To Glute Or Not To Glute?

When it comes to the gluteal muscles, or “glutes” as they’re commonly referred to, there is a surprising amount of debate among bodyworkers and clients alike as to whether this area of the body should be included in a regular massage session or not. The buttocks have long been an area that, especially in the U.S., have been seen as potentially erotic in nature, with many people growing up knowing that someone touching their behind is an inappropriate gesture unless that person has express consent to do so. Even when entering massage school, many students fill out paperwork that asks them both if they are comfortable having their gluteals worked on as well as whether they are comfortable working on the gluteals of their fellow students. So should the gluteals have a regular place in your massage sessions, or is it best left out?

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Being Able to Say "No"

For massage therapists especially, one very difficult challenge seems to be the ability to say “no” to a given situation if we need to. We are such giving people that it can be extremely difficult for us to tell anyone that we cannot accommodate their request. Many of us would almost rather not practice than have to do that, but the unfortunate reality is that we have to draw boundaries in and around various parts of our lives and keep those boundaries intact. Otherwise, we risk overextending ourselves and burning out. There are many situations that may call for a therapist to say “no.” The following are some common potential situations therapists may run into as well as ways to help therapists find out if they are in such situations and how best to say “no” while still being professional.

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Handling Challenging Situations and Misunderstandings as a Massage Therapist – Part 2

Last time, I talked about an interesting case of a significant misunderstanding that had occurred in my massage room and that forced me to amicably part ways with the client, due to different cultural views. In this post, I’ll cover a similar situation that happened, but with communication outside the massage studio being the primary cause of the issue rather than anything that happened in the massage room itself.

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Handling Challenging Situations & Misunderstandings as a Massage Therapist -- Part 1

I once had an unusual case occur in my treatment room. A very nice professional gentleman, whom I will refer to as R for this post, had called me one evening after I had finished up my last client, said that his former therapist had moved away and that he was looking for a new one, and asked if I had availability for one more client. After I told him that I could accommodate him, he informed me that he was a cyclist and proceeded to give me very specific details for what he liked in a massage – preferences accumulated over seventeen or eighteen years of receiving professional work from other licensed therapists. Fortunately for me, I was able to fulfill most of his requests, as they were already part of my usual technique or not too far from it. We agreed to start with a 30-minute session to see if he was satisfied with my work, and we would go from there if he wanted more time.

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Why Relaxation Massage Is Being Left Behind and Left Out -- Part 2

Last week’s post was a story of my own which dealt with relaxation massage and how I found that it was my “niche” in the competitive massage world, despite many people having told me that what I offer isn’t enough to keep a massage practice afloat. This week’s post will explore why relaxation massage no longer seems to be emphasized as much in the industry in general and give some insights into how all massage styles as a whole can be better represented to clients and those outside the world of massage.

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Why Relaxation Massage Is Being Left Behind and Left Out -- Part 1

In the next two posts, I would like to address an issue that I’ve been seeing in the massage and bodywork community. That is, the trend of emphasizing medically oriented massage techniques almost to the exclusion of relaxation massage. The next post will talk more about this trend and how it presents in the industry as a whole. In this first post, though, I’ll begin by telling a story of my own to illustrate how it can affect the lives and practices of individual therapists. It has taken a lot of time and consideration to thoughtfully develop these posts, and I hope that others may benefit from reading my story and my insights.

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The Vocabulary of Massage Therapy

When I had to “fire” my first client, it was due to a unique set of circumstances, largely centered around the language used in text communications with me. He spoke of feeling the “love through my touch” and that he wanted me to “engulf and envelope” him with my “soft and sweet sexy hands.” To his credit, he had been a complete gentleman while in his very first session, and may, in fact, have meant nothing but honest and sincere, if awkward, compliments by the words. But the fact that I had been made uncomfortable, even if unintentionally, by that and other text messages he sent, was enough to cause me to refuse to rebook him. The brand new and still fragile relationship of trust and safety between us had been broken.

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How Long Should I Take Getting Up From My Massage?

I recently answered an excellent clarification question on Quora:  “When massage therapists complete a massage and say, ‘Take your time getting up,’ do they mean five minutes, or fifteen?” For lots of clients, this is an area of uncertainty. Everyone wants to enjoy the luxurious feeling of a limber, relaxed body after a great massage, but no one wants to be discourteous to their therapist and make them run behind by spending too much time on the table. So what is the proper etiquette to follow once you’ve finished a massage session? Read my response to find out!

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To Tip or Not to Tip?

I'll never forget my first massage. I had experienced a particularly trying finals week during my last semester of senior year at college and my dear friends all decided to chip in and purchase a 30-minute massage for me with the local massage therapist. I was quite thrilled, having never had a full body massage before and I was not disappointed by the massage itself. By the time I walked out of the therapist's office, I was on cloud nine. One thing did strike me as odd, though, as I shook her hand and thanked her for the delightful massage she had just given me. There was a certain hesitancy there, as though she were expecting something.

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