Choosing a Therapist

Ask a Therapist

By Charles W. Wiltsie III

Originally published in Body Sense magazine, Autumn/Winter 2003.

Q: Does it matter if I go to a male or female practitioner?

A: In a perfect world, a practitioner’s gender would be irrelevant, according to practitioner, instructor and industry expert Charles W. Wiltsie III. “Massage therapy should be gender-neutral, at least from the massage therapist’s point of view. But here are a few tips to help you find the right professional:

“Check around and find out if the massage therapist you are going to use is known to the community. Are there people you know using him?

“Make sure the massage therapist is properly licensed in your state and belongs to one of the many trade organizations that would indicate they have malpractice insurance. These organizations would include Associated Massage and Bodywork Professionals, the American Massage Therapy Association and the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. Membership in one or more of these organizations might indicate the massage professional carries malpractice insurance. This is good to know when there is a state that does not have licensing in place and insurability would indicate at least a minimal standard is being met.

“The bottom line is you should feel safe and relaxed with whomever you choose. Gender should not be an issue and if the therapist is properly researched by the customer, qualifications rather than gender will most likely matter the most.”