Massage therapists’ sex problem

If you’re a massage therapist, one annoying misperception that is fueled by the sex industry is that the words ‘massage’ and ‘sex’ are interchangeable. While lightworkers know this is not true, the belief can keep some potential clients from exploring the services that massage therapists offer.

But there are things you can do about it. Ripple Massage, a massage service company in Australia is calling on the sex industry to use different terminology in their advertising. “Massage is a legitimate profession, similar to other health care professions such as nurses and ambulance drivers,” said Shaw.

Yet Shaw pointed to the findings of a recent report that showed that many brothels use the term “massage” or “massage parlor” in their advertising materials. “As a result, clients are often left confused between the two, making it difficult to seek out a legitimate health and wellbeing service,” said Shaw.

It doesn’t help when you hear well-publicized news stories such as those about John Travolta being sued by massage therapists for assault and sexual battery. While in this case, Travolta is being accused of inappropriate sexual misconduct rather than the massage therapists, it still serves to reinforce the perception that some people have that massage is somehow related to the sex industry.

So how do you better educate the general public about the benefits of massage?

  • Spell out those benefits in all marketing materials. Let people know that massage is a good way to reduce pain, anxiety, and depression. Cite studies that show that massage can lower blood pressure. The more people associate massage with its health benefits, the less of an impact the sex industry connection will have.
  • Participate in local health and wellness events. Many organizations host health fairs and other events for the public that are designed to promote wellness. By taking part in such events, you give the general public the opportunity to associate massage therapists with other wellness providers.
  • Tell people what to expect. Some people who are getting a massage for the first time might be hesitant because of the sex industry misperception. Deal with that misperception head-on, by telling prospective customers what a massage therapist is like or even posting on your Web site what it’s NOT like so newbies can ease their comfort level with the idea of reaping the benefits of your service.

Here are some other resources worth checking out for massage therapists looking to grow their business: may receive compensation if users buy products or services mentioned or advertised on these sites or click on some of the links that are posted on these sites.


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