By Ian Chow, Certified Massage Therapist / Infant Massage Instructor / Oncology Massage Trainer

Length: 2.5 mins read (481 words)

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You may or may not know, these are some of the proper terminology that we use in the massage industry. Some may say that there is nothing really wrong with the other more common terms that we hear even from some establishment here in Malaysia. Well, it is certainly not wrong but I would say it is less accurate. In my opinion, using proper terminology also in longer run help to establish a better image to the industry and give a better outlook.

a). What you always hear: Masseuse or masseur 
Try replacing it with: Massage therapist
Note: “Masseuse” is a French term originated back in the 1800. But unfortunately, nowadays, it is more commonly associated with those who provide erotic massage, happy ending or sexual services in disguise of a massage session.
Furthermore, why do we need to have gender in this noun? We don’t have separation of gender as physiotherapist, physical therapist, chiropractor, osteopath etc.

b). What you always hear: Massage parlour
Try replacing it with: Massage outlet / massage establishment
Note: Just like (a), it has sexual connotation to it. This term in many countries is typically used as substitute for a brothel.


c). What you always hear: Working on your butt
Try replacing it with: Working on your glut (short for gluteus, the muscle)
Note: Look, I am not having sex with you and I don’t need to be working on your butt. What I am working on is the muscle. My intention is different.

d). What you always hear: Massage bed
Try replacing it with: Massage table
Note: It is a workstation hence it is a table and not bed. Same concept as operation (surgeon) table and not bed.

e) What you always hear: Touching / Feeling 
Try replacing it with: Palpate
Note: This is definitely very foreign to a lot of Malaysian. But this is a proper term that is commonly used by any physical therapist.


Bonus: This is certainly not a common word that we hear, “fascia” is pronounce as “fah-sh-ia” (or just click here to hear it) :). It is not fa-cial. Fascia is a sheet of fibrous connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fiber and muscle in place. 
A simpler reference: You know sometimes when you see a raw meat, do you notice a white sheath on the meat? That is fascia.

And on a lighter note, one of the senior therapist whom also my Thai / Swedish technique teacher, Mei Ng, once encountered a client who heard her wrongly “myofascial release” as “mild sexual release” and asked her how much does she charge for that happy ending. 🙂

If you have other terms that I can add onto this list, please do private message me.

Next: 10 Fun Facts on Massage
Back: Palpation (What the heck is that?)


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Ian Chow 周 奕 延

Your personal massage therapist

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