I begin this discussion by addressing the male guests first, as they appear to have, in my opinion, a more obvious reaction fitting the summary. To them I suggest pretending that the spa visit/massage is like a first date that you don't want to go through “uncomfortably”. To prevent your gun from discharging, try arriving with a virtually unloaded gun and an open, clean mind. Men already know that this is no “guarantee” but it helps prevent an unintended situation. You can't really relax with a “loaded gun” can you? It does not matter whether you think your therapist is attractive or not, whether you have a same-sex therapist and you are completely heterosexual or not, whether you have the opposite scenario, or whether there are any obvious indication of the therapist's sexual orientation. The parasympathetic brain will respond however it does in that moment and without your or your therapist's fault.
The parasympathetic or involuntary response you have to your therapist's touch can be scary, exciting, embarrassing, or frightening depending on you, your therapist, your view and understanding of massage, its benefits and the intent, skills and qualifications of the therapist. If your therapist is a professional, he/she is well aware of this involuntary stimulation when you are being massaged. Most of us don't “freak out” when our client gets a hard on, although that was not the intent of our massage technique. I often say (when asked, and yes I have been asked countless times… LOL) that I expect it to happen. Why? Well, we are alive, sexual beings who respond to touch and external stimuli. You are being touched, hopefully lovingly, even if we're working on a knot, and even if sex is not on your or our minds, which hopefully is the case in your legal and professional setting. An erection, in the “involuntary brain” is the same as digestion. You can't control the stomach noises when you are hungry nor when your therapist works on some “trigger areas”. So, we are gonna hear “stomach noises” even if you ate and/or already went to the bathroom; and equally, you are gonna feel stimulated possibly leading to an erection, sometimes even if “the gun was/is empty”. Hence, DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT. DON'T FREAK OUT. DON'T TRY TO HIDE (which you can't unless you are prone or you took precautions when you turned over (supine), to position this muscle where your therapist is less likely to see it), AND MOST OF ALL, PLEASE, DON'T REACH FOR IT OR REQUEST THAT WE REACH FOR IT.
At least in my practice, it's not that kind of place; and actually, that is illegal in so many ways! Don't draw our attention to it, whether you are being “funny” or not. I make note here also, that there may be the urge to grab at the therapist. You may need to pretend it's that stripper at the club dancing on your lap but you can't touch, or you get thrown out and still have to pay! Whoa, what an analogy! (giggles) Yes, please resist this urge, unless your therapist is your lover, etc., outside of the establishment. Sometimes, even if that is the case, please resist and don't compromise the establishment's business and change the flow of energy in your massage session. Someone will know! In this case, please “be selfish” and feel grateful that things inside you still work the way they should and mentally thank the therapist for reminding you of this. The work has been great and honorable in “unblocking” that channel for blood flow.
What is my wish for my honored client on my table? Do you have a choice if something happens in session that disturbs you? What else can you do to improve the relationship with your therapist and the establishment at which you receive service?
My direction at the beginning of every session is that: “If at any time anything feels uncomfortable, please let me know.” This could be any “uncomfortable” feeling. Maybe I need to stop moving my hands that way or go work somewhere else for a bit then return if I sense my “mission in that area was not accomplished or was delayed”. Please speak up! I don't know what you are feeling when I do what I do. I just know that my hands convey love, my intuition indicated there was a need in that area and my energy went there in response to yours, so as to provide therapy. Sometimes your body asks for more pressure when you can't handle it. Sometimes you have “emotional breaks” causing my hands to work fast or slow or go directly to that spot that has been bugging you. This is “energy movement”, which I am usually very connected to and which is not always understood. This type of “intuition” cannot be taught. You nor I don't always know why I went directly to that spot, but it brings relief you have been begging for all week and that's all that really matters. PLEASE KNOW THAT IF MY TREATMENT CAUSED YOU TO BE AROUSED, THAT THIS WAS NOT MY INTENTION AND HONESTLY, I WOULD BE MORTIFIED IF I KNEW YOU TOOK IT THAT WAY.
Sometimes clients don't want to go back to that therapist, although, other than the “arousal embarrassment”, everything was great and they felt relief from the massage. Maybe the massage triggered feelings that were strong and overwhelming for you… Sometimes so for the therapist too, who must maintain professionalism and deal with this “self-care” later. If you understand parasympathetic stimulation in massage, you will understand the difference between when you are being touched for sexual pleasure and when you are not. If when you involuntarily moan, your therapist responded and started to coach you to give more, then it's time to stop the session. The lines have been crossed into a different direction, as your therapist did not need to respond while in session and feed that channel.
I have massaged people who transferred so much “energy” during the session, that at the end, I wanted to cry (in sadness, joy, or for no known reason), was confused, light and loving like a child, light and empty (as if sucked by an energy vampire), angry without knowing why, motherly, godlike or “queenly”, sometimes extremely shy (my natural nature, which you wouldn't believe if you met me) like a little girl with her eyes affixed to her shoes as we part ways. All of this happen, even though I am very in tune with my own body and its needs during the session and have openly breathed my way through, thus allowing for the “exit of all energies” through to the universe. Some things will still get stuck to “the conduit,” much as some of my energy will get stuck to you too. When you part from your sessions, do you feel a healthy, peaceful, loving, grateful connection to your therapist, for the work, how you feel and how your therapist respectfully handled you? If it was almost like a spiritual dance, then you are connected to the true self of that person even with the universal overtones. Much the same, a client or two may have come in with a headache or a cold and by the end of my day, it manifests in me. It is my responsibility to do self-care at the end of each day and while away from my work so as to be fresh, grounded and stronger for the next day of massaging and attending to clients' needs.
Some female clients prefer having a female therapist, and likewise, some male therapists prefer female therapists. This is a personal choice. Personally, I am very reluctant to accept massages from male therapists, based on my own experiences with some. However in either scenario, parasympathetic stimulation must happen unless you are dead. I know, and as long as I am not expected “to perform” at any point before or after the massage session, I am o.k. with being aroused…as long as it was involuntary and not the intent of the therapist. If you don't know the difference and something feels weird, ask your therapist why they touched you there, and listen for a therapeutic answer. Don't assume anything. Sometimes we know what we are doing feels good. We equally like our feet or our backs rubbed that way. We also know the anatomy and what channels are being stimulated and what therapeutically is happening with the body when we touch that spot. So, we might linger there for a bit, sometimes not enough for some, sometimes too much. However, we are going (well at least I am) from my intuition and focus on what “your energy” (your body) says it needs, and not with purposeful sexual stimulation in mind.
Maybe you are not stimulated sexually! Maybe you are in pain! SPEAK UP! Sometimes, I can tell that the pressure is too much because the client is holding their breath or the body “twitches” or some other. It's again the scenario where the muscle is asking for more and you, the person, can't handle it. I will ask, “how's the pressure here?”; are you OK with this pressure?, etc., and 8 out of 10 times the client says “yes” everything is o.k. I know, from what I feel, that you are “saving face”, but I also know that maybe you can handle a little bit more to accomplish what I am trying to accomplish, which is relief and enough blood circulation in that area so that you'll feel the relief later. Knots are sometimes tricky. I am a very strong woman and I do work very hard for you, but I don't want to hurt you. Pain does not equate relaxation for a majority, in which case you should have gone to that other place with the whips, chains and bone-fragmented staff.
If I aroused you as a result of my techniques, please address it with me, especially if you felt anything was inappropriate. Sometimes, based upon our history, we tend to respond to things differently. I don't know you are a rape survivor. I don't know you have molestation issues. I don't know you equate being touched with sexual performance requirement. I only know what you have told me and that you have employed me to relieve stress, attend to an injury, give you relaxation and rejuvenation and help you be a healthier person. I know my job and work hard to do this for and with you. Maybe my massages, for you, need to be tailored differently. Don't write me off, jump to conclusions (male or female), and stop coming because what you are thinking might not be truth. Please know that your indicated purpose for coming in for service is at the forefront of my mind and thoughts and application of therapy at every instance. Going home with a little “loving” feeling is natural as my work in stimulating movement inside your tissues and channels take effect. I have a clean mind and clean body and no sexual thoughts as I work on you. It's strictly professional–Made me think of that “stripper on the pole” analogy again.
Honor me (and your other care-givers) with your payment for services, your gratuities, referrals and your returns. These are the biggest compliments to me, my craft and chosen career, and I am privileged and grateful for being that conduit you trust for your universal rejuvenation. I'm kinda like “mamma's love” to a “child”….nothing more. Trust that and enjoy your parasympathetic brain.
Clients honor both their own bodies and their attending therapists, when they work as a professional team with the same objective in mind. Why did you come in for service today? Never forget your purpose. If you do, then you hardly will realize whether or not the therapist is meeting this demand. That other stuff is just a distraction from the intention. Now, I address the male clients first, as in my experience, they seem to be the most challenging. Female clients are not exempt, however, as some will need to receive the same “warnings” given to the men. We live in an age where massage therapists and clients can easily and freely cross the line and it is becoming harder and harder for the real therapists to distinguish themselves. Same for the client who gets the unprofessional service when they expected something else and/or vice versa. For good reason, we are now required to register with the JD and FBI and our licensing is only for specific, therapeutic services, nothing more. Let's keep your massage session dignified and honorable for both parties. There will be several other postings dealing with this issue so stay tuned for more of my therapeutic logic!