I wear many hats--author, speaker, coach, social worker, humanitarian, and massage therapist. All of them revolve around matters of health. And I believe that therapeutic massage is an integral component of health because of its abundant benefits and ability to facilitate the healing process.
Unfortunately, some opportunists see massage as a way to indulge in their creepy and criminal behaviors as evidenced by recent news that male therapists at a national chain have been outed for sexually assaulting female clients (the chain covered them up). On the flip side, some female therapists prostitute my beloved profession.
Therefore, it behooves me to offer massage safety tips. Please use them along with your inner wisdom to differentiate between legitimate and illegal massage.
1. Disrobe to your comfort level. If you want to keep your underwear on, then so be it.
2. Disrobe to the level of necessity. If you’re getting a foot massage, there is no legitimate reason to remove anything other than shoes and socks/stockings. If the “therapist” beckons you to remove more, refuse or get dressed and leave.
3. You should feel or sense where the massage therapist’s hands are at all times. Occasionally, the therapist will disconnect to get hot towels or a stool for seated work or more massage cream/oil. You can tell when this is the case. If you can’t tell what the therapist is doing, then think “A pregnant pause gives me cause.” Otherwise, the therapist should have both hands on you.
4. If you are deliberately touched in an inappropriate way (accidents do happen), then your intuition will tell you that something is off. I strongly urge you to stop the massage at that point, tell the therapist to leave the room, get dressed, and then report it! Offenders view silence as consent and will repeat their behavior with someone else.
5. Don’t go to random “massage” parlors. They may not be licensed or regulated. Asking someone you trust for referrals or research can save loads of heartache.
Massage therapy is an integral part of healthcare. So is your safety.
Author of Living In Total Health