When I tell people I own a corporate mobile chair massage company in Houston TX, they often ask how much does it cost to hire a masseuse? I quickly inform them that I don’t hire masseuses but that I hire Licensed Massage Therapists. The difference can be minor or major depending on which meaning of definition you are referring to.
According to the Webster Dictionary, a masseuse is a female person who performs massage [i]. And a masseur is a male version of the same word. This word dates back to 1879 and a lot has changed since then. Dictionary.com states that a masseuse is [ii]a woman who provides massage as a profession or occupation. Ok, nothing wrong here right? Wrong!
If you look up the word masseuse under the urban dictionary it states the following: “Generally considered to be a woman who practices massage therapy, however this is a misnomer. A masseuse is a woman who practices massage and has none of the western medical training and is not licensed and may be associated with prostitution. In most states this is illegal.”<span style="font-size:12pt;">[iii]</span>
Ok, we all know that nobody is going to the Urban Dictionary for scholarly information, but it is interesting to note that 39 votes for thumbs up and 23 votes for thumbs down were reported for the Urban Dictionary definition. Since it is not practical to ascertain, with 100% certainty, the intended meaning of the word from a light conversation, it is best to avoid this word altogether. It doesn’t help that unfortunately there are still some very shady establishments in which latter term of the word would be accurate. And given this fact it is best to avoid using the term masseuse (or masseur). Put yourself in the shoes of a massage therapist who is being referred to as a masseuse or masseur. You would have to stop and think, are they referring to me as a professional therapist or a prostitute? Enormous difference, right? Right! The correct term to use is massage therapist, licensed massage therapist, certified massage therapist, LMT or CMT.
About the Author
David Johnson is passionate about improving health, productivity and massage through massage therapy. He is the owner of Metropolitan Chair Massage, a massage company dedicated to corporate wellness and productivity.