In a profession dominated by women, I had a student recently pose the question, “What does it take to succeed as a male massage therapist?”
Men are an important presence in the world of massage therapy. Unfortunately, male massage therapists are sometimes stereotyped as a sexual threat, maybe gay or not a good listener.
Some male therapists report feeling discrimination from both male and female clients. The women fear a male therapist might be inappropriate and some men don’t want another man massaging them because of a homophobic fear.
Unfortunately, over our history there has been an abuse of power. Loving touch has been absent, replaced by sensual touch.
Women have been and are being abused.
- In the first nation tribes of Canada, women are stolen. They are missing.
- 87% of women between 15 and 49 in the middle East and North Africa the Muslim countries have been circumcised.
- 1 in 4 women have had some kind of inappropriate or sexual interaction with men by the time they’re 15.
- The list goes on…
I get it. As a woman and a mother, the statistics are alarming.
Lomi Lomi and Unconditional Love
This is the lineage we have received from our Ancestors.
One day in class, a student shared that he had a lot of fear and anxiety coming into our Lomi Lomi Hawaiian massage training.
“I can’t shake the feeling there is an expectation that eventually, I will be inappropriate. I look around the classroom full of women and wonder if they’re thinking, “Watch out for that guy…
I’m a straight, white male. It seems like men are labeled no matter if they do something or not.
At this point, I don’t even know how to respond. I am so sad because my only intention is to give Loving Touch.”
What a beautiful opportunity, to listen to this man express his feelings. I could empathize with the fear around the expectation that he would mess up. Eventually.
Massage is a profession where you’re right up in someone’s energy field and there’s a lot of skin showing. How do you get people to trust?
My Best Advice
In our patriarchal society it’s been a man’s world, but that doesn’t mean that we stop holding up the torch of light.
I could clearly see this man’s light shining in the room. He, a straight, white male, was holding a space of love and respect and compassion for women and where we’ve been historically.
This man, offering Loving Touch with all his heart, can turn the tides of the stories that linger from being in this society for so long.
He is creating an alternate viewpoint and perspective, inviting women to feel safe, nurtured and not to feel like they have to be afraid.
“Hold up the torch of light for all of the men who deserve a chance to create more love,” I told him. “Be supportive of other people committed bringing more love in.”
As men in the massage therapy profession, be impeccable with what you do and what you say.
- Communicate: Explain draping with your clients. Let them know which areas of the body you will be working on and give them permission to stop the session any time they feel uncomfortable.
- Set Your Intention: From the moment, the appointment is set, be clear on your intention to provide sacred space for the healing of your client.
- Remain confident: Believe the clients on your table have come because you have the skills they need in the present moment. Ask for support from your guides and focus on the intended outcome.
Now, I’d love to hear from you…What advice do you have for male massage therapists?
I read and respond to every comment!