10 Things Your Massage Therapist Wants You to Know

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  1. Pretty bizarre photo of a massage for first-time people to see whilst telling them to relax

    • What’s weird about it? That it’s a man giving a man massage? The man receiving the massage is draped appropriately, and the LMT is working on what I would wager is his right forearm and/or hand.

      Good article, Kate! Great stuff to keep in mind, even for experienced massage aficionado/as. :)

    • Hmm, not sure what’s bizarre about it! I thought it was nice that it wasn’t the typical spa girly stock massage photo…I think that type of thing is what makes many men nervous about what to expect. Thanks for reading!

    • I don’t think the picture is bizarre either. I also like that it’s not typical to what we might usually see.

  2. “But on a related note, if you ask for a happy ending—even as a joke—we won’t be rebooking you. You don’t walk up to a pharmacist and ask for cocaine. We are professional health care providers. Act accordingly.”

    I will say that I have had a fair number of massages in my life. Probably 50-60% have been okay, 25% really bad–as in a waste of money given to a person who is licensed and has all the training in the world and just sucks. Maybe one in ten massages have been great–i.e. worth the bill and leaving me smiling and calm. However, the happy ending is a gift from the heavens. IME, the happy ending means the full treatment–table shower, foot massage, the works, and yes, the full release–and if you, like many non-Westerners consider that to be an aspect of a very good massage treatment, so long as you live in a decent sized city, you’ll have no trouble finding an ending that is happy AND and beginning and middle that smiling, as well.

    • Hi Ben,

      While it’s true that it probably wouldn’t be difficult to find this service, for most professional massage therapists in the U.S. it is a deal-breaker and totally unacceptable. I know that some states do have laws regarding sexual therapy/sexually-related body work, but for the type of massage I am discussing here, that would be completely out of bounds.

    • happy ending massage is the same as prostitution in my opinion

      • I agree, John. I’m aware that some people argue that it is acceptable, or there are acceptable frameworks for that type of bodywork, but to me it doesn’t have a place in therapeutic massage at all. It’s prostitution.

  3. What I like about the picture is that it shows a man who might fit the bill of someone who wouldn’t typically get a massage and who most likely wouldn’t get one from a man. I think it’s a great fit for the article. Great article too. Very to the point!

  4. Thanks for writing this article Kate! It’s so nice to hear these things from a professional. When I went to my first massage, I was sooooo nervous. And this was even with a woman who was friend’s with my Mom who I felt very comfortable with. But it was such an amazing experience. I felt like jello afterwards.

  5. Errections are a function of the parasympathetic nervous system. As such they occur during relaxation. That is why men have them when they are asleep. Ejaculation is a function of the sympathetic nervous system. So it is entirely likely and normal for men to have an errection when they are deeply relaxed. It is not a matter of stimulation per say.

    • I agree, just because a man has an erection during a massage doesn’t mean he is looking for a happy ending, as a matter of fact he might become embarrassed or uneasy about it thinking that the therapist is judging him as a pervert. In point of fact it is often an involuntary response to total relaxation…he may fall asleep and be dreaming about a sexual encounter which translates into an erection. I am a professional and yes i have had some men get an erection, it’s not a big deal! best to downplay it and ignore it. If he apologizes (it has happened) I tell him not to worry, it happens at times. However, if he does expect a happy ending, that I cannot do.

      • As an LMT myself, I agree that a well trained professional LMT does not get freaked out or offended by an erection for the reasons articulated by Scott and Pat above. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, the appropriate thing to do (for both parties) is to ignore it. The LMT can shift the focus of the work slightly and often that is sufficient to settle things down. Only if it happens routinely with an established client does it become an issue to be addressed, as likely there is more going on than a simple parasympathetic response. But for those guys out there who have abstained from getting a massage out of concern for this happening on the table, a) it probably won’t, and b) if it does, no one will think you are a pervert, and c) we’re going to ignore it as long as you do. Massage is so good for body and soul. Don’t let this fear stop you from experiencing the stress relief and relaxation of a professional massage.

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