Okay, sure. If you ask a male massage therapist, he would certainly say there is a gender bias. The truth is, if there is a gender specific request when someone is booking a massage, usually it’s for a female therapist. But that’s not what I am talking about here. What I want to address is the fact that there is no gender bias when it comes to the benefits of massage therapy.
In the past month, I have received calls from a few women who were contacting me on behalf of the men in their lives. Each of the men had a specific need for massage, whether it was pain relief or stress management. Sadly, the women who contacted me also stated that the men in question wouldn’t schedule a massage on their own.
One Man’s Reasoning
So I decided to ask “Mick” why he wouldn’t come in for massage on his own. He gave a couple of reasons that I am certain many men can relate to. First, he said that he didn’t want to admit to himself or to his significant other that his pain was bad enough that he needed help. Anyone who has taken interesting “scenic routes” with a man behind the wheel knows that men do not like to ask for help (or directions). Second, he told me that he imagined I would be some hippy chick in tie-dye, burning incense and offering to read his aura. While I have had some incredible massages by people who match that very description, I can understand why that stereotype might be off-putting for someone who already has difficulty asking for help.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association’s 20th annual Consumer Survey, of the respondents who had received massage in the previous year, 60% were female and 40% were male. While the gap is narrowing, men are still less likely to seek massage than women. Regardless of gender, 78% of respondents identified medical conditions or stress reduction as the main reasons for seeking massage. A majority of those surveyed reported that they were encouraged by their doctor to get massage. And according to the most recent Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet, massage therapists report that over 60% of the work they do is performed in a medical office setting or in a gym/health club.
With more and more research showing that massage is a beneficial component in the treatment of pain and a variety of other medical conditions, the old idea that massage is just for pampering and spa vacations has long been thrown out the window. All of the major sports leagues hire massage therapists to keep their athletes healthy and performing at peak levels. Many companies, large and small offer massage services to their employees to help reduce stress and improve productivity. So c’mon guys, it’s okay to book your own massage. Knowing when to ask for help is a sign of strength. And I promise, if you book a massage at Connective Touch Therapeutic Massage in Reston, you won’t find me wearing tie-dye or offering to read your aura.