Very Talented Therapists are Often Overlooked
Pamela Israel and Mara Concordia
"Thank you for calling Peaceful Spirit, how can I help you?”
"Yes, I’d like to schedule a massage. My neck is really killing me. I think I slept on it wrong. Do you have any openings today?”
“I have an one appointment available with “John” in an hour. Does that time work?”
“Um, do you have any female therapists?”
“I’m sorry, all of our female therapists are booked. “John” is well educated and experienced. He is very good at relieving pain and I’m confident he would be able to help you with your neck. Can I schedule you with him?”
“No, I’m really not comfortable working with a guy."
“I understand, unfortunately, that is the only appointment still available for today.”
This conversation happens on a regular basis in most massage establishments. There are many reasons people may not feel comfortable working with male therapists, and they range from conflicts with societal norms (men are fixers, women are nurturers), social media stories (some true and some perhaps a bit embellished) and hearing news stories that heighten fear for privacy or personal safety. While the most critical thing to remember when scheduling a massage is to make yourself feel safe and comfortable, we would like to share some ideas around why many honest, ethical and professional men enter this field.
There are definite consequences to so many people requesting to work with women. For example, roughly 85% of massage therapists are women, and that’s not accidental. Many male therapists report being turned down for jobs and then receiving fewer appointments than their female counterparts once they have been hired. Sometimes they find it necessary to leave the industry because they cannot support their families.
During our scheduling process, we hear women being concerned about their body image and a male therapist seeing cellulite, for example. We hear men and women alike feeling concerned that their significant other would be concerned about the therapist’s gender. And we hear a lot of confusion around men being stronger in pressure or less sensitive about pressure in general. All of this can lead to a bigger issue…. Someone living with their pain and suffering vs. getting help.
Today, we’re hoping to dispel some of these myths and concerns by introducing:
Jesse first became interested in massage by reading a book from his parent’s eclectic library. Later, after high school, he joined a peace march called “Walk Across America for Mother Earth” where he met people who had gone to massage school and who began teaching him basic techniques. After moving on from the peace march, Jesse continued to learn about massage but didn’t go to massage school until years later. He spent many years as an athletic performer, on stilts! Today, his hobbies include constant reading and learning, scuba diving, and hunting Morel mushrooms. We think he is a gourmet cook and a favorite at our company potlucks. In addition to being a healer for 15 years now, Jesse knows about being injured and dealing with pain. He says, “I've had a variety of musculoskeletal injuries. They've all brought me back to breath and mindfulness to find a facilitated healing through movement and bodywork thoughtfully applied.”