man's house to have sex, or a broad shouldered Scandinavian bruiser who is going to grind your bones to a pulp whether you want that or not.

I like the term massage therapist. That is what I do: therapeutic massage. Most of us, at least where I live, prefer to be called massage therapists.

There are many folks in my profession who work in spas or at massage places where they pay a lot of rent or are, for other reasons, required to crank through many sessions in a work day. These people race to keep up with what's expected of them, which means they're left without a lot of time before and after sessions. They have to work so fast, it's not possible to complete a thorough intake interview with clients before a session. They barely have time to change the sheets on the table, let alone tune in to the person they are about to treat, nor even a minute to ask the client, after the session, how well the work addressed what was going on. They definitely don't have time to design a session specifically for each client, hence they develop a one-hour protocol they use on everyone, no matter what.

Let me say clearly that I have nothing against that kind of bodywork. I enjoy spa massage tremendously. But it isn't therapeutic.

Sometimes a massage technician will take a minute to ask if there's somewhere in particular I'm especially stiff or stuck. I might say my neck and shoulders are tight. But then they then go ahead and do the exact same session for me they do for everyone, one in which they pay no special attention at all to my neck and shoulders. It's kind of funny. They know they're supposed to ask, but they don't make use of the information. I guess they're just curious, or trying to sound interested.

I'm not saying the work I do varies radically from person to person, but each session is tailored to what's going on with the client on the table. This not only benefits my clients, but makes the work a lot more interesting for me. What I do is personal, while what massage technicians do is more of a spa treatment for the masses.

Do I sound judgmental? I'm not. In my society we are so touch deprived, I think there's room for many different kinds of massage. The more, the merrier!


Kerry said...

You do not sound judgmental. You sound like you are very good at what you do, and I think your clients are lucky to have found you.

The first time I read a post by you, I wished I could send you to Barry.

Reya Mellicker said...

Oh man. Barry.

I think he received excellent care. I sent him Reiki every day.

What a wonderful thing for you to,say..