Why We Don't Use The Term 'Masseuse' Anymore

Massage Therapist vs. Masseuse

By Carolina Cuartas - April 30, 2018

The term you should never use: masseuse.

Many people believe that "Massage Therapist", "LMT", and "Masseuse" mean the same thing. Technically speaking yes, they are. But the term has been misused and it’s crucial to understand why you should address your therapist properly.

The term masseuse originated from France in the late 1800's and it means "a woman who performs a massage." Unfortunately, overtime the term has been misused to refer to massage parlors, unlicensed, untrained professionals, and “happy endings”. The sex industry has used this term for their workers who perform sexual acts during a client's massage. The new connotation of the term is dangerous to use. It implies that we spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on education and licensure requirements just to become prostitutes.

Why You Should Use The Term "Massage Therapist"

You should be aware that your massage therapist has worked hard to obtain a license and deserves to be addressed with the professional title that they have earned. They are medical professionals who have completed an extensive training program and are licensed to practice. Only once you are certified to practice, you are able to use the term L.M.T (Licensed Massage Therapist) and C.M.P (Certified Massage Practitioner). After completion of their primary education, many therapists continue their educations by learning new skills and techniques that will help improve their practice.

Massage therapists have to ability to listen to their client’s needs and assess them accordingly. They are professional and are trained to manipulate muscles and other soft tissue to relieve pain and reduce stress. Your massage therapist is not there to promote a promiscuous lifestyle or fulfill a sexual need, he or she is there too improve your health and wellness.


"Over the past 30-plus years, massage professionals have worked to help get laws enacted that protect titles that reflect their training and professional standards. Today, state laws protect titles including massage therapist, massage practitioner and massage technician.” (Source).

In an article written by Massage Magazine, the writer states, “Masseur is to massage therapist as stewardess to flight attendant” (Source). This is a great way to describe how it feels be called a masseuse or masseur. Your therapist is not there be eye candy and sell sex. LMT’s take their job very seriously and they consider "masseuse" a derogatory term toward their profession and their personal virtue.

Unfortunately, even in the 21st century, people still can't separate massage and sex work. We need to learn that the term “masseuse” does not have anything to do with the medical community and has to deal with a massage with a sexual ending. Your therapist isn’t trying to be condescending or mean when he or she corrects you, it’s just a term everyone needs to stop using when addressing an LMT.

So please, never misuse the term masseuse.

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