Monday, December 22, 2008

Confessions of a Licensed Massage Therapist

I've been getting a lot of questions and comments recently from newbies who have been thinking of getting their first erotic massage. Now there were a few guys who asked me about how to request the "Happy ending" when it suddenly dawned on me... they weren't talking about massage parlors - they were talking about licensed massage therapists (LMTs) in regular day spas!!!! Let me make this point clear:


This is an important tip and I think some of my friends out there may have missed it. So let me say this again so it sinks in:


Perhaps I didn't make myself perfectly clear when I started telling you guys all these massage parlor secrets. Most massage providers are legitimate businesses that provide therapeutic massage by LMTs. What I do for a living is called "Erotic Massage" and most places do not provide that. Erotic Massage is sort of the red-headed, bastard, stepchild of the massage industry.

So I'm going to take this moment to explain to you guys out there the basics of therapeutic massage so no one makes that horrible mistake. So put your pants back on and pay attention, OK?

For purposes of this lesson, I will refer to therapeutic massage providers as "day spas" and erotic massage providers as "massage parlors." In an earlier post I described how to tell the difference between a massage parlor and a day spa - so just flip that info around. Now you're looking for businesses that use LMTs. I am also a LMT, but I am one of the few around here that do erotic massage. Some parlors like to keep one around to help look legitimate.

Massage Types
When you go for your first therapeutic massage, it may go under a number of names including:

Deep Tissue

Each one has it's own special techniques. If anyone tells you they're all the same, then they're full of shit. I'll go over them quickly so you know what to expect from each. For example, "sports" massage is the hardest form (and by hard I mean pressure, and nothing else you perv). It involves employing a lot of pressure using the hands, fingers, palms, and in some cases elbows and forearms. It also requires a lot of knowledge about anatomy since the LMT has to know how to deal specifically with sports injuries. I hate to break your bubbles guys, but personally I think men do this one better since it requires intense pressure with the hands.

"Shiatsu" is the second hardest form. Basically it's intense pressure applied with the fingers, palms and thumbs, with emphasis on certain pressure points on the body (See? I actually remember quite a bit of my LMT training).

"Swedish" is what most people associate with therapeutic massage. It's more of a gentle style with lots of caressing and rubbing (no - not the naughty kind).

"Reiki" I don't know much about. It's supposed to be about manipulating the energy fields of the body. I remember having this one reiki session during my training with this really greasy looking hippy chick. She would rub my back with giant circular motions - like she was cleaning a giant dinner plate. Then she'd shake off her hands as if rinsing all the food crumbs off. She said it was to remove all the negative energies. Personally I think it's a load of crap.

Now "deep tissue" and "relaxing" aren't massage types, they are styles. Deep tissue uses the hard techniques of sports and shiatsu, while relaxing uses the softer caressing techniques of swedish. I will tell you right now that 90% of the LMT's out there give only a relaxing massage with a little deep tissue thrown in. This is because most customers don't know the difference and/or don't care. So when you make your appointment, don't expect the harder forms of shiatsu or sports unless you actually request it.

My personal style is mostly relaxing with deep tissue thrown in if the customer needs it. I'll even do sports by request (I get this mostly from truckers who've actually strained something while working). But when I'm feeling lazy, in a hurry, or I just find you annoying - you'll get a relaxing only.

Massage Etiquette
OK, now you know what to ask for before you start, so let's go over what to expect in the room. The first thing your masseuse is gonna do is ask you to get "comfortable." This means to either get naked or strip down to underwear and then slip underneath the sheet (or towel). Personally, I prefer that you keep the underwear on for a therapeutic, but if you're getting a full body massage that includes the glutes, then you want them off. For you shy types out there - don't worry. If you go commando, the masseuse will ALWAYS keep you discretely covered. In fact, some masseuses will always keep you under a sheet and only uncover the parts of the body as they're worked.

Massages always start with you on your stomach. A basic massage will include the neck, shoulders, upper and lower back, thighs and calves. A full-body massage will also include the upper arms and feet (I won't do feet no matter how much you pay me).

When the back is finished, the masseuse will then ask you to flip over. This is a perfectly normal part of the massage and is not an indication that you are about to get jerked off. Let me repeat this for those of you who are slow learners... Being asked to flip over is NOT the same as offering a happy ending! I had one guy tell me that he once got up and left in the middle of a massage because he knew he was in one of “those” places when the masseuse asked him to flip over. She was going to massage your chest – dumbass. Anyway, the basic massage includes the pecs and the front of the thighs. Full-body will add the lower arms, hands, torso, lower legs and in some cases the head and face.

If I'm doing a 30 minute session, I usually go straight to happy ending after the flip since there's rarely enough time to do the chest and legs justice. In longer sessions, I do the front of the shoulders, chest and front of the thighs. If I'm doing a therapeutic, then they get the whole enchilada.

Speaking of enchiladas, I know some of you are wondering at this point, "I can't get my front massaged - I'll get a woody!" To you I say... Do you really think you're the first guy on the planet to sport wood during a normal massage? They actually teach us how to deal with this in massage school. We just throw an extra towel over you to hide it. That's it. End of crisis.

Now just because you didn't get a happy ending doesn't mean you shouldn't tip. I suggest $20 because the house usually pockets most of the money (unless it's a private practice). When I was still working the day spa, I was totally desperate for tips to supplement my salary since I got paid shit.

How To Ask A Masseuse For A Handjob
For those of you who are still puzzling over the age-old question "How do I ask a masseuse for a happy ending?" - there is a simple answer.

The answer is "Never." You NEVER ask a masseuse for a happy ending for two reasons. First, if you're in a massage parlor it is understood that you're getting one (did you really think she took her top off for therapeutic reasons?). Second, if you're in a day spa, then you just committed what's known in legal circles as "solicitation." Look - I know that some of you guys play golf with a guy who had a college roommate that once talked a masseuse into a happy ending. But let me tell ya, you have as much chance of getting a handjob in a day spa as you have getting a handjob in a supermarket. Go back to reading your Penthouse Letters guys.

Now I'm hoping that lots of you guys get gift certificates for massages this Christmas. Then you can practice what I've taught you and report back. And please... don't embarass yourself by asking poor hard working girls for happy endings when they're barely earning more than minimum wage to massage your sorry butts!



Mr Me said...

I was wondering if you were going to cover this.
Some men are totally clueless (as we men have a tendency to be anyway) when they enter these places. Fortunately, I knew enough to fumble my way through it (wasn't for me).

I'm with you on "Reiki", I think it's a load of crap. Tried it during a sting at rehab. I thought I felt something, but it turned out it was the beginnings of a cold.

Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this is a regional thing; here in Houston it isn't uncommon to be offered a happy ending in a day spa.

Great blog, by the way.

Greg Voltaire said...

You cannot possibly believe how amazingly coincidental this is. I am thinking about a gift of a massage for someone I know. I have questions about LMT's.

1. Do they automatically ask you what gender you want your masseuse to be? Or do you have to specifically say "I want man" or "I want woman". Do all massage parlors provide both? Do you have to ask when your booking the appointment or on the spot? Is this a question I have to ask at each individual massage parlor?

2. Are there any health risks? While getting, for instance, a relaxing Swedish massage, could they go all chiropractor and break your back in half, particualrly if you have back problems? If there are sharp pains and such, is that normal? Will there be some pain regardless?

3. Do these rules apply to both men and women, about the flipping, the stomach thing, the order they do it in, etc.?

4. While getting a massage, is it okay to ask them to stop this, go harder on that, softer there, skip that, or do you follow the masseuse's technique rigorously? Do they take suggestions harshly, and while we're at it, are they like doctors, we should just shut up and let them do what they went to college for?

5. That guy in your story, the one who left because he was in "one of those places", was he a customer? Because if he was, does he not realize he left "one of those places" to go into "one of those places" and was talking to you about "one of those places" in "one of those places"? And if so, please say you weren't giving him a handjob when he said it.

Thanks lots and lots.

Anonymous said...

This sounds right to me, I dated a RN for a while who was also a LMT(nice side benefit to have a gf who owns a massage table and knows how to use it).

One thing I will say though is that your 'Reiki' experience does not sound right to me at all. The LMT was trained in it, and that honestly was the most relaxing massage I ever got in my life when she demonstrated once. It also did not go anything like what you described. I will say though that the crowd attracted to it did tend to fit your stereotype from what I saw, although the gf was not the hippy type herself...

Anonymous said...

One more hint for the guys:

When the massage parlor is in a sketchy part of town, its windows are painted black, there's a neon sign that says something like "Bangkok Spa", you get buzzed in the locked front door, and you are greeted by the mama-san who asks if you've ever been there before, then nobody there knows Reiki. (But if you ask, they might say she doesn't work there any more).

By the way, the answer is always "Yes, I've been here."

cj said...

Are you confusing "Day Spa" with a massage parlor that's open during the day? I'm talking about the places that do hair, nails and makeup too.

In a nutshell...
When it comes to genders, the assumption is that you're gonna get a female since most LMTs are. You can specifically ask for whatever you want though, since you're the customer and it won't hurt anyone's feelings.

Chiropractors are a whole other industry from massage. Personally I don't use them and wouldn't recommend them. Apart from that, the health issues are from easily transmitted things like colds. We sanitize our hands between clients, but when you're in close contact in the rooms, passing colds is not uncommon. That's why I won't do anyone who is obviously sick with something.

There is no real difference between male and female massages, except that pecs are not usually done on women unless specifically requested.

Yes - we appreciate it when the client provides us with some direction. If a guy pays for a full body therapeutic, but asks for extra attention to the shoulders halfway through, then so be it. It's about making the client feel relaxed and not performing a routine.

The dumbass who made that comment was a friend of a friend I got into a conversation with. When I told him I was a LMT, he thought he knew all about it.


cj said...


Good one! If you have to "buzz" in to the place and there are a dozen "police brotherhood association" stickers all over the door, then it's a parlor and not a day spa.


Anonymous said...

Rule #1 in telling if you are in a place where "Happy Endings" are standard practice: Do they offer "Table Showers"? I have yet to find a place that offers this service that doesn't also offer, as a matter of course, the "Happy Ending".

Rule #2: When in doubt see Rule #1.

Anonymous said...

CJ's right about the buzz in and PBA/FOP stickers as well. Though I do know of a few therapeutic only places that buzz people in and have association stickers that don't do Happy Endings. The reason though is that they are in big cities in areas where businesses that keep cash on site have had push in robberies. In general though, buzz in entry and lots of association stickers on the door means "we give hand-jobs".

BTW, if you are curious about these kind of service providers I suggest as there are many articles and reviews about various massage parlors. Also is a good source for such information.

Anonymous said...

Yes, of course you suggest those sites, you have been advertising them here for months.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Although in a city I visit a lot there is a place I went to that looks totally legit but the masseuse does four things that make me suspicious:

1) she doesn't cover me well at all even when I am getting an erection. Doesn't even try to cover me, and as a matter of fact, lets the towel slide off.

2) she makes no effort at trying to avoid rubbing her breasts on my face when she is massaging my chest while standing behind my head.

3) she asks, "are you totally relaxed", "are you sure?" many times toward the end of the massage".

4) she almost dresses me in a robe and walks me to the shower to clean off the oils etc." Waits outside and then almost dries and puts the robe back on me. All the while not at all shy about my nakedeness.

I've tried to ask about tipping etc. but never asked about specifics or specifics tips, etc. I leave around 20 bucks. I love the massages so I don't want to offend her but I have this feeling.... and that would even make the massage better. Plus I also feel like an idiot since I've been to massage parlours before but since this one looks so much like Day Spa, I am confused. It is called something like Geisha etc.

What do you think?

cj said...


Everything you described PLUS it's an asian place? Sounds like a massage parlor, but either you're a new customer or you're giving them a weird vibe - that's why they're not specifically offering extras.

A real LMT would go out of her way to avoid seeing you naked unless you were handicapped and required assistance.

Next time they ask if you're totally relaxed - just say you're not and is there "anything else" they can do?

Then again, you know how I feel about the Asian places. Go American!


Anonymous said...

Thanks CJ. For the record, it is an American place, just with an Asian name.

I'm clean cut and talkative so I think I either come across as innocent or too nervous.

Truth is, I do get nervous unless I am 100% sure of what to expect so I don't even repond to the obvious cues!

Thanks for your help.

Anonymous said...

Oh and I am a new customer. Only been there twice and the first time I really was suffering from a backache which I did state on the little questionnaire.

Anonymous said...

So I should find this hilarious but...120 dollars after... not so much.
I go back to the aforementioned establishment, only to find that the masseuse I've seen twice is busy. I should have left, but I didnt'.
I wound up getting a great massage, as before, but with a lady that could almost be my mom but with a nicer body. Did I say I was a really nice guy? Thankfully,she was totally about covering me up and all.

Hence, I still don't know if the place offers hand releases or not.

Funny thing is, I was reading your earlier posts, and I HAVE BEEN to places that offer table showers (which I did not partake), are oriental in nature, but apparently think I'm a narc. I invariably get the receptionist to massage me since she is the most clued into current laws?

It must be that I am young, good looking, articulate, and otherwise intelligent (although I feel like an idiot after not being able to score a hj. Or I look like the guy from CSI.

This is getting expensive.

Although, last time I did get a frequent visitor card and they did take my fake info for their records so maybe we are moving forward.

Did I mention that in every other respect, these establishments meet your criteria: Asian names, table showers (or tubs), advertise beautiful and young females (although that last lady proves they have liberal definitions).
BUT they are not places found in the sports section. I used to go to those and most either gave a bad massage, or you felt they were rushing you... or even worse... videotaping you.

I used to be in Philly on business all of the time, I wish I would've known about you then... specially after visiting that dive in coshohacken (sic) 7th heaven... wow.

cj said...

EVERYTHING you describe points to an AMP. You must look like Forrest Gump or drive a patrol car or something. There is absolutely NO therapeutic value to the table shower. It's just another way that massage parlors can discreetly advertise their services.

If I were you, I'd totally give up on that place since they peg you as a narc.

Funny thing is that this could be a legitimate massage business and you're neglecting to mention that they also do hair and nails! LOL


Anonymous said...

You are one of the few licensed massage therapists that do give happy endings and consider yourself a therapist not just for the entertainment part of it. There's a big controversy between the licensing of massage therapists and what all a massage includes that is considered to be therapeutic when it comes to the sexual part. I've heard from another massage therapist that one can touch a man's genitals, but not give a release. That sounds crazy to me because what man wouldn't get a release if his genitals are touched. LOL Now saying the hand job is adult entertainment, that puts it in another perspective. However I think most men consider a hand job to be therapeutic. Don't you?

cj said...

What you're referring to here is the "bump." Technically we can bump into genitals as part of the massage, but that's the same as a hand release. In therapeutic, you're not supposed to bump, but it does happen.

A hand release is an unmistable hand wrapped around a customers dick. There is no confusion as to what is about to happen.


Anonymous said...

Agree that the "bump" happens, even in legit places, and it could only be a sex act in the mind of a prude.

Like most guys, I WILL get hard during any kind of massage, and so I tuck my manhood between my legs since we always start flat on our stomachs. That way I'm not crushing my erection with my (hard too, thank you for asking) stomach and the provider gets a first hint.
Ass covered or not, the masseuse is bound to see my woody, and the ones providing extras will often start playing with it there. As for the legit ones, they are bound to hit hit when doing my thighs. No biggie, they don't shock easily. More than one legit girl has seen me naked, BTW, and that never caused a panic.

Otherwise, lemme get something clear here: "[...] when I'm feeling lazy, in a hurry, or I just find you annoying - you'll get a relaxing only." and then:
"I won't do feet no matter how much you pay me."
Um, and you call yourself a "therapist"?! And you stroke dicks, but won't massage feet? OK. Keep buying "american", suckers.

I used to go to a thai parlor in Hollywood's Thai Town. The traditional music was playing throughout the place, very relaxing and exotic-feeling. Everybody has a face split by an enormous grin in those places; they don't call Thailand the land of smiles for nothing. They would then place a basin in front of your stall for you to soak your feet in. Hot stones at the bottom, lotus flowers floating on top. They would dry you afterwards and, yes, you betcha, massage your big, ugly, hairy US feet with that same smile. $35 to $50 an hour for thai massage in my area. And if necessary, the masseuse goes over in order to complete the massage properly.
Asians. Gotta love 'em.

Anonymous said...

Need your advice: I went to my first erotic masseuse a month ago, and went back last week. She's a private masseuse, working out of an apartment. The first time, after about 30 minutes lying on my stomach, she asked me to turn over and started the handjob. I asked her to take off her bra because it was taking me a long time to get hard (I think I was nervous). She let me fondle her breasts, and that worked great.

The next time, after I turned over, I asked her about the bra, and she let me remove it. I was in heaven, and hard as a rock. But no release in sight. I gently tugged at her panties, and after a few minutes she slipped them off. Then for a few minutes I fingered her and licked her while she continued to pull and tug - but she didn't seem to be in any hurry. Then she climbed onto the massage table next to me and gently kissed me. We lay like that for awhile, playing with each other. Then I asked her to lie down for a massage from me. That went on for a few minutes until I climbed up on the table, on my needs, straddling her body. I played with her breasts and fingered her while she continued to jack me off. Finally I came, on her front. She got up pretty quickly to clean herself off, which just seemed to make sense to me. I apologized for getting carried away, and she said "don't worry, we were just having fun." And it was all for the same amount I paid for that first visit.

Now all your male readers are thinking I'm the luckiest jerk in the world.

But my question to you is, if you were this girl's friend, would you be telling her to back off, find the exit and tell me to go away? She is, by the way, half me age and absolutely beautiful.

I'm a little worried that I'm creating a situation that will only escalate, and end up hurting both of us. She's already dear to me, and I wouldn't want to do anything to hurt her.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree asians are better in general at giving massages and have a more pleasant atmosphere (ones that give the appearance of being legit anyways-never knowingly been to one of those happyending places). The American product is not as good sorry to say (at least the ones I've been to).

Anonymous said...

Greg, to add some additional input/insight regarding non-erotic:

1. Some places may, simply because there are people who have had a hissy regarding the gender of their therapist at the time of their massage. A Massage Envy I worked for did. If you have a preference, be sure to let them know when you book your appointment. From my experience, the male massage therapists are typically more skilled than the female therapists because of trying to disprove the reverse prejudice.

2. I personally am a fan of chiropractic work--but only from a chiropractor and chiros are similar to MTs in that they each have their own touch and that touch isn't necessarily the best touch for YOU.

There have been a couple of instances in my own practice where a client's spine or joint has "popped" due to the work on an adjoining muscle, but it was merely a by-product of the muscular work rather than a focus of the overall work.

Whether or not there should be "some pain regardless" depends on what field/branch of massage you're going for. Trigger point work, some forms or techniques of sports massage, etc can produce a great deal of discomfort--but you also need to keep in mind that if it's PAINFUL it's not beneficial because the muscles are defending themselves rather than the issue being resolved. I tell my table clients to guage on a scale of 1 to 10, 7 being that involuntary gasp of "that's a sharp/surprising pain." You want a 5 or 6 when doing trigger points, where it's a "good hurt" or it feels good to have that "hurt."

3. Regarding flipping.... I had a client who preferred to start face-up and then he'd flip to face down. Most MTs have a basic framework they function within in terms of "routine" but most also will devote more focus to trouble areas or as requested by the client. My own basic framework for a full-body is shoulders/neck, back, glutes, legs, feet; feet, legs, arms, neck, scalp/face. I sanitize my hands after feet, or I work them through the drape (sheet). I also generally do glutes through the drape because so many people are squeemish about having their rear end touched/exposed.

To expound further on some other things stated/commented--I tell my clients that their disrobing is to their comfort level. I had one gal that started stripping down in front of me while we were discussing preliminary paperwork, and I've had other clients that kept ALL of their undergarments on (one even kept on their pants). I'm one of those MTs that uses a sheet rather than a towel, and only exposes the area that is specifically being worked. In the case of an erection, headlights, or farting--I simply ignore it unless the client nervously mentions it, in which case I'll say something about it merely being a bodily function and to not worry about it.

4. This one I am adament about and is one of my biggest points of client education, whether it be at one of my workshops, in my chair, or on my table: IT IS __YOUR__ SESSION!! You are paying for a service, you need to speak up to insure you're getting service you're happy with. One of the downfalls to being an MT is that we cannot get under our own hands. Yeah, we can do a little rubbing of our shoulder or neck, etc, but we can't fully relax to it because we're using the muscles we're trying to relax. Communication is key to a great massage--a massage that is too light is truly aggrevating (I'm in a PISSY mood for days afterwards), and a massage that is too deep/heavy can be painful and damaging. SPEAK UP! (but don't be rude about it). If they get their panties in a know about you speaking up about YOUR session it's time to find a different therapist.

Another Female MT

Anonymous said...

erm,that was supposed to be "panties in a knot."


S.C. said...

I like doing a relaxing massage too - easiest on the wrists.

Anonymous said...

As someone with a history of back problems (severely pulled muscle in college) and some knee problems as well, I've paid out many thousands of dollars over the years to LMTs. The best ones are those that ask very specific questions before we begin -- what is hurting, what is your tolerance for hard or soft, etc. I enjoy a relaxing massage from time to time, but when I'm on the table, it's because I was in pain when I walked in the door and want less pain when I leave. And the kinks in my back are such that it usually takes a pretty strong therapist to work them out.

Consequently, I tip more than the $20 you suggest -- I pay for an hour and I know that I'd be very tired at the end of that hour if it were me doing all that work. I also have no patience for a therapist who, after asking what hurts and how hard I want the massage to be, just tries to give me a basic rub down. That's a low tip massage and no return visit.

I still miss the LMT who took care of me for more than four years. Someone in tune with your muscular issues is worth his or her weight in gold in my opinion.

As for the roll over problem so many people here mention/discuss, I ALWAYS have a woody when I roll over and, like CJ says, I've NEVER had a LMT mention it, touch it, or call attention to it in any way. I suppose I wouldn't object if one did reach under the towel and proceed to the happy ending, but that's not why I'm there. It would kind of feel like my doctor offering to provide that service as part of my prostate exam...

I'll offer another reason to be down on AMPs. The folks who work on issues of human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking, in the US are very clear that a large portion of the women working in AMPs are slaves -- they can't leave, they are not paid, and they are regularly abused by the owners of the places where they "work." I say work in quotation marks, because work implies pay, and many, if not most of the women in those places are enslaved. Don't believe me, read Siddartha Kara's book on sex trafficking...

Anonymous said...

Great blog! Everything is this post makes perfect sense and it's what I always assumed, so I haven't yet embarrassed myself. :) But I'm wondering how to investigate whether a day spa woman might be interested in an outside of-work-appointment where she could keep all the money and a happy ending (or more) could be discussed. I just had a massage in a day spa and the woman was really uninhibited and to my disbelief I was sure she was going to start massaging my package, etc. She didn't, but when she saw I was starting to get turned on, she began to gently squeeze and massage my nipples. Not super subtle! She was Asian with decent English, and was quite complimentary and flirty as well. It was great and if that's all she does, I'll still go back and give her good tips. But, man, I wish I could just blurt out the f'ing question. :) I gave her my card, and that's all I can think to do discretely. I made some jokes about taking her home with me, and she said, "OK, let go." Maybe if I keep going back she'll bring up any other possibilities. I realize she's probably just having fun and interested in a better tip, which is OK too.

Anonymous said...

I remember while my wife and I were getting a massage IN THE SAME ROOM. my therapist, while massaging my chest had her boobs all over my face and both were trying not to laugh. I though my wife was the one laughing because she is ticklish on her feet. But when I asked her, it was the two therapists. I had a few good bumps as well. have you ever heard of a guy getting happy ending while the wife was in the same room with another therapist?

Anonymous said...

Found this that helped me:

Opinionated White Trash said...

Just had a regular massage at a chain day spa. The therapist had me raging by the flip and she concentrated a lot on my upper thighs. She massaged closer and closer, painfully inching. And finally, she did it. But this is definitely not the norm. My wife was shocked when I told her, she said she's never heard of that and she did therapy for years and never do it to anyone either. I never asked. Well maybe by member did... I'll be seeing her soon. I plan to take more cash to tip her better. She caught me a bit off guard.

Balam said...

What's a table shower? Is that the same as a vichy shower? If so, I know of tons of places that do "legit" vichy showers and definitely no happy endings. I think they're fairly common at spas with wet rooms.

Patrick said...

At my legit day spa Im noticing my new MT is massaging my upper thigh/pubic area on the flip. She definitely puts pressure on it and yeah she definitely notices. I've been getting her for 2 months now.