The Elephant in the Massage Room

Folks, I’m so sad this morning (and kind of angry).  I often get on my soap box about safe touch, bodily autonomy and respect, I know.

Sexual assault in my industry has become a big topic in the news lately to say nothing of the human trafficking linked with seedy ‘massage parlors’. I’m heartbroken that a profession that attracts people who are genuinely interested in helping people get out of pain, gain a greater sense of how their body performs, and learn about safe touch is going through some growing pains after a few thousand years.

I love what I do and I’ve worked to cultivate an environment where folks feels completely safe and in control of their body. I address the power differential in the massage room with every new client. My goal is that everyone understands that they are the navigator, I’m the driver. My ego has not and will not ever be wounded by a client expressing a hesitation, pain, or fear before, during, or after a session.

I’m relieved that clients feel empowered to speak up when a health care provider has violated a trust. I’m also really disappointed in how my industry has responded. Pretending like a problem doesn’t exist doesn’t make it any less real or damaging to its victims. Pretending that a problem doesn’t exist makes it easier for predators to continue to hurt people. We owe the clients who entrust their body, pain and experiences to our hands more than this.

As A Client, here is what you should know:

Massage should be safe! If someone is causing you pain-tell them. If they don’t adjust to your request, end the session immediately!

Massage should be safe! If someone is making you feel exposed tell them. Your modesty should be respected at all times.

Massage should be safe! When looking for a therapist ask friends and family for recommendations. An experienced, knowledgeable therapist is easy to find this way. Build a relationship with a therapist and insist that they understand your goals and limitations.

There should never be a question about your safety when you are consulting with a new health care provider, but this latest news demonstrates that it is. 

My wish for each and every client seeking massage: May you build a relationship with an experienced therapist that is a true partnership with your goals in mind. May you feel confident that your boundaries are always respected, that you are always heard, and that you always feel safe.

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