When you get right down to it, the gender of your practitioner really makes no effective difference.
While it’s true that there are some good reasons for objecting to getting a massage from a male practitioner, my hope in this post is to at least open your mind to the idea, and question whether your objection is really as big as you think.
I was a little reluctant to get a massage from a male practitioner for the first time myself. I had only ever been worked on by female practitioners at GLM (we have only had female practitioners until recently). Then, a male intern came in and I got on the list for a free session. I think of myself as open-minded and willing to try things, so I didn’t outwardly flinch at the idea of getting a massage from a man.
But inwardly? Yeah, I admit it. I did flinch a little.
After I got on the table, I realized my reluctance was completely silly. It helped that the intern in question was highly skilled and is going to have a great career in massage someday. (What I got for free will one day cost hundreds of dollars, I am certain.)
As I felt his hands on me, I realized that it’s a lot like getting examined by a male physician. This intern was there to take care of my health: period, final. There was no other motive or intention behind his touch, and every move he made spoke to his high level of skill and professionalism. With my eyes closed, I couldn’t tell the gender of my practitioner, and I didn’t care.
So why is it that I was so hesitant? What held me back? And if you have a problem with getting a massage from a man, what’s holding you back?
There’s no denying that there’s an intimacy in massage that is matched by few other kinds of health treatment. You are being touched in places few people even see, let alone touch. The trust involved in letting a stranger work on your body is hard to over-state. But let’s put the brakes on a few false ideas right now:
Clinical massage is not sexual
While massage therapy has a reputation for being a sexual service in some circles, that is emphatically not the case at a clinic like The Good Life Massage. What we offer is a relaxing, healing service in a clinical setting. While it’s true that massage can be pleasurable, in no way is clinical massage intended to be an erotic experience.
We meet and exceed Washington state law regarding proper draping techniques. Further, our practitioners are expected to be completely professional. They will not initiate sexual touching of any kind, and will end a session immediately if sexual touch is initiated or requested by a client, either implicitly or explicitly. Any misconduct in this area is grounds for immediate termination and possible legal action.
We don’t discriminate, and neither should you
The Good Life Massage is an equal opportunity employer. We do everything possible to hire the very best practitioners we can find, and gender is never a factor in that decision. Period.
If you need a massage, don’t you just want the best possible care you can find? If you need your appendix out, are you going to balk if your surgeon is a certain gender?
After my massage with that intern–feeling like my entire back and core muscles had been effectively replaced with brand new ones–I felt a little bit silly for feeling that tug of reluctance at seeing a male practitioner.
In fact, I’ve been back many times to see our newest practitioner as of this posting, Charlie Fadness. Charlie is our first male practitioner, and I wish we could have brought him on sooner. I feel like a million bucks after every session with him.
But still …
If you still object to seeing a male practitioner, we completely understand. We don’t want to pressure our clients into doing anything they don’t want to do. But there are a few things you should take note of before coming in for the fist time.
State your preference
If you feel strongly that you prefer a male or female practitioner, let us know right away. We can keep that information on record so it never becomes an issue. If you’re booking over the phone, our front desk staff will try to make it clear with whom you’re having a massage, but we won’t bring the issue of gender up if you don’t. It’s on you to state your preference and ensure it’s being honored. Read your confirmation carefully and be sure to call us more than 24 hours prior to your appointment if you need to reschedule.
Tom Gunn is the blog editor and director of marketing for The Good Life Massage. You can find him online at http://www.TGunnWriter.com or on Twitter @elmanoroboto