Massage Therapist - Should Gender Matter?
When one goes to a spa, health facility, or gym, one of the first things that the receptionist asks is, "Do you want a male therapist or a female therapist?". Although massage therapy is not a gender-specific career, still, the quantity of female therapists outnumbers the male population. In addition, there may be clients who are not concerned about the gender of the therapist, but there still are those who prefer female over the male therapists.
Common Reasons Why More Clients Prefer Women Therapists
- Female clients are more self-conscious about their bodies
- Some women tend to think that male massage therapists will take advantage
- Male clients who are homophobic do not want another male to touch their bodies
- Male clients find a woman's touch more sensual and pleasant
However, regardless of the gender, all massage therapists are trained about work ethics and the use of draping methods, thus, it should not be a big issue. In addition, some spa-goers are already familiar with the routine and understand that the massage therapist's skill is more important than gender.
How Gender Affects a Career in Massage Therapy
While there are clients who do not bother about the gender of the massage therapist, for would-be massage therapists, knowing how gender affects a career in this field is very important.
In the US, the massage therapy industry is basically female dominated. Actually, according to studies, more than 80% of them are women. Although the number of male therapists has steadily increased in the last couple of years, still, more women are employed as therapists. For one, massage therapy is commonly perceived as a nurturing healing method and women have always been associated with the role of "nurturer". Likewise, because women's touch is softer and more sensual in nature, many clients find it is easier to relax when left in the "hands" of women.
Patient's Perception on the Therapist's Gender
It is true that some clients do not mind about the gender of the therapist, but there are still a big number of those who are uncomfortable when male massage therapists handle their bodies. Even male clients feel the same way. Because massage therapy involves skin to skin contact, people consider it as a very personal matter. Thus, when clients feel pressured or uncomfortable, their muscles tend to contract even more and they do not reap the full benefits of the massage.
This low level of comfort when it comes to being handled by male practitioners affects the number of clients they are able to handle, which translates to fewer options for them.
Problems and Issues that Therapists Encounter
Sexual harassment is a huge issue when it comes to this industry. There have been reports where female therapists were taken advantage of by male clients - touched inappropriately or spoken to in a lewd manner. In the same breath, some male therapists get reported by female customers who say they (customers) were sexually harassed and handled improperly by their therapists.
Job prospecting is another problem that male massage therapists deal with. Because of issues such as sexual harassment, male massage therapists find it more difficult to find employment than most women.
Not everything about the massage therapy industry for males is negative. Even though males have fewer job options in this industry, there are still some good things about being a massage therapist in a female-dominated industry.
Because men, in general, are stronger than women are, some modalities can easily be carried out by male massage therapists than women. One instance is working in a sports massage center or hospital, where patients are generally male and would need stronger pressure when it comes to the massages.
Another example is work that massage therapists find in hospitals such as the rehabilitation section and physical therapy section, where patients are more comfortable when being handled by male therapists.
Indeed, gender plays a major role when choosing massage therapists to perform their job on you. Patients must feel safe with Massage near me a therapist and not stressed out or pressured about selecting the practitioner.
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