By its very nature, a massage means getting up close and personal with a professional massage therapist. For female spa guests, getting a massage from a male masseur can create some mixed feelings. So, in this article, we take a closer look at the subject and get the thoughts of one of our female spa writers on what it is actually like to get a massage from a male masseur.
Even though a massage therapist is a trained professional carrying out a service, there is no getting away from the more intimate nature of some massages, which puts male masseurs at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to treating female clients. In addition, there is often an assumption that a female massage therapist might have more of an ‘understanding’ of how to treat women clients.
However, there are plenty of terrific male massage therapists out there, so it really comes down to personal preference and how comfortable you feel with a particular therapist. If you plan to make massages a part of your regular routine, it is important to work with a therapist who makes you feel comfortable and understands how to tailor the experience to suit your requirements. In short, a good masseuse is a good masseuse – male or female!
That being said, many women prefer a female massage therapist; just as some people prefer a hairstylist or doctor of the same sex. Reasons might include feeling less self-conscious when parts of the body are exposed and feeling more comfortable when a stranger touches the skin. Spa newbies might also feel a bit easier with a female therapist, as might pregnant women and those having treatment for, or recovering from, certain types of cancer.
Some clients like to talk about personal things during their massage and might prefer a female ear. But, again, it comes down to personal preference and rapport. For many spa-goers, massages are the ultimate in relaxation, so every part of the experience should promote tranquillity and reduce anxiety!
There are lots of different types of massage, from full-body to those that focus on specific parts of the body; the most common being the back, neck and shoulders. There are also differences in pressure, from light and gentle to strong and robust. So, the type of massage that’s right for you will depend upon a number of factors, including:
Take a look at our spa massage guide to see the main types of massage and which you might prefer.
Whichever you do opt for, one important point to make is that you should always have the option to request female massage therapist when you book an appointment with the spa. Also, don’t be afraid to speak up, both before and during the massage – the spa wants you to have a wholly positive experience and will be more than happy to accommodate your preferences.
So, what’s it really like for a female spa guest to receive a massage from a male therapist? We sent one of our intrepid spa experts to test the waters…
“It might come as a surprise to hear that in all my years as a spa-goer, I’ve never had a spa massage from a man before. I’ve had reflexology, osteopathy, and Reiki from a male therapist but never a ‘normal’ back, neck and shoulder type spa massage. So, when I arrived for my spa day and was asked whether I minded a male massaging me, I thought ‘why not?’.
“It turned out that my therapist, Daniel, was brilliant. He was trained as a physiotherapist in Portugal but had been working at the spa in London for two years, which he clearly loved. He was really chatty and friendly, and I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. I can sometimes feel a bit self-conscious about my body – well, it’s not as young or thin as it used to be! – and I suppose with a female therapist it’s a bit different, they ‘get it’. But a strange man seeing me in my rolled down swimming costume was a new experience!
“Daniel was great, incorporated a few clever physio moves into the routine to loosen up my writer’s shoulders (he said that he thought writers tended to get very tense because we don’t switch off, even while we’re at a spa or out and about, we’re thinking about how we’re going to write about it afterwards…that was so true!) and the sore back I strained in January. He even loosened my back enough to tempt me into the pool for a whole twenty lengths – that has to be a good thing.
“In the end, I didn’t feel at all uncomfortable with a male masseur. Whether I would have felt so at home with a man administering a body treatment or an anti-cellulite massage I’m not sure, but the back, neck and shoulders are quite benign areas anyway, aren’t they?”
So, what do you think? As a woman, does, or would, having a male therapist bother you? Do you prefer it? Have you tried it? We’d love to hear your experiences, so share your comments below…