10 Things Your Massage Therapist Wants You to Know.

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Registered Massage Therapists (RMT) see all kinds of people, conditions and concerns. Here, insider tips on what your massage therapist wants you to know.

From routine, to severe, to weird, to even funny. In my practice, I’ve started to see some common reoccurrences emerge. After consulting some colleagues of mine, they seem to have noticed a few patterns too. So, I’ve compiled 10 points that stick out the most.

Common concerns, incidents and what your RMTs are really thinking! Here are 10 things your RMT wants you to know about massage therapy:

1. Re: Your muscle questions? That’s probably normal.

Is this normal? My ____ does this. My ______ has that. Outside of orthopaedic concerns, you would be surprised what patients ask their RMTs. Do other people have hair there? My skin has cellulite there, is that normal? As regulated health care professionals, we do our best to answer your questions within our scope of practice, and if you are really concerned, go to see your Doctor (we will probably refer you if we are concerned, too). But, more than likely, it’s normal.

2. It really doesn’t matter that you haven’t shaved.

Seriously. We truthfully don’t even notice, up until you mention it. It has no effect on our treatment, if it does, that’s what the oil and lotion is for. I mean it.

3. We give you stretches for a reason! Do them.

And your exercises, and your hydrotherapy, and your home care, and…you see where I am going here right? Although it would be fun to follow you around, give you treatment and remind you of your therapeutic exercises all day long, we can’t. Our time together is very short, minutes a day, a week, a month, or even longer.

This homework RMTs are giving you, is designed along your treatment plan to help you resolve your pain and dysfunction. Your health is in your hands the rest of those minutes, days, weeks, and months. If you want to get better, you need to do your homework.

4. Your body is beautiful, too.

RMTs treat hundreds of patients. That means seeing, and touching, their naked bodies. Guess what? They are all different. Out of all of them, not even one looks like what you see, airbrushed in the media. Male or female. A few have come close, but no cigar.

It breaks our hearts a little bit when we see those patients insecure about their bodies, because of the pressure of the media. It’s not often the media shows the stretch marks, scars, deformities, muscles, moles, dry skin or cellulite. that we so often see on…everyone. Those images aren’t what we see on a daily basis.

There is only one condition your body should be in, male or female, young or old: healthy. And that looks a little different for everyone. Your RMT is here as a vessel for health. We are not here to judge. And we want to tell you: Your body is beautiful, just how it is, as long as you are on your journey to health.

5. When you “re-make” the table, I smile inside.

Post treatment, when we come in for reassessment, check ins, clean ups, etc. And we see that all of the linens have been attempted to be put back, tidied and re-made, it warms our hearts. I mean, it’s silly really, they all go off to be sterilized and sanitized. It’s completely unnecessary, but it’s also really sweet for some funny reason.

6. We are massage therapists. Don’t call us “masseuses.”

We are Registered Massage Therapists. With years of training, education then certification, experience and legal responsibilities. The word masseuse is…ugh. Shudder-worthy. It’s associated with under-the-table, sketchy, “happy ending” type massage. And that is not what we do. RMT’s provide well thought out, research based treatment plans to assist our patients return-to or maintenance-of health. Please call us by our hard earned titles. Registered Massage Therapist, Massage Therapist, or simply, RMT.

7. Don’t be shy about your butt.

In our world, it’s a large muscle, actually it’s three. We call your bum gluteals or glutes. It’s not a booty or ass and we don’t see it as fat, tiny, jiggly or bony. We observe your bodies in a clinical sense, and if you have pain associated with your low back, legs, hips or glutes, don’t be shy. We’re here to help, let us know!

8. …But, please, don’t undrape yourself.

As RMTs we are legally required to follow draping protocols to protect you and ourselves. We only undrape the area being treated at that time, then redrape fully, before undraping any other areas. Please keep yourself covered. And no, we are not interested in seeing your bits (see number six if you need clarification of what we do).

9. Bodily functions are normal. (Even farting on the massage table.)

Most massage therapy treatments have some component of relaxation. Your parasympathetic nervous system starts to shine, meaning the rest-and-digest functions are in gear. And yes, that means stomach grumbling and growling, snoring, even passing gas are normal. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, that’s a good sign you are relaxed. As healthcare professionals, it doesn’t faze us. We don’t judge you, we’re here to help you.

10. We care about you and your body.

Yes, we actually care if you do your home care. Yes, it really matters what you tell us and how you are feeling. And yes, even though we shouldn’t, we worry about you when you’re struggling. Your success is our success.

We hope we can make it better, that’s the goal, that’s why we do what we do. That’s also why RMTs refer you to other practitioners, because we truly think they could help and their tools could be of use to your recovery. Because your recovery is our priority and you matter to us. And most importantly, because we really care about you and your health.

Next time you see your RMT, keep these 10 points in mind. Know that we love what we do, helping people is the best job in the world. We truly feel just as good as you do after a rockstar treatment! We are genuinely grateful when you consider trusting us with your health, and we consider it a privilege to share that time with you!


What People Really Look Like.

Author: Taylor Oomen

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Nicholas Webb/Flickr

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Tanya Boehland Mar 15, 2019 10:22pm

Well said!
I need massage therapy in my life to keep me going strong as a reflexologist. One of the MOST CONSIDERATE questions a massage therapist can ask a client is “Do you need a tissue?” as we flip from prone to supine. YES, WE USUALLY DO 🙂

anonymous Dec 16, 2015 7:21pm

Except for the thing about non-RMTs being under-the-table. That's just snobbishness that disrespects and puts other practitioners (masseuses) in danger. When a word can only legally be used by a certain group, it's best not to enforce the negative stereotype for those outside the circle.

anonymous Oct 10, 2015 10:40am

Great post!

anonymous Oct 3, 2015 6:27pm

I don’t take any offence when people call me or my other colleagues who have done the registered massage therapy 2 years and 6 months course in BC. I think RMTs need to calm down when people use this term for us because they aren’t coming from a bad place. It’s what their accustomed to &I not out to offend us.

So take it from me and from others who have been practicing for some quite time now, no offense taken.

anonymous Aug 31, 2015 9:16pm

Thanks for this great sharing. Wvey information. As a massage terapist, i learned a lot.

anonymous Aug 30, 2015 6:15pm

totally agreed but please don't get affected by what you are being called. You are there to do a good job, a job title is not going to bother me. Please do not feel insecure about being labelled that as you would have know from history of massage that it was a pre-treatment used in most medical practice a long long time ago. The stigma of being associated with happy-ending does not do any good therapist any justice. Believe in yourself and continue the good work. 🙂

anonymous Aug 30, 2015 6:14am

What a sweet and cute article. It just made me happy to read it 🙂

anonymous Aug 29, 2015 9:10pm

As a massage therapist myself, I prefer to be asked before another practitioner exposes my glutes. Also, great work can be done with VERY successful outcome without undraping this area.

anonymous Aug 29, 2015 3:29am

It's nice to hear all of these. I had a bad massage experience earlier this year. I won a gift certificate for a place, and I decided to use it for a relaxing Swedish massage a few days before I moved across the world. I specifically said I wanted it for relaxation and stress relief. The massage therapist talked through the entire session about movies about the country I was moving to and even worse, making comments about my body that made me feel very self-conscious. I'm used to being told to "stop helping" (ie. relax more), but this guy crossed the line when he started talking about my body. He continued to tell me about exercises I should do as we were in the full lobby of the salon/spa. The massage itself was not relaxing and hurt quite a bit. I walked out of there feeling angry and stressed. That guy was everything this article is not, so it's nice to hear he's the exception.

anonymous Aug 3, 2015 4:21am

A good resource to help clients understand the process. In Australia it is amazing how many massage therapists are out there that have no qualifications.

anonymous Jul 28, 2015 11:28pm

Thanks for this great article! God Bless the healing of RMTS!! Massage is very good for the circulation of your body and more people should look it as a way for total health of body and mind! Thanks!

anonymous Jul 25, 2015 7:15pm

Here's a rule for massage therapists: If you're legitimate, don't advertise sexy photos unless you're going to do sexy things. If this is your only way of getting clients, you're doing something wrong. You shouldn't advertise yourself like Kim Kardashian if you're going to act like Robert Kardashian.

anonymous Jul 1, 2015 11:11am

You forget to mention that it is normal for males to get an erection. It may not be entirely common, but it is a normal function of the body. It's nothing to be ashamed of, and it does not necessarily mean sexual arousal.

anonymous Jun 30, 2015 11:13am

My massage therapist suggested I set my phone alarm three times throughout every day with a reminder to roll my shoulders back, turn my head from side to side, and check my posture. I added closing my eyes and taking several deep breaths. If it wasn't for my phone alarm reminding me, I wouldn't be getting these 'healthy moments' into my day.

anonymous Jun 29, 2015 11:10pm

It irks me when I MALE massager therapost refers to himself (or is referred to) as a "masseuse" because that is the FEMININE form–a male would be a "masseur", even discounting the "massage therapist" preferred term. A man who claims to be a "masseuse" makes me giggle.

anonymous Jun 29, 2015 4:06am

Over here in UK where the profession is self regulated with a choice of more than a dozen professional associations, I personally don’t see the word, “masseuse” as implying anything sexual. Not sure if others do, though I prefer the term, “massage therapist.”

Actually, I like it when a client folds up the towels while I am out of the room washing my hands for an entirely practical reason – it makes them easier to stuff in a rucksack to take them home to wash!

And nos surprise, appologies for not having shaved are the most common appologies I get. Far more common with my clients in fact than comments about their body not being the right shape though I do get some of them!

    anonymous Aug 3, 2015 3:28pm

    Yep, much more common in the UK to use "massage therapist". Sounds nicer too, I think.

anonymous Jun 4, 2015 5:35pm

How much extra is a happy ending though? Or is that only at the Thai places?

anonymous Mar 24, 2015 7:29am

The laws from state to state or province to province vary. Attitudes amongst practitioners vary also… As an LMP for 20 years and someone who enjoys naturalist groups/activities, I can say that I get tired of some people's attitudes on nudity. I personally find 'strict draping' distracting when receiving a massage and have had clients express the same. I prefer a simple towel across the mid section if anything at all.

With new clients though and western societies generally conservative attitudes I always start with the conservative end of the draping spectrum on new clients…

Draping does not necessarily equate professional… Conversely, nudity does not equate sexual…

anonymous Mar 11, 2015 8:49pm

what happens when a man accidently pops a tent?

    anonymous Mar 12, 2015 11:19pm

    Where I've gone for massages you're covered both with a sheet and a heavy blanket – I'm guessing it keeps the male bits in check!

    anonymous Mar 24, 2015 7:33am

    Also part of the parasympathetic response… As an LMP, usually just ignore and/or change up the rhythm of the massage. I've had men mortified that they got an erection from another male touching them. One of the disadvantages of the male response… the visibility! Lol

anonymous Mar 10, 2015 2:32pm

Great article! I’ll share it on my page right away!

    anonymous Mar 13, 2015 4:22pm

    Thank you for sharing, Fred!

anonymous Mar 10, 2015 4:28am

Here where I'm from it is Licensed Massage Practitioner and some state. Beside that minor detail, this was right on target! Well put! I adored this!

anonymous Mar 9, 2015 11:31pm

Merriam-Webster online
noun mas·seuse -ˈsə(r)z, -ˈsüz (Medical Dictionary)
Medical Definition of MASSEUSE
: a woman who practices massage and physiotherapy

No where in the definition is there any “sketchy” or “sexual” mentioned. I am a graduate of a Massage Therapy program currently working as a masseuse/tech while waiting for state licensing. The people out there offering those services are not trained in massage therapy. Only what they are taught by the pimps or madams that hired them into their parlors. I was the best in my class and the last to get licensed. Just because I cannot claim to be licensed does not take away from my level of skill and education either!

    anonymous Mar 13, 2015 4:21pm

    Thanks for your input Anita. Good luck on your licensing!

    anonymous Sep 8, 2015 8:51am

    The n word has a different meaning by the dictionary too but people can associate anything to anything they want unfortunately and the whores of the eastern countries definitely ruined and tainted the word MASSEUSE by being hookers.

anonymous Mar 9, 2015 5:58pm

PERFECT!!! Thank you for writing such a great article!! You nailed it!!!

anonymous Mar 9, 2015 5:55pm

PERFECT!! Thank you for this great article!! You nailed it!!!

    anonymous Mar 13, 2015 4:20pm

    Thank you!

      anonymous Jun 29, 2015 5:12pm

      It’s enormous that you are getting thoughts from this paragraph

      as well as from our discussion made at this time.

anonymous Feb 28, 2015 11:58pm

Hi, thanks for this. I had a lovely hour long massage this morning for my 45th birthday and I needed to hear all these things.

    anonymous Mar 13, 2015 4:20pm

    Happy Belated Birthday! Glad you were able to take something away from the article.

anonymous Feb 28, 2015 3:51am

Here where I'm from it is Licensed Massage Practitioner (LMP) and some state (LMT). Aside from that minor detail, this was spot on! Well put! I loved this!

    anonymous Mar 13, 2015 4:19pm

    Glad you enjoyed it, thanks for reading!

anonymous Feb 27, 2015 9:08am

I like the article but I’m not offended by the word ‘masseuse’, I don’t think it’s associated with the sex industry necessarily and ‘massage therapist’ is used by people who advertise sex for pay, having a license or other credential is what distinguishes us in our title. Reflects our training and professional approach and and often requires that we adhere to a code of ethics.

    anonymous Feb 27, 2015 1:13pm

    Hi David. Perhaps I should clarify, where I live and practice in BC, Canada only those with the credentials you spoke of (in addition to registration with our province) are legally allowed to use the titles Massage Therapist, Registered Massage Therapist. Thank you for your input, I'm glad you gave this a read!

      anonymous Feb 27, 2015 8:57pm

      And yet, one Provence over (in Alberta) it's a different ball game altogether. I have been taught the word 'masseuse' is a dirty word, associated strongly with people who pay money for sex.

      Alberta has made big strives to become regulated, however not all massage schools teach 2,200 hour programs… who knows what kind of material, theory, or ethics they are taught. I long for the day when we are all playing out of the same rule book, and I won't get shuffled into the category of rub-and-tug-masseuse.

anonymous Feb 26, 2015 5:09pm

Great post! I can so relate to these points!!

    anonymous Feb 27, 2015 1:07pm

    Thank you Coral, I'm glad these words found a spot in your mind!

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Taylor Oomen

Taylor Oomen is taking the curious approach to life. Madly in love with her dog, and I guess her Main Man too, she resides happily in the Lower Mainland, BC where she currently practices as an RMT. Avid activity seeker, reader, dancer, good-food-eater and occasional yogi, Taylor enjoys and partakes in a little bit of everything life has to offer with curiosity leading her along the way.