European Medical School Of Massage holds high ethics in the industry. Being an accredited school, we hold accountable our students once they are out of the school and practice in the field.

This story I am sharing with you is from someone out west who posted the story on LinkedIn, it gives an example of what can happen when a student receives bad training from a school and tries to secure a job after graduation. This story is a woman’s experience evaluating this therapist for a potential job opportunity.

This article will open your eyes what to look for and to avoid a bad massage experience. Enjoy!…I should say “Learn”

“Helping the shop owner hire a new therapist, I agreed to receive a massage as part of the interview.  Lucky me.  It was the worst massage ever.  Here’s why.  Maybe this can be a learning tool for some of you. ???

The session did not start well, and I struggled to remain positive and keep an open mind.  Here is how it went.  I know that you might think I’m nitpicking on some of these things, but when it’s all added up, it gives a better picture.

He was late.

He didn’t bring his sheets.

He did not bring his lotion or a holster.  (I know not everyone uses holsters).

He referred to the bolster as a “foot rest, ” and when I told him I preferred a pillow, he simply left the pillow on top of the table without placing it.

He didn’t offer a blanket and with the AC cranked on to 75, and with the ceiling fan going, I was chilly.

He applied some rocking, but it felt “pokey” instead of broad and warming.  It made me tighten up.

Instead of folding down the drape he slid it down and this I found to be irritating, feeling the sheet slide down my back, not knowing if or when it would stop.  It stopped too low, and then he readjusted it once and then again.

He stepped away, got the lotion, and then I could hear him rubbing his hands together, which for me is all pet peeves.

He then returned to the table, and I could feel the weight of his body against the side of the face cradle.

He directed me to take a deep breath in and before I started to exhale he used heavy pressure from the heels of his hands down along each side of my spine quickly.  This caught my by surprise, hearing two popping of ribs, I yelped and held my breath.

It gets worse…

Something was scratching me, something on his hand, something like a hangnail, but rougher.  I soon realized that he was taking brief breaks to scratch or itch his palms which reminded me of a friend of mine who had psoriasis on the palms of her hands.

I was trying to keep an open mind.  My shop owner liked him, and I knew he needed to hire someone quickly because we’ve been short-handed. I tried to clear my mind and relax and think positively.  This was a struggle throughout the hour, constantly trying to be open minded and relax.  I found myself getting angry instead.

While prone he worked my arms, but instead of having me in “flying superman” position, he sat in the chair beside me, working my hand palm up and elbow bent and pointing upward.  At times, I could feel my hand against his pants, and I pulled it away and bunched up my fingers so that I wasn’t touching him, but this just turned into a little tug of war.  Did he not notice how contorted my hand and arm had become? Did he not notice how stiff and unrelaxed I was?

One thing I think is important to note, for victims of sexual assault, not including myself personally, many of our clients take a passive-aggressive position when it comes to being touched without our consent or desire to being touched.  We remain silent, waiting for our expression of disdain to be noticed, regarded, considered.  We count the minutes until it’s over.  We parrot the words taught to us by adults in our childhood who said things like, “don’t complain, don’t make this about you, don’t be so selfish, don’t cause a scene, don’t  hurt others’ feelings by telling them to stop doing what they’re doing, be considerate, just shut up and enjoy the moment, you’re making it worse than it is.”  And while I was not a victim of sexual assault, I was taught to be demure and passive and silent, polite and pleasant.  Trying to keep an open mind, remaining positive, knowing that this guy needed a job and my shop owner needed a new therapist, I was aiming to please.  I remained silent, hoping this CMT would notice that I was tense, holding my breath, pulling away.  He did neither.

He bent my arm, the elbow that I’d reported was injured, in pain, and placed my hand behind my back without asking if it was okay.

He went to the opposite shoulder and said, “that’s a big one there” and just left it alone.  I have no idea what he meant or why, if he were saying I had a “big knot,” he would not give it any more attention.

He moved quickly from finger to shoulder, to wrist to the bicep, to cap, to the wrist, without a rhythm, without flow, structure or plan or ask me how it felt.

He adjusted my arm and readjusted it again, readjusting his body from one side of me to the other.  I thought that at any moment he’d say, “Hm, I forgot what to do next.”

It was as if he’d never massaged anyone before in his life but was practicing the “fake it until you make it” theory of success.  It was like he had learned or created a few fancy techniques without so much as understanding the basics.

He worked one side of my back, and then both at the same time, and then up and back to my neck and then my wrist.
You know the massage move you see in movies and TV where the woman stands behind her love interest and grasps his traps her hands and kneads them like dough?  Yeah, he did that, but with a finger and a thumb.

Every few minutes he’d take his hands off of me completely and step away from the table to get lotion, then the rubbing of the hands together, which I’ve mentioned is a pet peeve of mine and the reason why I wore my lotion on a holster and learned to pump and warm the lotion without making a sound.

When he moved to work my gluteus, he used pokey pressure rather than broad.

He did not undrape my gluteals, which I figured was a sign that he did not know how and I did not especially mind that he left me covered.

He poked against my sacrum and then, the unthinkable happened.  His thumb or elbow crossed the line of the ischium, and I could feel the pressure against my rectum.  It was brief.  Now, I was mad and about to get up when he directed me to turn over.

Instead of lifting up the sheet he held it down so that my legs got tangled up in the fabric and he wasn’t in a position to help me.

He asked me to take my arms out from under the sheet.

Because I was chilly, I was very uncomfortable about having my “high beams” poke through the sheet.  I knew there was no blanket in the room, or towel, so oh well.

He didn’t work my pecs, which I understand that some male therapists are reluctant to work women’s pecs, and by this time I was all right with though I’d generally be disappointed.

He then moved on to work my neck, but not by massaging my neck so much as moving my head around.  This, I resisted and found that we were battling again, I held tight and tense, and he tried harder to move my head.  I told him to stop it, and he apologized.

He gently and awkwardly stroked my scalp, in a circle and then not a circle.  I’m not sure why MTs gently rub the scalp, not to massage the muscle and frontalis.

Through the whole massage, he gave little tugs and twists, little jerks at the end of strokes, like he was trying to pop me.  To think he was planning on doing the same with my head and neck I found disturbing.

On a positive note, he did ask from time to time how I was doing.  I had to ask him each time to repeat what he’d asked because I couldn’t hear him.

I admit it; I lied when I said I was fine.  Shoot me.

When I was getting ready to leave he instructed me to drink a lot of water.

I looked at my shop owner, and he knew there was something I needed to talk about.  (Brilliant man, I love him.)

When I got home, I called him and told him everything.  He offered me a make-up massage and assured me that he’d not be taking on this new guy.

“K” if you’re reading this, go back to school, hire a mentor, a consultant, a personal instructor.  Don’t give up if this is your passion and if this isn’t your passion then stop practicing massage altogether.”