Sticks and Stones
What should you call me? It’s a common problem people have. I’ve been called “massage lady”, “masseuse”, “professional rubber”, “massage therapist”, “my miracle worker”, and “peace maker” just to name a few. It’s confusing. What you should call me can depend. In all honesty, I don’t care what you call me.The State of Florida has declared I shall be called a Licensed Massage Therapist or LMT. Great. I have a title that sounds official. But wait, in the State of Washington, I was not allowed to call myself a therapist, because “therapist” may be confusing for some people, or it created a gray area of what we actually do, or it stepped on the toes of Physical Therapists. The title the state issued us in Washington was Licensed Massage Practitioner or LMP. Most of the industry feels it’s not polite to call me a masseuse.Masseuse - a woman who provides massage as a profession or occupation (as defined by dictionary.com) or a female massager (thefreedictionary.com) where “massager” means someone who rubs or kneads parts of the body to stimulate circulation and promote relaxation.That seems like a very valid definition. Although I might add something like:“A person that specializes in the muscles of the body and understands how they impact our overall well-being or a corrector of imbalance and dysfunction in the muscular system.”Within the massage community however, there is a lot of dislike for the term “masseuse”. They feel that “masseuse” refers to women that are sex-workers. They work in “massage parlors” and offer “other services” beyond therapeutic massage. For many, many massage therapists, “masseuse” is a derogatory term. They are insulted that someone would call them a “masseuse”. Here are some of the arguments I hear about being called masseuse:“I went to school to be a licensed massage therapist.”“I paid a lot of money for my education and licensing.”“I don’t work in a massage parlour.”“I am Nationally Certified.”“I don’t do happy endings!”Personally, I feel that a lot of ego is taking over the conversation with these arguments.In my experience, the only people that associate negative connotations with masseuse are other massage therapists. It’s not the average person. When I go out to dinner with friends and I’m introduced as a masseuse, nobody thinks "Ooooh, she must be a sex-worker". There are no sideways glances or whispers about me or my occupation. I smile and continue on with the conversation. I could correct them, but some people feel stupid about using the incorrect term and it turns the conversation in a different direction. I would rather talk about how amazing massage is!I’m excited that massage is being discussed in dinner conversation. Please keep the conversations going about your “massage lady”. Let your friends know how awesome massage has been in your life. Pass on the name of that great “masseuse” or “back rubber” you go to. Share your stories of pain relief, improving your range of motion, or the peace of mind you experienced in the middle of your chaotic life. Whatever you call me, please keep the conversation about massage going!Not all massage therapists feel this way. To be sure what your massage therapist prefers to be called, ask them. I’m sure they would be more than happy to tell you the title they prefer! I cannot even say with certainty that these opinions are shared by all the Licensed Massage Therapists at Balance and Peace.Have you ever been corrected about the correct term to call a massage therapist? How did it make you feel?Post #11 of 20 in the February Challenge, check it out!