Getting A Massage When You Are A Transgender

By Ian Chow, Certified Massage Therapist

Length: 4.5 mins read (937 words)

Firstly, I am a firm believer that anyone and everyone should be able to receive a massage therapy session unless it is medically contraindicated (or at the moment not Covid-19 vaccinated). But what if you are transgender and unsure of the reaction that you may get from the therapist? I can’t speak for all therapists but I certainly know there are therapist including myself whom we would consider ourselves to be LGBTQi+ friendly.

Note: This article is not meant to be advocating any LGBTQi+ cause but purely to express the opinion that massage therapy has no boundary and I for one would not hesitate to offer it to everyone. Opinion expressed is solely from my own perspective.

Will he/she/they be judged?
Absolutely not. I know it is a little cliche of me to say that I have seen it all before but being a massage therapist who cater from infant to adult to elderly from all walk of life, with or without any form of life limiting conditions, I always look at the context of the body and not of the person (including the gender). Everyone at certain point in their life most likely will suffer from lower back pain, aching in their calf muscle, stiff neck, tired shoulder etc. Doesn’t matter who I am working on or with, one still deserves the same amount of respect and attention.

Will he/she/they have to deal with uncomfortable questions?
Absolutely not. All my questionnaires are health related and how we can maximize the positive effect of the session. Day in, day out, you may have already been subjected to unnecessary ordeal and having you to deal with uncomfortable question is the last thing that we would like to happen before the session.

Should he/she/they have to share their pronounce, current name etc? Will he/she/they be misgendered?
I do need your assistance and would appreciate it if you can share your preferred pronounce and your current name when you are answering the questionnaire that I sent. No, I am not interested to know your birth name according to our national IC or any of your history unless you feel it is important to the massage session i.e. medical history, medicine that you are taking, treatment that you are currently undergoing etc.

Will he/she/they have to take off their clothes?
I understand that this could be a concern to some hence the answer is absolutely not. One can undress to the level that you are comfortable with and even that, you will be draped accordingly. If you would like me to perform the massage while you are fully clothed, that can be done as well. Technique can be adapted.

How long of a session is recommended for first timer to massage therapy?
If you are a first timer, to start with, I would recommend it not to be longer than 60 minutes. After the first session, as you are getting used to the therapy, then you could consider having a longer session the next time around. To note, with 60 minutes, I may not be able to spend enough time or attention on each segment of the body. Prior to the session, during the questionnaire, you could highlight to me on areas that you would like me to focus on.

How is massage therapy beneficial?
Rather than rewriting the benefits that massage therapy can bring to one, I am putting here an article written by a trans massage therapist, “Reclaiming Positive Touch: How Massage Therapy Can Benefit the Trans Community” for your reading pleasure.
https://blog.lighthouse.lgbt/massage-therapy-trans-community/

Also, my article on benefit of massage:
https://happychowder.com/2020/09/03/benefit-of-massage/

Can one ask the therapist to stop if need to? What do they do if they don’t enjoy the session?
Absolutely yes. At any point during the massage session, if you do feel uncomfortable or don’t enjoy the session for whatever reason there may be, please feel free to ask me to stop. We can end the session immediately. My recommendation is prior to the session, both parties must be clear of the boundary to be touched, the strength used and the areas to focus on.

Can a massage release my emotions (involuntarily)?
In one of the FAQs that I have written, this is possible even though our focus is primarily on the physical front. The comfort of touch may make one experience certain emotions during the session. It could also make you confront certain thoughts especially when you are relaxed and your mind is more open. You never know what may come out from a massage session. As a massage therapist, I won’t stop what is happening, I will just let it happen unless it turns violent. As a receiver, do not be shy if you have an emotional outpour but please do keep in check that it doesn’t turn into a rage. And together we have to keep in check that this is not a counselling session but a massage therapy session.

What if I cannot afford the full price as per stated in the rates card?
Please do private message me to let me know what is the amount that you can afford and we can discuss from there. With certain individual that I have attended to, I have work on a basis of donation of any amount (based on what they can afford). But if you can afford to pay in full, that is most appreciated so I can continue doing the work that I do.

If you are still in doubt, please feel free to get in touch with me to chat further.

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