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What’s in a Name: It’s Massage Therapist, Please

26 Jul 2017

Bodywork professionals who work in the massage industry have fought a long and hard battle to gain respect for their profession and establish themselves as legitimate providers of health care and wellness services.

That’s one of the reasons the name ‘massage therapist’ is important.  

Though not a title that’s heard so much anymore, those who provide massage services were historically referred to as either a masseuse (female) or masseur (male). The terms are French and date to the 19th century. The words simply mean one who performs a massage. Nowadays these words are often used as derogatory terms, with the inference being that the profession is less than legitimate.

Today you can find massage services just about anywhere – from chairs set up in malls to small offices in airports. You might get a massage at your chiropractor’s, or perhaps you can avail yourself of a neck and shoulder massage after you’ve gotten a manicure.

But that doesn’t mean those places provide massage therapy.  And there is a difference.  

At our Minneapolis school we offer a training program for those who desire to be massage practitioners (a term we prefer to ‘masseuse’ or ‘masseur’, because these words often have connotations with services that are of a less than professional nature). But our focus is on therapeutic massage, which is a much more involved training regimen.

That’s one of the reasons the name ‘massage therapist’ matters.

In order to be a massage therapist, someone has to go through an extensive training program that includes not only hands-on instruction and practice in bodywork techniques but also courses of a medical nature, including anatomy, physiology, body movement (kinesiology), and pathology or diagnostic type courses.

Anyone can hold themselves out as someone who provides massage, even without training (although most states and even some Minnesota municipalities require at the very minimum a license that has training or certification attached to it). But a massage therapist is someone who has a degree or diploma to attest to their training as a health care professional.

At our Minneapolis massage and shiatsu therapy school we offer the very best in massage and shiatsu training. While most of our programs are designed for those who wish to practice as therapists, we do have a massage practitioner program available for someone who would like to be professionally trained in massage but without the in-depth medical background required as a therapist. Click here to find out more about our programs.  


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