There is a dark side to massage therapy that many people do not know about. In recent years, there have been increasing sexual harassment claims made by clients against their therapists. Sexual harassment is unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence in the workplace. It can be tough to deal with when it comes from people you’re supposed to trust, like your massage therapist. Massage therapists are professionals who provide treatments for their clients to ease pain and promote healing. However, many of them also use sexual advances towards their clients to increase revenue or get what they want out of the client.
Types Of Sexual Misconduct In Massage Therapy
1. Sexual Violation
This is the most severe violation of the Massage Therapy Code of Ethics. It involves the performance of sexual acts without any consent, in other words, rape.
2. Sexual Impropriety
This type of sexual misconduct doesn’t necessarily involve physical touch. It takes the form of inappropriate flirts, photographing or videotaping the client without their consent, inappropriate jokes and comments. This is a clear indication that a massage therapist may commit sexual harassment without even touching the client.
3. Sexual Transgression
This refers to sexual misconduct that is not necessarily sexual but involves inappropriate touching. The massage therapists can apply the massage to these sensitive regions, such as the upper thigh or breasts, which are popular targets for many individuals.
Avoiding Sexual Harassment By Massage Therapists
There are many ways to avoid falling victim to sexual harassment by massage therapists.
Below are some of them;
1. The first step is to inform the therapist about your boundaries before receiving treatment. This way, they know what’s off-limits. You can also tell them about your experience during previous treatments. Letting the therapist know what to expect from you allows them to respect your boundaries and treat you with dignity.
2. You should also avoid wearing revealing clothes because some massage therapists may use them to excuse inappropriate touching during the session.
3. If you have any concerns or suspicions, report them to your state massage board immediately. Reporting it will help others protect themselves from sexual misconduct.
4. Most importantly, if sexual harassment happens in your massage therapy session, do not blame yourself. You are the victim, and you should report it to your local authorities as soon as possible.
5. Creating awareness of this issue will help people recognize the signs of sexual harassment and make them more likely to report it.
List Of Signs Indicating Sexual Harassment By A Massage Therapist
1. Inappropriate flirting and comments.
2. Sexually treating the client during sessions, such as massaging certain sensitive areas of the body.
3. Touching breasts or genitals without permission. If you are being touched in these regions regularly, there may likely be more to this massage therapist’s behavior. You should report it immediately before something worse happens.
4. Attempting to become intimate with the client outside of work. This may not be sexual harassment, but it is a sign that your therapist might have feelings for you which could cause problems during sessions.
5. Taking pictures or videos without permission shows a complete disregard for the boundaries set by the patient and should be reported immediately.
6. Offering gifts or special treatment to the client in exchange for sexual favors. This clearly indicates that something more than massaging may be going on and should be reported immediately.
By being aware, we can avoid becoming victims or even having to report it to authorities. The more we know about sexual harassment, the better chance we have of stopping it from happening again in the future.