What is the Difference between a

“Masseuse” and a

“Massage Therapist”?

What is the difference between a
“masseuse” and a “massage therapist”?

This is a question that the entire industry of massage professionals would like for people to know, but it is a touchy subject to discuss.

Technically speaking, “masseuse” (feminine) / “masseur” (masculine) are French terms for people who perform massage.  These terms have been used in the English language for well over 100 years.  While still appropriate in France, in the United States there is a push to use the term “massage therapist” instead.

As noted earlier, the subject is an uncomfortable one to discuss, but it must be bluntly stated.  Unless you have been living under a rock your entire life, you are probably aware that prostitution is often covered up by labeling it as “massage.”  It is undisputedly the world’s oldest profession and it is never going away.  Likewise, the profession of massage will undoubtedly always serve as a cover for people who engage in such behaviors.

Massage professionals provide genuine therapeutic massage for the purpose of pain relief, post surgical healing, stress relief, sleep disorders, and many other conditions.  As such, they wished to distinguish themselves clearly as well-educated, trained professionals who are not involved in anything remotely related to the sex industry.  The name “massage therapist” was coined to help make this distinction.

While the terms are often used interchangeably among people not in the massage industry, massage therapists are often quick to bring it to people’s attention when they are referred to as a masseuse or masseur.  Massage therapy is a very rewarding career to those who choose it as their profession.  It is, however, difficult when you are presumed by many people to be a sex worker as the jokes about “happy endings” are constant…and extremely insulting.

So, if you find yourself uttering the word “masseuse” or “masseur,” it’s ok.  We forgive you.  It will take some time to make that distinction clear.  But, if we are in earshot, we’d appreciate it if you’d follow up with, “I meant ‘massage therapist’.”  (Thank you.)

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Feel free to reach out to us via phone (501-352-7438) or email. We are very happy to go over any questions you may have that were not covered here. 

Questions are how we learn.  There are no “bad” questions (except the ones that go “un-asked”), and you should not feel shy about asking something you don’t know – even if you think that it may be embarrassing.  There is a very good chance that you aren’t the first person who has asked that question.

Spoiled Rotten Massage abides by HIPAA standards.  So just like when you go to the doctor, any personal medical information provided will not be disclosed outside of HIPAA guidelines.