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Is It Really Harder for a Male Massage Therapist to Succeed?

Check out any massage forum and there will comments and questions from male massage therapists who are struggling to develop a foothold in the massage industry. Many of these posts will point to the fact that males prefer to receive therapeutic touch from females and that male massage for females in Sydney is the exception rather than the rule as women often find it difficult to relax when they are being massaged by a male.

The upshot is that new male massage therapists feel that the odds are stacked against them and they complain that it is so much easier for females to work in the massage industry.

However, the reality is somewhat different and research studies point to the fact that males therapists, on average, do better than female therapists.
To quote from a 2002 survey of massage therapists in Australia

male massage therapist

Men carried out proportionately more consultations than women, and had been in clinical practice proportionately longer than women. Proportionately more women (80%) than men (63%) had earnings under $30,000. There were proportionately more men than women in the upper income brackets. Although men were 24% of the sample population, they were 44% of those earning over $100,000.

Yet still the perception is that males have a harder time developing a career in the massage industry.

So how can we reconcile the differences between the positions?

There are probably a number of points that can be made to address this apparent paradox that it is harder for men in the massage industry but that on average men do better than women.

Jobs and employment for (newly qualified) female therapists are more abundant than for men. Check out the massage employment websites and there will be more jobs for female therapists than males. Day spas, health retreats, hotel spas and relaxation clinics employ females. Whilst there may be a token male or two on the roster, people who book in for a massage at one of these locations will more than likely prefer and expect to be massaged by a female.

Any male who goes through massage school thinking that because he does a great relaxation massage, he will be snapped up by the swanky spas is naïve and have unrealistic understanding of the massage industry and this misunderstanding may be part of the problem.

However, these relaxation jobs are typically transient in nature and whilst they may provide employment and an income, there is no career development as such. The therapist runs the risk of just providing “cookie cutter” massages without developing their own client base and/or skills.

These type of jobs may also tend to suit people who really just want to fit in work around their family (without wishing to appear sexist, it is suggested that women are more likely to be looking for massage roles that are flexible and are part time and part of the reason for them doing massage is to fit in with their work/life balance).

In order for a male massage therapist in Sydney to succeed, then they need to find their niche which will need to be a segment of the market that is insensitive to the gender of the bodyworker. For male therapists, this niche is most likely to be offering remedial, sports and deep tissue massage ie more at the medical end of the massage spectrum rather than the relaxation end. People who are in pain, are recovering from injury or are looking to improve sporting performance will be more focussed on the outcome of their massage rather than be worried about the fact that they are being massaged by a male.

  
The fact that it is difficult for males starting out in the industry is probably an advantage for their long term career development. It focuses them on finding out where they belong (which will often be working for themselves), on working on their marketing skills and improving their knowledge/training to provide high quality bodywork that will bring in repeat/word of mouth clients.

The result is that males, who can stay in the industry, do more massages per week and have a greater income than women on average.

So less complaining, guys, about the injustices of being a man in a female industry. Maybe it is females that are getting the raw deal.

By Richard Lane

Student Massages

In most major cities where there are massage schools then the chances are that there would be the option for you to book in for a student massage. In Sydney, for example, these are available at some of the TAFEs, Nature Care in St. Leonards, ACNT in Surry Hills and the NSW School of Massage in Clarence St, Sydney. Booking in for a student massage is generally fairly straightforward and checking out the website for a particular massage education establishment should provide you with all the information you require.

Studet massage clinicThe procedure when you arrive at the student massage clinic is fairly similar to any other clinic, with a couple of fairly major differences. These differences include the fact that you will have no choice over what therapist you will see and that you may very well be in a room with a number of other people getting a massage at the same time (this varies from school to school so check when booking if you are shy about disrobing in a room with other people). In addition, regardless of how many times you visit the clinic, you will probably have the therapist go through the case history each time (which can eat into your massage time). And finally, the student massage therapist may check in with their supervisor a number of times during the session.

    Advantages of Student Massage Clinics

(1) Price. Student massages are significantly cheaper than visiting a professional therapist in a clinic (or have a Sydney mobile massage therapist visit you in your home). So if you are constrained by your budget and you can only afford a cheap massage then student massages are a good option. (please note that you are unable to claim health fund rebate for massage with a student therapist).
(2) You may very well get an attentive therapist who is keen to please and improve their skills and professional interactions with clients.
(3) You are supporting the future of the massage industry.

    Disadvantages of Student Massages

(1) No continuity of therapist and no continuity of massage standard. If you receive a good massage one week then it is unlikely that you would ever get the same therapist again. Chances are that if you have a good experience one time then the next time you go in then it may very be less than satisfactory.
(2) Limited availability. Many student massage clinics only operate on specific day and at specific times. In addition, even when the clinic is operating they may be offering a different massage modality to the one that you are after (eg the students may only be trained in Swedish massage when you are after a remedial massage).
(3) As mentioned above, having a massage in a room with lots of other people is not relaxing when compared to a Sydney massage clinic or a home massage. Also being shy and modest is a definite reason not to book in for a student session.
(4) If you have a significant medical issue would you want a student to be providing bodywork to you?
(5) If you book in for a one hour session, then by the time the student sets up, takes case history and you undress/dress then chances are you will only get around 45 minutes of massage (even less if supervisor intervenes).
(6) Student may work on the areas that they want to, not that you specifically want depending on their level of training and their preferences. (In fairness, this can apply to professional therapists as well but with a professional you probably have more recourse to direct the massage the way you want).

There was a recent online discussion amongst massage therapists whether they preferred student or professional massages. The following quotes are some of the comments that were made. (Obviously there is a slightly different perspective compared with if the same questions was asked to a non-massage therapist, although many of the points are relevant for both groups)

If you get a massage from a student, it can be great, it can be average, it can be a challenge. If you get a massage from a professional, similarly it can be great, it can be average, it can be a challenge. However, the advantage of a professional is that when you get the “great” experience you can go back next week or the next time you want a massage so you can guarantee that you will be satisfied with the massage. With a student massage there are no such guarantees.

Sometimes students are more diligent and pay more attention to your needs. “SOMETIMES”. Some professionals don’t listen and have their ‘own’ way and often that is disappointing (happens quite frequently) Hmmm? What to do? I would love a professional that is in tune, pays attention to “your’ needs and can make me float away while my body heals through their wonderful touch. BTW I have had some awesome student massages in my many years.

Depends…who is actually good at massage? Massage professional only means they are licensed, not good at massage. Some massage students have great skill, some professionals do not. So…I will go to either if they have the passion and skill to give a great massage. Unfortunately you do not know for sure until you feel their work.

I prefer to receive massage from someone who knows how to give an awesome massage, be it a student, professional or anyone else who may just have a gift! Just sayin.

I’m a student and hve been told by several clients that I’m better than a pro because the pros don’t listen to what the client needs are. To me, when I hear that, it means the pros just don’t care about the client and their needs.
A professional , more education on specific conditions and modalities which increase a range of techniques which sometimes need to be combined to deliver desired results. A student is more routine and knowledge of basics. Which is why we are required to do CEU. I feel I was an exceptional student but I often find myself using and combining different modalities in which I had no knowledge of as a student like advance deep tissue neuromuscular sports/or Thai combo. The difference in the results are non comparable.

Both- you can learn from each one

I luv getting massages from students as i remember those “student clinic” days well!!! BUT i PREFER a professional because i usually opt for a specific modality such as craniosacral, trager, bowen technique, fascial mobilization, muscle energy technique, myoskeletal alignment technique, soft tissue release and my 2 fav’s: THAI MASSAGE & WATSU!!!. . .so i usually require a professional to perform these modalities…………………but i do keep the student clinic at a local massage therapy school busy!!!

From a professional, because they know what muscles I need work on to get relief. When I go back to my massage school to be an intern’s ‘guinea pig’, I am always disappointed with the massage, simply because when you’ve had the best, amateurish massages don’t make the grade.

I believe in supporting the students, and I’m pretty understanding because my first clinic was a nightmare. I pity the first person on my table. But the last few student massages I’ve gotten were awful. And it was their third term in clinic! I wondered if they even paid attention in their first Swedish class!

It really doesnt matter to me! Massage is massage either way its still good!! I really dont judge at all, my co~therapist are all completely different styles!! Always Good:)

To me it depends. I Ave had both and some of the best and the worst ones have been for booth. Only time I have an issue with a student working on me in a clinic, is when they are just starting. One had a student tell me she just started less tan a month and hadn’t even learned the muscles yet. I couldn’t believe they allowed her to start in clinic yet without an instructors supervision.

Lmt Massage professional… my theory, you get what you pay for…

Professional… I find students trip up my nervous system and I have the shakes for the rest of the day, or they over work / under work areas. Well worth the $$$ to me to have a professional work on me or trade with another LMT.

A brilliant question to which we are not sure there is a clear cut answer. The general feeling in the office is that we are great supporters of education and everyone nees to learn. Our student experience has always been good as you can sometimes be a little more diligent when learning. However, there are also some really awesome massage therapists out there.

There is no such thing as a bad massage, some are better than others but all good. I’ll take one of each

Whoever has the most passion for their trade! Years of experience does not out weigh true passion and true passion can not be taught.

It depends. when I was a student there were some that were really good with their techniques. some were not. I have had a massage from a licensed massage therapist and did like it much better. I went to the schools clinic once to get a student massage and it was horrible. she didnt listen to what I wanted done and did her own thing. There are just parts of my body that I dont like worked on. and when I told her that she just stated that I needed the work done, and worked on the area anyway. intercostals are very sensitive and I dont like them worked on. needless to say I did say something and they talked to her about it. When I was in clinic we had LMT evals. where we had to give a massage to a licensed massage therapist. The lady I had was very nice and in her eval wrote that she almost forgot that I wasnt licensed yet. so I guess it just depends on the person.

  
I don’t care as long as I’m getting massaged!

I honestly prefer a professional, I’m too nervous to be worked on by a student. However, if I am on a really tight budget and can’t afford the extra money for the professional and I really need it, then student. But outside of having student in my class work on me, I have yet to have a student in clinic work on me since graduating.

I certainly would not try to discourage anyone from getting a student massage if you have never had one. If you regularly have massage then it is a great way to experience a different bodyworker without paying big bucks. However, for many people though, the disadvantages do outweigh the cost advantages.

By Richard Lane

What (not) to wear for a massage

If you are visiting a Sydney massage clinic (or having a mobile massage for the first time) as the therapist leaves the room to allow you to undress in private, they will invariably utter the phrase:

take off whatever you are comfortable with.

Those who have had many massages will follow this instruction without a second thought and either take everything off or leave their undies on, depending on their preference and level of comfort with the therapist.

Massage where client prefers not to take everything offFor the less massage savvy though this request does not illict an automatic response and can bring about a sense of unease. If I leave my underwear on does that mean that the therapist will think I’m a prude and not entirely comfortable in their presence? If I take everything off, will the therapist misconstrue my reasons for getting a massage?

The direct answer to these questions are a very simple “NO”. Put bluntly, your therapist simply does not care what you leave on and what you take off. They will make no judgements based on your decision. All they want is for you to be comfortable with your decision and to be able to relax and enjoy the massage.

===================
Just a couple of asides on this topic though.

Whilst massage strokes are (marginally) easier to perform if the client is not wearing anything, this is of secondary importance to your level of comfort. If you would not be relaxed if you were naked during the massage, then don’t be.

If you prefer to wear bra and knickers during a massage then your therapist will be able to modify their strokes and still provide an effective and relaxing massage. The outcome of the session will be the similar regardless of your decision and preference, so long as you make a decision that you are relaxed with. Never be pressured by a therapist to take off more than you want to (nor accept draping that exposes more of you than you would expect your therapist to see).

If you prefer to wear underwear then inexpensive and basic is best from the therapists point of view.
Ladies, if you are massaged wearing expensive knickers then there is a chance that they may get oil on them. Also, skimpy, lacy and tight undies are hard for the therapist to manoeuvre if they want to massage glutes or hips.
Guys, if you want your quads or hamstrings massaged then wearing boxers that extend three quarters of the way to the knee are a challenge.

Whilst the therapist needs to respect your boundaries, you also need to be mindful of your therapist’s boundaries. Whilst most therapists are comfortable and used to seeing with peoples bodies, a significant proportion prefer that you wear underwear (and will tell to leave your underwear on). As one of my therapists recently put it

My Table. My Rules!

This is their right. Therapists need to be careful, particularly when massaging people of the opposite gender such as male massage for females. The wearing of underwear at least affords some level of protection to the therapist that their massage intentions are not misintrepreted when working around the hips, glutes, quads and adductors.

  
I have noticed that there is a difference between the massaging in a clinic and providing mobile massage to Sydney homes. When I was working in a clinic, the vast majority of clients would choose to keep their underwear. However, in the home environment a greater proportion take everything off (or probably more accurately, choose not to put anything on if they have a shower prior to the therapist arriving).

Ultimately though whatever decision you make is really neither here or there for the therapist. Be comfortable with your decision and you will be comfortable during the massage.

By Richard Lane

Important Questions When Booking a Massage

I’ve been running Inner West Mobile Massage in Sydney since 2005 and it still astounds me that a high proportion of phone calls begin with the words

How much do you charge?

or

what are your rates?

Whilst I know that price and costs can be a huge factor in the decision making process but for me, I would want to know something about the type of massage I would be getting and, in particular, something about the skills, experience and training of the therapist who would be putting their hands on body. Yes, price may be a factor but surely though the value of the massage and service is much much more important?

I would want to explain the reasons why I would be wanting a massage such as I need a sports massage or a remedial/deep tissue massage for a sore lower back and then questions I would want to be asking are:

Is the therapist you recommend suitable for my requirements?
What is their level of training?
What is their level of experience?
How long have they worked for you?
etc

Currently we charge $100 for a one hour mobile massage in Sydney. We only use experienced and professional therapists who are registered with health funds and we believe we offer fair value compared with a massage from a therapist of equivalent experience in a clinic (particularly as we are prepared to offer an unconditional guarantee about our services).

Now, the normal response if I answer their question about prices is that the caller will say

Thanks. I’ll call you back

(not that they ever do).

I’m often tempted to ask them what they are expecting our rates to be. Are they used to paying $60 for a one hour massage in a dodgy clinic where the therapists have no formal training and the towels might have been washed last week? Many clinics in the Inner West are in the price range of $80 to $90 so we are more than competitive with them given that there are so many benefits from having a home massage.

  
But for them, $100 is too high to consider.

Now, maybe I am being a little harsh, and those who are on a limited budget may begin to ask the type of questions I would expect, if our price fell within their price range and, for them, there is no point wasting time on discussion. But I suspect that these are exception and the majority of these callers just equate value to price. The quality doesn’t matter, all they want is a cheap massage.

Sorry, unfortunately cheap massage is not our business. Great value massage is.

Massage and Back Pain
– Research Findings

There are many reasons why people book in for a mobile massage in Sydney with us. It can be purely to de-stress and wind down. It can be as a reward for working hard. It can be part of a sportsman training regime to include a regular sports massage. However, the majority of people that we see are suffering from physical discomfort and they are looking for remedial therapy to help them reduce the pain and tightness they are experiencing.

Massage for back pain reliefNeck /shoulder pain and headaches are probably the top of the list for the reason why people book in for a remedial massage and many people know that massage is a great way to deal with these problems. The next most popular reason for getting a remedial or deep tissue massage is for lower back pain and there is some good news that recent research has found that massage may very help is dealing with the pain and suffering that lower back pain can cause.

When suffering from lower back pain many people seek out medications from their doctor to treat the pain. Others try exercise regimes from physiotherapist. However, a significant proportion of experiencing and secondly as a form of preventative maintenance once they are relatively pain-free. Researchers set out to ascertain whether massage compared favourably against usual medical intervention for treating lower back pain.

In the study (1), carried out by researchers from the Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, Washington, the study participants were randomly assigned to receive either a relaxation massage, a structural (remedial/deep tissue) massage or usual medical care without massage. Their symptoms had been assessed and also recorded was the impact of the back pain on their daily life.

Those in the massage groups had a one hour session weekly for 10 weeks.

The symptoms of those in the study were recorded after completing the massage program, at six months and finally a year after they initially began the massage.

The results obtained were encouraging for the massage industry. After the 10 week assessment, the researchers found that those who had received massage had lower levels of pain and they were able to perform daily tasks better than those who had only received the usual medical care. These results were similar regardless of which type of massage they received, be it relaxation or structural.

Whilst the benefits did not remain after one year, there was still a significant difference with the results obtained after 6 months and so it may be reasonable to conclude that massage can be an effective treatment for those who are suffering from lower back pain.

(1) Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Kahn J, Wellman R, Cook AJ, Johnson E, Erro J, Delaney K, Deyo RA. “A comparison of the effects of 2 types of massage and usual care on chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled trial.” Ann Intern Med. 2011 Jul 5;155(1):1-9.

By Richard Lane

Why I Enjoy Doing Mobile Massage

Being a mobile massage therapist is not for everyone. It is relatively easy to come up with a list of the disadvantages and problems associated with mobile massage therapy. These include:
– Having to work out of business hours, often late into the night
– Trying to find a carparking space close enough to the house or unit where you will be working
– Carrying heavy massage table/towels/equipment around often up multiple flights of stairs
– Working in isolation from other therapists/professionals
– Never quite knowing what type of premises you will be massaging in and how easy it will be to set up your table. Will there be enough room? Will it be cold or hot? Will it be noisy? Will there be other people around?
– Are there are personal security risks (particularly relevant for female massage therapists)

Yet despite these negative factors, I have been a mobile massage therapist in Sydney for over 7 years and still enjoy and prefer plying my trade in this way compared with being in a clinic.

So what are the advantages that outweigh the negative?

Advantages of Mobile MassageThere are a number of reasons why I prefer providing a mobile massage service in Sydney compared with working in a clinic. Some of these relate to advantages to the client; some relate to advantages to me.

For many people who are working full time or are constrained as to when they can get to see a massage therapist then there are significant advantages of having a home massage in Sydney. These benefits are covered at http://www.innerwestmassage.com.au/benefits.php.

Whilst there is a great deal of job satisfaction with being able to provide such a service, an additional benefit that I often feel is that there is more synergy with a home massage. The fact that someone is prepared to let a stranger into their home, then take off their clothes and permit this stranger to rub oil into their body provides a powerful message from the client to the therapist that there is trust. This element of trust is greater than in a clinic which can be, well, clinical.

Mobile massage clients are nice people to work with.

This is not to say that clients in clinics are not nice to work with but, for me, seeing people in their home provides that greater level of personal trust and permission to provide bodywork.

From my point of view as a mobile therapist the advantages include:
– no overheads. If you are paying rent at a clinic then there is a requirement to make sure that there is someone on your table as much as possible. No client means no money coming in to cover the money coming out. Whilst it is true that no body on the table for a mobile therapist means no money coming in, at least there is no money going out.
– I choose my hours. Yes I work what some may consider to be anti-social hours, late into the evening and weekends. But this suits me and my lifestyle at the moment. Being in a clinic and needing to be available at specific times is a constraint.
– physical demands are less. Although I have to lug my gear around, the physical demands on the body are less than if I was doing back to back to back… massages in a clinic. When I am providing mobile massage service then I am able to get a break when I am travelling between locations.
– you get to work in different and interesting locations. Not all massages are in homes. I’ve massaged in garages, outside, in theatres, on film-sets, hotels rooms of varying standards, etc.
– providing couples massage with another therapist is a pleasant experience.

  
I can’t say that I will be a mobile therapist indefinitely but I have been for the past years and have no yearning to go back into a clinic. I enjoy massage and I enjoy massaging clients in their homes.

By Richard Lane

3 hour massage offer

Please Note: This offer is no longer available – if you are interested in receiving a 3 hour massage then please call and we can discuss price/time etc.

Recently there was an online discussion about the merits or otherwise of giving and receiving a three hour massage. This as a result of someone getting rave reviews for three + hour massages that he was providing to his clients.

Whilst I have provided lengthy massages when I was based in a clinic, I have never given a 3 hour massage as a mobile massage and would be interested in trying to some to see
(a) if there is a demand for such experiences and
(b) whether I’m physically up to it!

So as a marketing exercise I would like to offer a couple of 3 hour massages for the price of 90 minutes hour (ie $130 which would also be covered under health funds if you could claim for remedial massage).

(now for the small print)
This offer is:
– made by Richard Lane and the 3 hour massage offer is not available for any other therapist who work with Inner West Mobile Massage.
– 3 hour massages are only available Monday to Friday during business hours. This offer is not available for evening/weekend appointments.
– suitable for someone who has deep tissue/remedial or sports massage on a (semi) regular basis. If you have not had a massage in a while then it is possible that a 3 hour session may be a little too strenous for the body. Also please be conscious of any massage contraindications that may impact on the suitability of receiving an extended massage (eg pregnancy, specific injuries or conditions, etc)
– initially available for one male and one female client who respond according to the instructions below (will add in the comment as and when booking is made with a male or female client).
– available for locations within the map below.


View 3 hour massage offer region in a larger map

If you wish to book a 3 hour massage or would like any more information then either send an email to richard@innerwestmassage.com.au with your location, contact details and times that may be suitable. As this is an offer with Richard Lane directly then we ask that you do not phone the Inner West Mobile Massage number directly.

Please Note: This offer is no longer available – if you are interested in receiving a 3 hour massage then please call and we can discuss price/time etc.

By Richard Lane

Sports Massage Does Work!

In recent years there seems to be have a move towards more evidence based practise for a range of practitioners. This is not a bad thing for the massage industry as many of the more spurious claims that are made can be challenged and dismissed. However, one of the problems that massage faces is that there is a dearth of quality research available.

There are a number of reasons why this is the case which include a lack of money when compared with the amount of funds available for pharmaceutical trials and also a fundamental problem with much of the research in the natural therapies domain in that designing standard treatment protocols is extremely difficult when most therapists’ practice is based on tailoring a treatment to an individual client’s needs at the time.

A 2012 study into the benefits of sports massage has attempted to redress the issue of quality massage research with findings that are encouraging for the industry.

Sports massage SydneyAfter a water skiing injury a researcher at McMaster University, Canada, Mark Tarnopolsky, found that massage therapy provided a significant amount of pain relief and he decided that he wanted to understand the underlying mechanism whereby massage aided his recovery.

Along with some colleagues, Tarnolpolsky decided to investigate why massage can reduce pain and the results (for massage therapists and for sports people) were encouraging (1).

For the study, 11 males were exercised to such an extent that they were affected by exercise-induced muscle damage after working out on an upright bicycle. One of their legs was then massaged for 10 minutes. The researchers took muscle biopsy samples from the participants’ vastus lateralis muscles at various times:
– at baseline
– immediately after the massage
– after 2.5 hours of recovery.

The results were extremely encouraging. There is strong support for the hypothesis that exercise can activate the genes which are associated with repair and inflammation and it was no surprise that the researchers observed there was significantly more indicators of cell repair and also inflammation in the biopsy samples post-exercise when compared with the pre-exercise measurements.

However, there was a clear distinction between the study participants’ legs that had been massaged and had not been.

They found that the legs which had received the 10 minutes of sports massage had:
– reduced the amount of exercise induced muscle inflammation by diminishing the activity of a protein, NF-kB
– increased by about 30% a gene that helps muscle cells build mitochondria, PGC-1
– modified levels of other proteins with similar roles in the body.

  
Although this is only one study and the massage protocol may not be relevant for all sports people, it does provide evidence supporting the use of massage therapy to reduce pain and encourage muscle repair. Further work would need to be carried out to assess the optimum pressure, length of massage and the commencement time after exercise.

But there are few who would argue that getting a massage to reduce pain from sport is a preferable alternative to anti-inflammatory medications.

(1) J. D. Crane, D. I Ogborn et al “Massage Therapy Attenuates Inflammatory Signalling After Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage”. Science Translational Medicine 4, 119ra13 (2012).

By Richard Lane

What Suburbs Do We Visit?

Although we would like to cover as large as area as possible, the practicalities of providing mobile massage in Sydney means that we do have to limit what suburbs we do and do not visit. Our company name, Inner west mobile massage, gives a good indication of our service area.

However, the definition of what is and what is not the Inner West is a matter of conjecture. For our purposes we define the area covering from the city as far West as Homebush, south as far as Bexley, mainly on the south side of the Parramatta River (although we will go to suburbs such as Gladesville and Hunters Hill).

A map of our service area is shown below.


View Inner West Mobile Massage Sydney in a larger map

It should be noted that not all therapists will be available for all suburbs which are at the boundary of the area that we cover. If you live in a particular suburb and want a specific therapist then we will endeavour to make that happen but, because of distance and logistics, we cannot guarantee this.

We are often asked to provide service outside of our area. It may seem plausible that if we go to suburb “X” then we will go to the next suburb “Y” as it will only be another “5 minutes”, particularly if we add on a small travel surcharge say of $10 for the extra time/cost for the therapist.

Unfortunately the issue of travel surcharge is not as straightforward as adding the travel time from “X” to “Y”.
Our fee is based on an average travel cost for providing massages in the area we service. As it is impractical to vary the rate on a suburb by suburb basis then the upshot is that some suburbs are easier and cheaper for a therapist to get to, others are longer and effectively more expensive.

These are not actual figures but just shown for demonstration purposes. If our average cost of travel to an appointment is $30 then an “easy” location may only cost a therapist $10 in travel costs and time whereas suburb “X” on the fringe effectively costs $50. Going to suburb “Y” may have a true travel cost of $60.

So whilst we only charge a travel fee of $30 to go to “X” as part of our service area, we would need to charge $60 to go to “Y”. As this difference $30 for neighbouring suburbs may appear to be excessive, then, as a business we have taken the decision it is easier not to go outside of our area rather than have to try to justify a large surcharge for travel.

Having said that then if you do live outside of our area then by all means feel free to give us a call as individual therapists may be available for particular suburbs depending on their own circumstances (for example if they live at the fringe of our area then for them travelling a little outside is an option). It is just that we as a business do not guarantee that we can provide a suitable therapist.

Is it you who does the massage?

It is hard to succeed as a male massage therapist in Sydney. The demand for massages from males is significantly less than it is for females even for the best male massage therapists.

Men prefer to book massages from females and a reason often given is that they are “uncomfortable” being touched by another man. Male massage for women in Sydney is also less common, more because of a cross-gender touch considerations (although having said that, the majority of the clients I see are female). Men are uncomfortable with a male massage therapist providing bodywork to their wife, for example, even though the majority of my clients are females (and some men specifically book a guy to massage their wife).

male massage therapist given female sports massage

Whilst the demand for massage from masseurs is less than for masseuses that does not mean that it is impossible for a male to succeed. If you search clinics and for mobile massage in Sydney, then it is immediately apparent that there is an abundant supply of men providing remedial and therapeutic massage so there must be some demand there.

I have been working as therapist in Sydney for a few years now and, although I have and still regularly face the bias against male massage therapists, I have survived long enough to carve out a career. Once you realise that you have to target people who are more concerned with the quality of the massage rather than the gender of the therapist (or those who are specifically after a male massage therapist) then you have a chance.

If you imagine that you will be working in a swanky Sydney day spa giving relaxing massages to the beautiful people then you will be in for disappointment. People who are after a sports, deep tissue and remedial massage will much more likely be your customers.

Having said that I understand the favouritism that exists towards, I still bristle and take umbrage when someone rings up our mobile massage business and asks

“Is it you who does the massage?

There is no preamble, there are no niceties. There is no “Hi, my name is …. and do you mind me asking is it you who does the massage?” Instead they just immediately fire away with the question as their opening salvo.

I don’t know why it bothers me and annoys me but it does.

Maybe they are not expecting a male to answer their call and they struggle to find a polite way of asking the question they are really asking which is

  

Can I book a massage with a female?

I really do not have a problem with someone wishing to book a massage and their preference is to see a female. I’m a big boy, I wear big boy pants. I accept that is the way of the massage world. I have been providing massage in Sydney for long enough.

But

“Is it you who does the massage?

bugs me.

However, if you do specifically prefer to receive bodywork from a male massage therapist then please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0421 410057.

By Richard Lane


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