The cranked out massage therapist

awkwardmasseuse

So for those of you who don’t know, an element my late mid-life crisis was going back to school.  To become a therapeutic massage therapist.  At age 55.

With AGMA, the fun never stops.

I earned a BS in 1975 and an MBA in 1981.  Actually, BS pretty much describes both degrees.  As my dad used to say, “That and a dime will buy you a cup of coffee.”  He was always so supportive…  I marvel at that phrase as I drink my $5.25 mocha.

While I think I had the brains, I never had the political savvy, confidence and whatever else it is you have to have to climb the corporate ladder.  Like Bob, Stuart and Kevin, I was a minion working for an evil corporate empire.

But I was a pretty happy minion as I wrote in my early 2104 post On Haitus Inc.  I was able to work part-time in a professional job that paid a professional salary.  Sweet.  And it allowed me to be at home quite a bit while my kids were growing up, and do the sports mom and school volunteer thing.  Not sure my kids were so thrilled, but I loved it.

But after the baby birds flew the nest, I went back to work full-time in 2002.  It had been 30 years since I’d worked full-time outside the home.  Now THAT was a shock to the system.  I felt like I was being water boarded at GTMO.   What do you mean, I have to come into the office EVERY day?

I was ripe for the picking (some may even say a little spoiled) and my husband knew it. He lured me to move to Atlanta with the enticing promise that I could quit my full time miniondom.

After floating around for a few years in the ATL doing odd jobs, I felt a calling to learn therapeutic massage.  This mystified my family and friends.  And me. I  grew up in a very Germanic household where nobody touched anybody.  And if you, horror of horrors, accidentally brushed against someone, apologies abounded.  The idea of massaging strangers seemed a bit improbable if not impossible.  To be honest, I was a little worried…

But sometimes you just have to go with those promptings of the spirit and get out of your head.  So I did.  I went with it and graduated from MT school in 2009.  It’s one of the best decisions I ever made.  Whew…

So what’s this about being cranked out?

I can hear some of you saying, “But AGMA, shouldn’t you be incredibly happy that you’re doing something you love?”

It’s really not that I’m cranky.  Okay, so my husband might not agree with that.  But when it comes to my profession, I’m just a bit sensitive.

I think it’s because I’m too old to deal with some people’s attitudes about massage therapists.  Age is liberating like that.  One of the many things about getting older that I love.

Unless French is their native tongue, I get kinda cranked out when somebody calls me a “masseuse”.    Please don’t call a legitimate, licensed therapeutic massage therapist a “masseuse”.  Please.  Especially if they are going to work on you in the near future.

We know spots on the human body that are very, very ouchy tender and we just might “accidentally” put a bit too much pressure on them.  And it doesn’t matter how big and bad you are – I can have you whimpering like a puppy faster than you can say “I didn’t mean to call you a masseuse. You’re a massage therapist!”  It’s like Mr. Spock’s Vulcan death grip thing.  A lot like it as a matter of fact.

A masseuse is a person you find in back classified section of the local hipster paper that works at a place called Sensual Sensations or something like that.  Or you can find a masseuse on Craigslist – in the “for adults only” section.  Or on that Ashley Madison website.

I bet Josh Duggar had a masseuse…

A masseuse isn’t licensed (for massage therapy, that is), doesn’t carry professional liability insurance (for massage therapy, that is) and never went to school (for massage therapy, that is.)  A masseuse will pretty much always be under the care of a doctor for a variety of irritating, nasty little rashes in “private places” that just don’t ever seem to go away.  Eww.

Got the picture?

And never, ever even think the words “happy ending” when you are around a professional in the therapeutic massage field.  Never.  Ever.  We can read minds.  Vulcan death grip, remember?

Although we hope it never happens, we are taught in our ethics classes how to professionally respond to a client’s “inappropriate” behavior.  This is a good thing for the younger therapists.

But again, I’m just too freakin’ old to put up with that kind of nonsense.  There might be a possibility that an inappropriate male client could leave my therapy room with their voice a few octaves higher than when they entered.  Accidents happen, you know?

So I’m not really cranky.  Not really.  I just want my profession and fellow, legitimate practitioners to be respected for their healing abilities and not to be viewed as the target of tasteless jokes and innuendo or worse.

Massage therapy has been used in as a tool for wellness for millennia.  It’s an alternative and complementary therapy that involves no invasive surgeries or big pharma.  It treats the whole person and helps bring mind, body and spirit back into balance.  Research has proven that it can help reduce the pain felt by a cancer patient and reduce the intensity of the side-effects of chemo.  It can improve sleep patterns in the general population.  It relaxes and de-stresses, and helps the adrenals recover.  It can calm an agitated Alzheimer’s patient.  It can save a patient from having carpel tunnel or shoulder surgery.  And on and on and on…

Pretty cool eh?

Okay, so maybe I’m just a little tiny bit cranky.  But it’s in that endearing AGMA sorta way.

And you gotta love that.

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24 thoughts on “The cranked out massage therapist

  1. I hear you. We have had a number of “massage parlors” closed down recently by undercover cops (who somehow manage to do the take-down AFTER the services have been rendered, go figure).

    But I also know lots of people who go to licensed massage therapists and come away feeling so much better, less achy, less stressed. It’s too bad your profession gets maligned – people are just clueless sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the love! It’s interesting – Georgia is instituting all of these new rules that will even more tightly regulate us legitimate MT’s (and cost us even more $$), but they do virtually nothing to close down the “massage parlors”. It’s frustrating!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahem…my masseuse happens to be my boyfriend :D, when his wrists will let him.
    My other masseuse is a very dear friend who has just the right touch to get all those air bubbles popping, making me feel better.
    Many years ago, I think I was a teen (48 now), I learned the benefits of massage.
    I was scheduled to go to a concert with a friend (parent approved and everything!) but I had a beastly headache that was threatening to ruin my plans.
    Introduce my brother on the scene. For some reason he started rubbing my neck and voilà, headache gone and concert attended :).
    I NEVER turn down the offer of a FREE massage, lmao.
    Just ask the b/f since he paid for a therapeutic massage & pedi for my valentine’s gift this year :D.
    And that, my friend, is just one of the reasons I keep him around :D.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re lucky you’re massage therapist boyfriend works on you… Believe it or not – I know many MT’s who won’t work on their partners for a variety of reasons. I used to work on my husband, but he was continually second guessing what I was doing so I cut him off! I have to deal with it when I get a client who does that because they are paying me, but I don’t have to put up with the grief from him because he was getting the work for free! Ha!

      And it IS amazing how massage, in many cases, can sure what ails you like your headache! Kudos to your brother!!

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      • My boyfriend isn’t an actual therapist, he’s a chef, but his fingers certainly work wonders on my aching muscles. When his carpal tunnel or knees aren’t bothering him at any rate.
        But I do know I’m lucky. He makes me laugh and smile *shhhhh, don’t tell him or he’ll try even harder and I’ll never get a moment’s peace.*

        Liked by 1 person

    • OMG – he’s a chef?!?! That’s even better than a massage therapist! I tried to talk both of my kids into being chefs AND meteorolgists (thought they could be Weather Channel stars!) as they were heading off to college! They both said no. 😦

      So there is A LOT of soft tissue dysfunction that is misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel so don’t let him have surgery until he sees a MT who specializes in orthopedic massage. There are some simple tests they can do that most MD’s don’t do, that can determine if there is a nerve impingement(s) that can be causing the symptoms. If it is some sort of nerve impingement, some skilled soft tissue work along with corrective exercises can eliminate the problem. And have the MT look at his knees too… Could be a postural distortion issue that’s putting extra stress on his knees that can be corrected. Just sayin’…

      I’ll get off of my soapbox now… 🙂

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      • Lol, he is :).
        Works as a short order cook but he was trained.
        He had surgery years ago on the one wrist and it did work for him. I Threw those bloody ugly Velcro tennis shoes away not that long ago. Finally.
        Now he just deals. Even when he can’t massage he’s still an awesome back scratcher! There’s a reason he calls me the scratching post, lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. One of my dear friends is a massage therapist. She does wonders to help my back. Then I do Reiki to relax her shoulders and back. She is definitely a professional massage therapist. But I have to admit that accidentally I have said masseuse instead of therapist. She thankfully understands that I know the difference, I am just getting senile!

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    • Ha! It’s different if she’s your friend… You’re allowed to slip up now and then! 😉 Whenever people introduce me as a masseuse, I quickly say, “Actually, I’m a therapeutic massage therapist.” and that seems to work. I guess I’m a bit too touchy about it, but you wouldn’t believe the “fuzzy” boundaries people get if you aren’t clear with them. If you know what I mean…

      You sound like you have a great deal with your friend – exchanging sessions like that!! I took 1st level Reiki years before I was a MT but never really practiced it on it’s own. But I figure I integrate it now with my work in some way, shape or form.

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      • Brenda also knows Level 1 Reiki. I bet your hands just know where the most work is needed in a massage before the patient even tells you. It is such a gift to be able to do both. I can’t take massage therapy with my neck and shoulder issues. But I try to provide healing and joy through my blog and Facebook page. Hugs!! We need to meet someday!

        Liked by 1 person

      • The world so needs healing and joy so THANK YOU for the good energy you share through your Reiki AND your blog!! It’s all in the name right – Joyful2bee! And I would love to meet you but then I wouldn’t be anonymous anymore. But I bet you wouldn’t tell…. 🙂

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    • I used to actually work for a hospice as a MT and I LOVED the work! It’s not for everybody, but I thought it was wonderful, fulfilling work. I missed my clients and the work after I moved.

      I tried to get a job here in Atlanta with hospice when we moved back but I think the Medicare rules are different in GA for hospice benefits so most don’t use MT’s. Sad because I think it really helped the patients. Maybe I need to move back to Pgh?? 🙂 I have been thinking lately of volunteering my services maybe once or twice a month. Gotta get through this crazy fall first! 🙂

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  4. Can I schedule an appointment? I love a good therapeutic massage. My wife is a Master Herbalist, so we both are firm believers in alternative/complimentary treatments – those treatments that came before allopathic medicine. Good for you that you answered the call.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And good for your wife!! The tiny little bit I’ve learned about therapeutic herbs has made my head spin – she must be really, really smart!

      I’ll do everything I can for a client that is within my scope of practice to try to help them heal on their own. It’s sad and scary how many times people get surgery or take multiple side-effect pharmaceuticals when the issue can be resolved with soft tissue work and exercises. Don’t get me wrong – sometimes I do have to refer out to a MD and don’t hesitate to if it’s necessary, but it’s not nearly as often as one might think!

      Now about that appointment….

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  5. I dated a massage therapist for about seven months. She had a large client list and did well enough to pay her mortgage, food, and clothe herself. So in my eyes she was quite successful. I thought it was fun telling my friends that I was dating a massage therapist. Weeks turned into months, and as our relationship ended I realized I was never going to get a massage from her. And I never did. I decided later it was worth knowing what the shoemaker’s children had to go through. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha!! Don’t take it personally – I know lots of MT’s who won’t work on their partners. I think it relates to boundary issues. There is a physical and emotional intimacy between partners that is not there with clients, and sometimes it makes it difficult to detach yourself when you are doing the work. Does that make sense?

      I don’t work on my husband on the table anymore. I will give him the occasional neck massage… He was unwilling to give himself over to my expertise in the work (in other words, he was second guessing me – he has control issues…) so I cut him off! Plus he made creepy noises when I was working on him the weirded me out. So for multiple reasons, he’s not been in on my table since. I know – TMI!

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  6. i just thought the term was old fashioned and didn’t realize the implications! Not that I’ve ever used it….i go to massage therapists. I love what their training and innate gifts can do for me. Yes, innate gift of the healing touch that I have experienced from almost every one. Your hands and spirit are a blessing to those you touch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so very much! I believe that each one of us carry the power of healing touch, but not everybody believes that or has the desire or the drive to use it. It’s funny – my mother was a nurse and my niece (her granddaughter) is a doctor. I figured the healing “instinct” skipped a generation with my brother and sister and I, but I guess not! 🙂

      No worries about the word masseuse…. It IS an old fashioned term (and French) and I think lots of people who don’t have to deal with the modern day implications, innocently use the term. That’s why I try to gently educated people… Like dropping a ton of bricks on their head! Ha!

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    • Thanks! And it is physically demanding which is why I only work 2 or so days a week! I consider the days I work as “exercise days” so don’t feel the need to get any other sort of workout in. So I’m earning a modest amount doing what I love by helping people AND I’m burning calories. It’s a threefer! 🙂

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