By Monica Bingley & Ross Ashcraft
80% of massage therapists are women but many veteran spa-goers actually favor male massage therapists. This, according to The American Association of Massage Therapy is because of the power typically male therapists bring to the massage room. Male massage therapists often have additional strength, which can be useful with Neuromuscular Massage & Sports Massage.
Deep tissue styles of massage are mainly focused on areas with chronic muscle tension or knots, and may require deep pressure. Many seem to think that only male therapists can give the required level of strength that the therapist‘s fingers, hands, elbows, and forearms deliver. Most males have larger fingers and hands; because a female’s hands and fingers are on average smaller then a male’s. My petite fingers make it much easier to get into the smaller areas where knots live. Neuromuscular Massage and Sports Massage also have numerous movements where female therapists can more easily move around the table unlike our massively muscled male counterparts.
Another type of Neuromuscular Massage is Barefoot deep tissue (also known as barefoot compressive deep tissue, Ashiatsu, or barefoot sports massage). These techniques are a combination of Eastern techniques such as Ashiatsu, combined with a Western medicine, such as deep tissue, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, transverse friction, compression, tension, shear, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), stretching, along with parasympathetic response.
Ashiatsu typically uses the heel, arch and/or whole plantar surface of foot, and offers hefty compression, tension and shear forces with less pressure than elbow or thumb, and is perfect for application to large muscles, like the thigh. Being a female, I would rather a women’s feet apply deep pressure in this way than a man’s.
In my opinion, leaving Neuromuscular Massage and Sports Massage to just male therapist would be a tragedy. Ladies, let’s not limit ourselves to using only our thumbs or even just our forearms. Let’s not limit our client’s massage experience. There is a whole world of techniques that we can add to our repertoire and be amazing. Being female and also able to add deep tissue into a massage broadens the experience for our clients and makes us more marketable in our industry.
SOOOO FEllOW FEMALE THERAPIST….don’t let anyone tell you–including yourself–that you can’t go deep. Take back the power….and give amazing deep tissue massage.
Fellow Male Therapists….we will not be limited 😉