I personally was introduced to the incredible results of Clinical Massage by a great therapist, who came to work with the Chiropractic office where I also worked as a rehab specialist. The benefits to the patient were immediate and long lasting. At that moment, as they say, I was hooked. I never even for a moment stopped to think that there might be prejudgement based on, gender.
Yes, thats what I said. I would not have believed it myself, but after dozens of times hearing things like, I'd prefer a female ...no offense, or, ahh, I like a girl so I can relax...you know. Much more than the words, I note the feeling of rejection as though I somehow violated the sanctity of complete femininity, or broke wind at a poetry reading.
At first, I was extremely offended and probably reflected my offense at this oversight. However, not wanting to present with the same ignorance I was being subjected to, I began to employ empathy for the expectations of the client based upon the lack of public education and venues they were visiting. Basically, if they are at "Spa Whatever", mostly, they are wanting the smooth, light hands of a female to apply warm concoctions to their skin and lull them into La La land. Although most bodies need solid clinical massage, convincing clients of this not so easy and I don't need really to.
My philosophy is simple. I will never beat a woman at being a woman, but I will ALWAYS beat a woman at being a man. After 40,000 clinical hours of massage under my hands, I am still able to perform 12 hrs of back to back massage with no break, 6 days/wk.. I perform clinical/medical/rehabilitative massage therapy. Burn victims, neurological damage, fresh joint replacements, surgical recovery and other accident/injury/illness related work is my playground.
I work with professional and college athletes of all sports and normal folk alike. I am far more interested in restoring health, improving pain free RANGE OF MOTION and HUMAN PERFORMANCE than trying to convince somebody that I can be as soft handed as a female. No offense. I believe that each gender should play the cards they were physically dealt and educate clients about the difference where they can. It might also interest most to understand that clinical massage therapy was invented by and historically performed by men.
Women were not publicly performing any significant forms of clinical massage until after the early 1900's when massage therapy went through a major decline. Massage or a more sensual form of it was was enjoyed by soldiers during many of the major wars...particularly the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. Hence. when the soldiers returned, they blackened the eye of clinical massage with distorted views and expectations that the therapists would be women and it would involve sex.
Although Asian and European cultures have continued to produce incredible results with more clinical forms of manual therapy, American massage has been languishing in the confines of a watered down, ineffective and over regulated form of massage. Medical/clinical and sports related manual therapy are just now starting to be rediscovered because of the over production of cosmetic and relaxation focused Day Spas.
There are many benefits to advanced forms of Clinical Massage over and above any treatments people would receive in a Spa environment. The improvements to the muscle, tendons, fascia along with pain free movement are for the most part immediate and long lasting.
Typically, this type of work is done by males, but I have occasionally had some good treatment by females. The point here is that America for all it's boasting of being more evolved, is really still locked into a puritanically repressed thought pattern when it comes to bodywork. And given the devolved nature of massage post Korea and Vietnam, who could really blame the public for it's skewed perceptions about massage.
Real massage, as it was designed and meant to be applied is a great help to the human condition and should not be relegated to a particular gender, but rather to very particular qualifying skill level. And to the males I would say...don't try to compete with females in their arena of femininity. Present great, real, clinical based therapeutic massage with all your maleness. Whether you are male or female, if you come in and do one great session at a time, it won't take long for you to have a qualified and loyal following in your practice.
Steve Lynch, LMT-MSG008476, AAS/Holistic Helath, CTE