I get asked this question a lot. What’s the difference between a Massage Therapist and a Masseuse? And that’s an excellent question!
According to the dictionary a Masseur is just another word for a professional Massage Therapist. And a Masseuse is the feminine form meaning that it is used to describe a female professional massage therapist.
But why don’t you call yourself a Masseuse?
Unfortunately, a Masseuse is also used to describe, a woman who practices massage without any formal training, doesn’t have the legal licensing to practice massage, and may be associated with prostitution or sex trafficking.
Sadly Massage Therapy has been used as a cover up for Prostitution and Human Sex Trafficking for years, and it is still a major concern even today. This has badly tainted the positive benefits of professional therapeutic massage therapies and causes many people to avoid receiving massage altogether for fear of being mistreated sexually.
As a professionally licensed massage therapist, I want my work to be respected and appreciated for its medical use in promoting health and wellness for the body and mind.
It is for this reason that I would ask all who refer to myself or other professional associates as a Massage Therapist instead of a Masseuse. Change starts small, and change starts with you. If we want to change the perspective of massage therapy, we need to start with calling professionals within the industry by their rightful title of Massage Therapist not Masseuse.
Please know: it is your LEGAL right to stop any Massage that makes you uncomfortable for any reason whether that is inappropriate cause of physical pain, sexual misconduct, harassment, or just plain heebie jeebies! And you don’t need to tell your massage therapist why. All you need to do is tell them you want to end the session and ask them to leave so you can redress.
Once you get out of your session tell the Manager about your concerns and ask them what action they will take to ensure those concerns are addressed. Then tell them you plan to follow up to see if any changes were made. If nothing changes report them to the local authorities. If there is no supervisor over your therapist because they work independently, then report them to the local authorities and ask them to follow up with your concerns.
Massage Therapists: *remember* it is your LEGAL right to end a massage session for any reason so long as you tell the client why. You also have the right to refuse to work on clients if there is any concern for your safety or their’s.
It is just as much our responsibility as Massage Therapists to end the change the conversation about what massage therapy really is.