If you have ever heard the terms masseuse and massage therapist used in reference to a person that performs massage therapy, you may be confused.
Are they the same thing? Are they different? Are they interchangeable?
The answer to these questions is really “yes, but no.” To understand, let’s start by first exploring the history of massage therapy.
History of the Masseuse and Masseur
“Masseuse” was introduced back in 1800’s France where it simply meant a woman who performs massage. The term for a male who performed massage was, alternatively, a “masseur.”
However, while these terms would have been completely acceptable in historic France, in the United States they have taken on a rather unsavory connotation. Unfortunately, they have become associated with massage parlors, sexual services and untrained professionals. And this negative reputation has been difficult for the massage industry to shake off.
Introduction of the Massage Therapist
Because professional therapists dedicate hundreds of hours to receiving thorough training to become licensed in massage therapy, this negative association has been harmful to the industry. To change the way the public thinks about professionals that perform massage therapy, the term “massage therapist” has become the preferred title.
Massage therapists are licensed professionals that have undergone countless hours of training and education at a qualified massage school to learn and hone their skill. And with a quality education, many therapists are now being trained on how to handle the negative connotation associated with “masseuse” and “masseur.” In the event that a client were to expect a service that crosses boundaries, the therapist will know how to react and respond to the situation appropriately.
Professionalism In the Massage Industry
At their core, “masseuse,” “masseur” and “massage therapist” are different terms that mean the same thing. But given the negative reputation that surrounds the historic terms, most professional therapists are now referring to themselves as massage therapists. This term signifies professionalism and licensure with hours of trainingdedicated to honing their skills as therapists.