Has anyone experience with rude, pervert, crazy clients while you're giving a massage?

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Comments (26)

Lori lmt in Dayton, Ohio

61 months ago

If your thinking that you would be repulsed by smelly, hairy men or people with zitty backs this may not be the proffesion for you. That said, whenever I come across a client thats hairier or smellier than usual, It doesn't really bother me so long as I'm using enough massage lotion. It seems to act as a barrier between their body and my hands I guess.
As for alone in a dark room, I don't let my rooms get that dark. You need it dim enough to be relaxing, but light enough to see any abnormal skin conditions. And this may sound weird, but I don't look at it as being alone with them for an hour. I'm alone with their arm, or neck, or back, or whatever body part I happen to be working on at the moment.

As for the rude clients, chances are is they don't come back. And the perverts? Draw a very firm no nonsense line with them and end the massage if any behavior or comments continue. If they call back tell them you don't think you provide what they're looking for and refuse to schedule them. You have to be able to assert yourself to some extent in this industry. I've had several interviews where they pretty much wanted a free massage to act as the interview and I refuse. If they want to pay for a massage before hiring me, fine, but I'm not that desperate for a job that I'll give it away. And you have to wonder how many free massages this person ends up with that way.

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Natalie McIntosh in Middletown, Ohio

61 months ago

[QUOTE who= I've had several interviews where they pretty much wanted a free massage to act as the interview and I refuse. If they want to pay for a massage before hiring me, fine, but I'm not that desperate for a job that I'll give it away. And you have to wonder how many free massages this person ends up with that way.

I couldn't agree more!

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pinkladybug in Louisville, Kentucky

61 months ago

Oh, Thanks you guys so much!

So, you mean that I have a choice to leave a room if the client is looking for something else that I don't provide, right? I agree that massage shouldn't be something to give away for free. It's a very hard work. I even saw massage therapist sweat after the session over too.

Is there a place or opportunity to work at a place that I can massage only women not men? I know the question sounds silly. I really don't want to massage men though. Is there such a law to prevent me not getting a job?

Thank you so much again!

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Lori lmt in Oxford, Ohio

61 months ago

Absolutely you can leave the room if someone is acting inappropriately!

There are alot of female therapists that don't want to work with male clients, I'm unsure as to what the right course is for this personally. Chances are you will have males in your class that you need to practice on. We had two guys in my class but only one made it all the way through. The poor guys working in the industry have an interesting dilemma as some people prefer male therapists as they give deeper pressure and some women don't want male therapists.

A possible solution I can think of would be to specialize in prenatal massage only. No males come in for that one, I guarantee it! There are also branches where you can specialize in working with victims of abuse. We had to do 15 hours of outsource massage (basically charity work) in my school and there were several rape clinics on the list and they only wanted female therapists.

There are also several modalities where the client keeps their clothes on if thats part of what bothers you. Thai yoga is done on a mat on the floor with clothes on(its like assistive stretching), and chair massage is usually done in a fairly public place with no removal of clothing required.

But if your that opposed to working on men I would really think it over before you get into this field. You have to market yourself pretty aggressively to get people in the door in most cases and your cutting out alot of potiental clients by not working on men. Theres nothing legally wrong with saying you work on females only, and you wouldn't be the first.

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Massage Oasis in Marietta, Georgia

61 months ago

Hiou , first off there are people who do not respect any field and it is upon the professional to make the clients understand. One thing for sure is there is a difference between a massuese and a massage therapist. A massage therapist is a professionally trained person and a massuese is a person who is not along with the fact that they offer sexual extras along with or maybe even exclluding a true massage. I would have to say that I am what others consider fairly attractive and I do not let those people and advances get to me. I will refuse a client in a HOT MINUTE. Another thing is that you ask your client, is this their first professional massage, how did the 1st one feel, what areas are stressed, is this for relaxation purposes or are there some aches and pains? You can tell by the answer to questions if you want to deal with that person. Also you can take their name/number and google it. Also try genbooks.com as a way of tracking your customers.
You have to take control!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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George Borg in Warren, Michigan

60 months ago

Massage Oasis in Marietta, Georgia said: Hiou , first off there are people who do not respect any field and it is upon the professional to make the clients understand. One thing for sure is there is a difference between a massuese and a massage therapist. A massage therapist is a professionally trained person and a massuese is a person who is not along with the fact that they offer sexual extras along with or maybe even exclluding a true massage. I would have to say that I am what others consider fairly attractive and I do not let those people and advances get to me. I will refuse a client in a HOT MINUTE. Another thing is that you ask your client, is this their first professional massage, how did the 1st one feel, what areas are stressed, is this for relaxation purposes or are there some aches and pains? You can tell by the answer to questions if you want to deal with that person. Also you can take their name/number and google it. Also try genbooks.com as a way of tracking your customers.
You have to take control!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I guess I've just learned something. I never knew that there was a difference between a massage therapist and a masseuse, I just thought that last word was the French version. If the person is offering sexual favors and Happy Endings, then that's a prostitute, period.
I do agree that you need to take control. Make sure that the client understands that its a therapeutic massage, and what that includes. I get the person's name, phone number and address (I do out call massages only). If the client keeps inquiring about what I wear, etc, then I just tell them that I'm sorry, but I don't think I can provide the services they're looking for, the end.

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Jennifer in Long Island City, New York

57 months ago

Hi,
I am a massage therapist working in new york. I am legally allowed to work out of my apt since it is on the first floor. I do like the advice that was given over starting the patient on the front and then having them lie prone covered of course. My issue is that I start the session the other way. When I am finished with the massage I indicate to the client that he/or she can get dressed. I only have a studio so the best I do regarding leaving the room is to stand inside the bathroom. A lot of times they don't start dressing so I step out of the bathroom and peek to see that they are still on the table. I walk over and tell them that they have to get dressed. They may comment:"oh that's it?" Or "so you don't give extras?" What is infuriating is that I stated that it was therapeutic before I even started the session. When I remind them of that some have responded:" I know but...." meaning they are feeling horny and they think their problem has to be problem. And I can't leave the room. I mean what am I supposed to do stand outside my apartment? I'm also worried about a nasty verbal attack from them. People have been sweet on the phone sweet during most of the session can flip in a flash. I'm relatively attractive which is irrelevant but a lot of clients ask me on the phone how I look? I wish that my massage school had been honest about the problematic beauty angle that is involved.

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PBR in Vancouver, Washington

57 months ago

olga1107 in Bronx, New York said: It's very kind of all you who responded the above questions. I think it's a joke.
If you were truly interested you would choose a massage school and attend their open house. They will answer all of your questions and will determine if you actual qualify to be a massage therapist. Clients don't deserve crazy massage therapist either!

Wow, you are so wrong. What would possibly be the massage school's motivation for being honest about questions like that? Many schools lie to get your money and could not care less if you are fit for the job or not.

Some schools in New York may be different because NY requires far more education than other states. I have never heard of a single 500 hour school that even addresses the issue. Mine didn't.

It's a very good question, pinklady. Thank you for asking it.

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PBR in Vancouver, Washington

57 months ago

I was wrong. At least one school in New York didn't instruct their students how to handle perverted clients, according to Jennifer in Long Island. So much for relying on schools to inform potential massage professionals about this sticky issue. Good thing pinkladybug asked us on this forum!

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olga1107 in New York, New York

57 months ago

I'm glad that I attended the Swedish Institute
where ethics are mandatory. Every possible scenario
is covered. But as a professional you have the
opportunity to improve all aspects of your profession.
There are CEUs classes on ethics and behavior. So it's up
to you to be informed.

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PBR in Vancouver, Washington

57 months ago

olga1107 in New York, New York said: I'm glad that I attended the Swedish Institute where ethics are mandatory. Every possible scenario is covered. But as a professional you have the opportunity to improve all aspects of your profession.
There are CEUs classes on ethics and behavior. So it's up to you to be informed.

I agree! Massage therapists have a responsibility to be informed. Pinkladybug is doing exactly what you recommend by asking the question on an open forum. She not a massage therapist and has no reason to take CEU classes on ethics or behavior. She is informing herself of the issue before she even attends school. Good for her! She is exhibiting quite rational, sane behavior don't you think? I hear the Swedish Institute is fantastic.

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Miss Didi in Los Angeles, California

54 months ago

Hi, this is for Jennifer: I'm a practioner in LA, I begin my sessions face down and end face up as well (primarily because backwork is intense for many people and facial accupressure is so relaxing; best to be invigorate AND relaxed, in that order, right?).

I've never heard the 1st floor legality, it's interesting!

I frequently do 'in-home' massages, and in 8 years have only twice had problems. One of my screeners is the exact question you mentioned: looks. If they ask me for a photo in email or to describe my looks on the phone, I politely, FIRMLY tell them that they will be face down and won't see me anyway, and mention that they may looking for a non-therapeutic massage, and I'm not offended but don't offer that at all. As for the studio part, 1) I thank each client when I'm done (a simple quiet Thank You) to make it clear (if they have their eyes closed, they may not know if you are moving to another section of the body). I then let them know 'I'll step out of the room while you get dressed. Feel free to lie there for a moment before getting clothed'. On the rare occasions that I've had people be rude, I use the 'mom voice" ! :) I'm young, but we've all got that no-nonsense voice, right? heehee..

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dommie1025 in Dover Plains, New York

54 months ago

For the record, I went to the Swedish Institute as well, where they go into great detail about how to handle these situations. I actually had no idea that other schools across the country don't do this. That's so ridiculous! But, I agree that you should contact the school(s) you are interested in and speak with them about a tour/orientation.

P.S. I used to wonder before applying to massage school about touching hairy, sweaty backs...I got over myself...

As for your friend only getting paid $15 an hour...I'd say that's fairly low, BUT that's only compared to the fact that most places pay 30-50% commission of the fee of the service you provide. HOWEVER, this could also mean that if there's no client, you don't make any money. Unfortunately, this happens to me a lot, especially in an economy like our present one. No one is exactly RUSHING to get massages, since people still, sad to say, think it's "just a luxury." So, basically your friend may have it much better than a lot of people if she's getting paid by the hour, not per client, depending on how busy she really is each day.

Hope that helps! And I can honestly say that becoming a Massage Therapist was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life and opened my mind to SO many other wonderful ideas.

GOOD LUCK!

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seattle in Seattle, Washington

41 months ago

Lori lmt in Oxford, Ohio said: Absolutely you can leave the room if someone is acting inappropriately!

There are alot of female therapists that don't want to work with male clients, I'm unsure as to what the right course is for this personally. Chances are you will have males in your class that you need to practice on. We had two guys in my class but only one made it all the way through. The poor guys working in the industry have an interesting dilemma as some people prefer male therapists as they give deeper pressure and some women don't want male therapists.

A possible solution I can think of would be to specialize in prenatal massage only. No males come in for that one, I guarantee it! There are also branches where you can specialize in working with victims of abuse. We had to do 15 hours of outsource massage (basically charity work) in my school and there were several rape clinics on the list and they only wanted female therapists.

There are also several modalities where the client keeps their clothes on if thats part of what bothers you. Thai yoga is done on a mat on the floor with clothes on(its like assistive stretching), and chair massage is usually done in a fairly public place with no removal of clothing required.

But if your that opposed to working on men I would really think it over before you get into this field. You have to market yourself pretty aggressively to get people in the door in most cases and your cutting out alot of potiental clients by not working on men. Theres nothing legally wrong with saying you work on females only, and you wouldn't be the first.

If you do not want to massage men, work at an all women spa. We have several in the Seattle area, and some that have designated days for women and men only.

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joe in Cincinnati, Ohio

35 months ago

When you take the job simply tell them you only work on women. If they want you to work there they will respect you.
do to injuries i can only work on 2 men 4 women. They tried to alter it and i just said no. In this field you have to stick to your beliefs. trust your instinks .no means no. that goes for clients and bosses. good luck.stand up for yourself.

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lake122 in Fair Oaks, California

35 months ago

Very interesting topic here, kinda depressing actually. I am a nice, decent, respectful guy who tips my massage therapist very well for a job well done. The worst thing I ever did during a massage was snore.

But I have a horrible, dark, evil secret. Are you ready to hear it? I have a hairy back. I know, I am a guy and I have a hairy back!! So I suppose I do not deserve a massage, right? My money is not as good as a 100 pound hairless woman, right?

I think someone said it above, if you are afraid to massage men, why are you becoming a massage therapist? Why not say you will not treat Blacks or Hispanics?

Sorry to vent, but this thread touched a nerve.

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Kate in Houston, Texas

35 months ago

Nina in Portland, Oregon said: Good questions. Yes, you are free to leave the room if asked for services you don't want to do. An employer may tell you to go back inside, that happened to me before. I'm not sure about the law. You can choose to massage whoever you want but you might get flack about the male issue. If you're really worried about it the best thing to do is work for yourself and pick your own clients. It is very hard work and you deserve to be comfortable in every situation.

Wow. What employer would order you to return to a potentially dangerous situation where you could be harrassed or worse? I would have quit right then and there, and complained to the state.

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Kate in Houston, Texas

35 months ago

pinkladybug in Louisville, Kentucky said: I'm still considering it and finding more information about becoming a massage therapist. I really appreciate your thoughts and input you have given to me here.

Today, I got to talk to one of my friends who is a massage therapist here in Louisville. She's working at the high end salon and spa. She said that they pay her hourly and it's $15 like ME. She can't take any tips. She has to give complimentary neck and shoulders massage to the clients at shampoo bowl or at the lobby too and etc. Is it fair? From what I've heard (read) here, $15 an hour is a bit low but good for the new therapists. I thought that working in a high end place would make more money (not mean to get rich but be able to pay the bills). Working as a massage therapist is a very hard work, right? On the other side I think it might be a fair rate since my friend is still working there. :) Any thoughts on this? Thank you so much again.


$15 an hour would be considered minimum wage for a therapist here. And no tips?? Are you kidding me? Tips are where you make your money. Tips turn $15 an hour to $30 an hour or more. A waitress can earn more than $15 an hour with tips -without paying for school, first.
I would definately make sure before beginning to work in a place that I will be recieving my tip money. Tips feed you and pay your car note.

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Ace in Brisbane, Australia

34 months ago

lake122 in Fair Oaks, California said: Very interesting topic here, kinda depressing actually. I am a nice, decent, respectful guy who tips my massage therapist very well for a job well done. The worst thing I ever did during a massage was snore.

But I have a horrible, dark, evil secret. Are you ready to hear it? I have a hairy back. I know, I am a guy and I have a hairy back!! So I suppose I do not deserve a massage, right? My money is not as good as a 100 pound hairless woman, right?

I think someone said it above, if you are afraid to massage men, why are you becoming a massage therapist? Why not say you will not treat Blacks or Hispanics?

Sorry to vent, but this thread touched a nerve.

I am a Remedial Massage Therapist and a guy with my own RM business, no you don't have to put up with any crap from anybody,but it takes a special kind of person to do massage,you must think about your client no matter what shape or color or sex.My self i would not employ a therapist that wouldn't work on anybody,learn to look into the person not at them.

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Sitabodang in Austin, Texas

34 months ago

First of all, who says you have to work in the dark? I'm happy to make the lights dim or use mood lighting but personally, working in the dark makes to hard to find things and it can convey the wrong message. Most people want to have a relaxing environment but if it's dark, how are you going to see? As far as smelly, hairy or frisky clients go, it happens but not too often fortunately. You get that guy once in a while who's so hairy that you know you're going to use an entire bottle of oil but that's the way it goes. As far as smelly, I've found more women to have bad body odor but that's probably due to a bad diet. Both men and women can act inappropriately on the massage table. The most important thing you can do for this is to stay in control by not getting upset. It's like the parent that yells at their child, the one yelling is not in control of the situation. Hope this is helpful in your search. For more helpful advice for massage professionals please visit greatmassagetips.com/

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JMz in Tampa, Florida

28 months ago

I currently live in FL. I went to a massage school in Delaware and they went into DETAIL about ALL different types of scenarios that a LMT can encounter out in the field. They also explained that it doesn't matter what you look like because most people have a preconceived notion about the massage industry and it is up to us as PROFESSIONALS to educate them. To assume that majority of the schools are NOT teaching ethics (like there are supposed to) is wrong. The school I attended in DE was 900 hrs and a good 100 hrs was about Professional Ethics and Boundaries. Also, ethics CEUs must be taken to renew the license.

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Kjh in Ridgewood, New York

12 months ago

I have experienced abusive clients who crossed a line during the massage. One male client wanted me to massage only adductors because of his erectile disfunction. I worked on him for a while and than left the room and refused to continue, because it didn't feel appropriate. The sad thing is that other massage therapists knew this guy and wanted me to take this client without telling me about him. I complained to the receptionist but she didn't care and just laught about the whole situation.
I was so angry, but helpless, cause there was nobody to complain to in the spa. There were few different sutuations and I feel like being a victim of it. It happened few years ago, but I still can't recover from it and feel like report abuse or sue the place. Not sure what can be done about it. I will appreciate any advice.

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happy gilmore in Alexandria, Virginia

9 months ago

Miss Didi in Los Angeles, California said: Hi, this is for Jennifer: I'm a practioner in LA, I begin my sessions face down and end face up as well (primarily because backwork is intense for many people and facial accupressure is so relaxing; best to be invigorate AND relaxed, in that order, right?).

I've never heard the 1st floor legality, it's interesting!

I frequently do 'in-home' massages, and in 8 years have only twice had problems. One of my screeners is the exact question you mentioned: looks. If they ask me for a photo in email or to describe my looks on the phone, I politely, FIRMLY tell them that they will be face down and won't see me anyway, and mention that they may looking for a non-therapeutic massage, and I'm not offended but don't offer that at all. As for the studio part, 1) I thank each client when I'm done (a simple quiet Thank You) to make it clear (if they have their eyes closed, they may not know if you are moving to another section of the body). I then let them know 'I'll step out of the room while you get dressed. Feel free to lie there for a moment before getting clothed'. On the rare occasions that I've had people be rude, I use the 'mom voice" ! :) I'm young, but we've all got that no-nonsense voice, right? heehee..

I've had a man stay behind and whack himself off after I walked out of the room!! I was wondering what was taking so long and that was WHY. Jeez. Women don't do that. What's wrong with men?

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happy gilmore in Alexandria, Virginia

9 months ago

Ace in Brisbane, Australia said: I am a Remedial Massage Therapist and a guy with my own RM business , no you don't have to put up with any crap from anybody,but it takes a special kind of person to do massage,you must think about your client no matter what shape or color or sex.My self i would not employ a therapist that wouldn't work on anybody,learn to look into the person not at them.

I don't care about hairy men at all. What I DO care about is smelly butts. It's like a lot of men don't wash their crack at all. Heat rises...along with the stench. Ugh.

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happy gilmore in Alexandria, Virginia

9 months ago

Kate in Houston, Texas said: $15 an hour would be considered minimum wage for a therapist here. And no tips?? Are you kidding me? Tips are where you make your money. Tips turn $15 an hour to $30 an hour or more. A waitress can earn more than $15 an hour with tips -without paying for school, first.
I would definately make sure before beginning to work in a place that I will be recieving my tip money. Tips feed you and pay your car note.

She needs to go into business for herself. Seriously. That's highway robbery.

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happy gilmore in Alexandria, Virginia

9 months ago

Kate in Houston, Texas said: Wow. What employer would order you to return to a potentially dangerous situation where you could be harrassed or worse? I would have quit right then and there, and complained to the state.

That's illegal for an employer to do that. However, a lawsuit takes years and years, so that's essentially pointless. It's easier to kick someone in the groin, flip off your boss, and open your own business.

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