Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Massage parlours: a professional therapist responds

“Being massaged by a ‘friend-taught masseur’ can be very harmful to you”

There are quite a number of types of massages; there is the Swedish massage, and the hot stone massage done in parlours, sports massage done in parlours and gyms. Aromatherapy massage done in parlours, and sexual massage meant for the bedroom amongst couples and in brothels.

Like Otiti Mach said in his Are Massage Parlours a Devil’s Den article, published in The Sunday Standard of 18-24 May 2008, massage parlours are surrounded by gym, sauna, spa and steam services, which basically work towards improving the lymphatic system responsible for the removal of toxins in the body which, when retained in the body, make you ill.

So having all those surroundings is not a luxury but it compliments the treatment of massage.

Swedish Massage, which is the most licensed type of massage in Botswana and is NOT “basically the soothing of muscles and joints with slight gentle finger strokes,” as our writer elaborated BUT ii is a method of manipulation of the body by rubbing, tapping, pinching, kneading focused on the superficial layers of the muscles that can be helpful in producing relaxation. One must have knowledge of the anatomy and physiology, which is basic training in second year nursing.

People get massage therapy for relaxation and for a variety of health reasons. A typical massage therapy session is between 40 and 90 minutes, and should begin with a brief consultation, review of symptoms, medical history and lifestyle. You might have a clot or extreme high blood pressure, in which case a massage is not advisable. However, if you have low blood pressure or high stress levels, it is recommended that you get more massages for the sake of your health to be improved. If pregnant or have certain disorders, certain oils might have to be avoided.

You will be asked to undress but told to please keep your underwear on. You are told to cover yourself fully with a provided clean white linen or sheet. You are also told to lie on the massage table facing up or lie facing down depending on which massage treatment you will be having, and when you undress, the massage therapist will be waiting outside the room respecting your privacy. That goes for both male and female.

The therapist will then knock on your door to make sure you are ready. The massage therapist re-enters the room and will adjust your headrest or pillows to make sure that you are comfortable for the treatment and properly positioned. You would be properly covered from the shoulders right down to the feet, underneath the sheet at all times, only the part the body being treated at any one time is uncovered.

A massage therapist has to be presentable and smart at all times; that is one of the major ethics of a therapist.

It is true that you get men who want to be funny, and ask for the “extra massage” as they call them, the sex massage (mainly massage to stimulate the private parts) so those who are taught to massage at home by their friends, and have not received adequate training would definitely fall for it not knowing how their reputation is being tainted. A client will not ask you for more if not given the room to do so.

As a trained professional, you are taught how to handle such matters efficiently and say no without making a scene. Each time, if you start your massage with a new client, it is to be the beginning of a client-therapist relationship, meaning there is no intimacy between you and the client; you stick to your ethics, of handling clients so that the client gives you respect at the end of a massage.

In our profession, we are taught not to engage in sexual conversation with clients, not to get personal. So, basically, the main problems in these ‘massages parlours is whether the so-called massage therapist is qualified to do the job or not. You should get all those sex stories from massage parlours because of lack of knowledge of ethics.
Those who are taught by friends are spoiling the massage therapy trade. How you handle your client, as from reception, determines what reactions you are going to get from them. So there is a big difference between being massaged by a professional, who is trained and has studied the anatomy and physiology of the body, and being massaged by someone who is taught how to caress not knowing what they are doing. Being massaged by a ‘friend-taught masseur’ can be very harmful to your body and mind.

Mercy Chiwaura is a professional masseuse in Gaborone.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.