Kate worked as a mobile masseuse with us for over 4 years before moving out of London. She remembers her time as a massage therapist in London with great fondness. We asked her if it was different to massage a man as opposed to a woman.
This sparked our curiosity, so we asked her to tell us more. Read about Kate’s experience as a mobile massage therapist who treated both men and women and why she feels the two are quite different.
I love massaging men. Don't get me wrong, I loved my female clients too, but I have to say male customers were overall my preferred customer. During my career as a mobile massage therapist more of my clients were men, which seems to be the case at the moment for mobile treatments. I think women tend to visit beauty spas and get a range of treatments of which massage is one, whereas men just want a massage.
I qualified as a massage therapist by taking the ITEC and BTEC massage courses. At the time, I was working as a waitress at Automat, the American themed brassiere in Mayfair, London and use the income from this to pay for my massage course. Working late evening shifts whilst also studying for courses was pretty intensive and doing both together basically took over my life for a year.
After qualifying I joined an agency which sent massage therapists to London casinos to do head, neck and shoulder massages for customers at the gambling tables. It was great fun but incredibly tiring, both physically and mentally.
We would walk up to people who were gambling and offer to give them a massage. The price was £15 for 15 minutes. As you can imagine, one of the perks of the job was that if customer was enjoying some good luck at the casino that evening, they would happily hand out a great tip at the end of the treatment. But more often than not, the casino clients had been suffering losing streaks. In these cases, I would be dealing with someone who was feeling quite stressed, wanted an extra deep shoulder massage and would be frowning the whole way through … and if their luck had not changed during the 15 minutes I was with them, then I could expect a zero tip at the end.
Almost all the customers in the casino were men. I did enjoy the high-energy atmosphere but the hours we were asked to work were really difficult. Casinos get busiest late at night so we were required to work evenings and up until as late as 3am. That was one part of the job I did not look forward to. Doing a deep tissue shoulder massage is hard work at any time of the day, let alone at 3am.
After a year with the casino agency, I felt it was time to move on. I still wanted to work in massage therapy but needed a job which was a bit more stable and had more reasonable working hours.
I searched around for other massage jobs and attended various interviews for spas and massage centres based around London. I even considered a job working as a masseuse on a cruise liner sailing around the world, but when I looked into the details I realised it sounded a lot more exotic than it would have been in reality.
I finally settled on working with The Massage Rooms as a freelance therapist. This was way back in 2010. They had only recently opened the previous year and I liked the buzz and excitement of the owner’s passion for massage as well as the opportunity to work with a company that called itself the “fresh new face of massage in London!”. I also like the bright orange website, it was just a change from everything I had seen but still in my area of interest. So I applied, attended an interview and was accepted and signed up!
I had never visited anyone in his or her own home or hotel room to do a massage. To be honest, at the beginning I felt a little nervous about visiting anyone (male or female) at their own place but I put it down to one of those ‘new job’ issues that would hopefully fade away within a few months of starting and so I just dived in.
I need not have worried! The customers were really lovely and kind. They seemed to realise that it felt a bit strange for me to visit someone in their own house and I think most of them made an extra effort to make me feel comfortable and welcome.
In my courses, all the other attendees had also been girls. Therefore I had practiced and learned massage on and with women most of the time. I had however performed a few full body massages on men as part of my course's practical work. I was also used to massaging men from my previous job with the casino even though that particular work had only been head, neck and shoulder treatments.
I do not want to generalise and of course each person is unique and different. But I can honestly say that over the years that I worked as a mobile masseuse, the following things were things I saw quite often. So there was definitely a pattern of differences between men and women. At least in my experience!
The most obvious difference I remember between male and female clients is body hair. Men’s bodies are so much hairier! I am not sure if that is a natural hormonal thing or whether it was just because not as many men wax their bodies as women.
It did not bother me, but did mean I needed to use a lot more oil when massaging a male client. Maybe I should have charged the really hairy ones a bit more! I will never forget the one man I massaged, who was so hairy that as I moved my hands up his back, the hair on this back got tangled into my fingers so much that I had to stop the stroke, untangle and start again. No kidding!
My female clients usually had much softer skin all over their bodies. This made it easier for the oil to lubricate the skin and make a smoother massage experience. I think men do not often get manicures and pedicures, so their hands and feet often had much rougher skin than those of female clients. I used to use high quality almond oil and massage creams too, so I hope that some of my clients benefitted from the massage to get slightly softer skin as well as relaxation.
Almost everyone, whether male or female, loved a good back, neck and shoulder massage. Women however seemed to enjoy their hands, face and feet being massaged more than many men. Men on the other hand loved their legs being massaged more than women I think. When it came to massaging the chest area there is also the obvious difference between men and women.
Most of the customers that I visited had booked with us because they knew that the therapists were doing high quality real massage treatments (as opposed to beauty treatment focused massage). This meant that I would usually do parts of my massage in a strong, meaningful deep tissue massage style. But it’s true to say that the requests for the very deepest pressure were from men overall.
This is one of the main reasons why men were my favourite clients overall. It meant that I could really get into the massage. I could feel all their muscles and tension and work deep into their bodies to try to work out stubborn knots and tight spots.
I don’t think that there is generally any significant difference between men and women when it comes to generosity. However, in my time as a mobile massage therapist and also when I worked as a therapist in casinos, male customers would more often tip higher than female customers. I think this might be related to my next point!
Ten years ago mobile massage therapy was not as common or accepted as it is today. Back then, if I would mention to a friend that I was working as a mobile masseuse, I could usually sense the ‘elephant in the room’ moment. Not only was I working as a massage therapist, but I was one that was visiting men in their homes, they would think!
As with many things in life, if you look at it from the wrong perspective, you can easily end up with a skewed view of reality. I have always seen real massage as a professional health and wellness service. So whether I did massages for men or women in a spa environment or in the comfort of their own homes or hotel, it was all the same for me. I was visiting people to make them feel healthier through therapeutic massage.
This however of course didn’t stop some people unfortunately getting the wrong idea! In my four years as a mobile massage therapist I got asked on plenty of dates, which were of course very flattering but always politely declined. And even though one of those polite invitations was indeed from another woman, the large majority by far were from men. So my final difference between the two sexes when it comes to massaging people is that men were more inclined to flirt a little with me!
Kate is now in charge of looking after new therapists and also helps with customer relations.
© 2009 - 2023 Zakas Ltd