Difference Between Massage Therapist & Masseuse

Massage Therapist vs Masseuse

Massage therapy, involving the massaging of the body’s soft tissues and muscles with hands and fingers to alleviate soreness, has long been used to provide relief and rejuvenation. The individuals providing these massages were traditionally known as masseurs or masseuses, depending on their gender. However, the term “massage therapist” is becoming more common, referring to someone who has received formal training in massage techniques. This article aims to clarify the differences between these two terms.

Key Takeaways

  • Masseuse is a gender-specific term for a female who provides massages, while a massage therapist can be either male or female and has studied massage therapy techniques.
  • A massage therapist is a registered professional who focuses on providing relief from pain and rejuvenation, without any association with sexual favors.
  • The term masseuse has become associated with sensuality and even prostitution, giving the profession of massage therapy a negative connotation.


When discussing doctors, we don’t typically specify their gender, so why do we refer to a massage provider as a masseuse if she is female and a masseur if he is male? The distinction arose because the respected profession of massage therapy became associated with massage parlors, where female providers were sometimes equated with prostitutes. This association has given the term masseuse a negative connotation, despite the fact that some masseuses may be skilled massage providers. The implication of sexual favors, however, has tarnished the reputation of massage therapy in general.

Massage Therapist

A massage therapist, on the other hand, is a professional who has received full massage therapy training and is focused on pain alleviation and rejuvenation rather than providing sexual pleasures to clients. To become a massage therapist, an individual must complete a 3-year course and spend nearly $10,000 in tuition fees, studying books and practicing techniques before passing a written examination to receive certification. It can be frustrating for certified massage therapists to see people complete short weekend courses and call themselves massage therapists, charging the same rates as those with more extensive qualifications.

In summary, although some may believe that masseuse and massage therapist are interchangeable terms, there are key differences. A massage therapist is a registered professional with formal training, while a masseuse is a female provider associated with sensuality and prostitution. It is important to recognize the distinction between these two terms when discussing the practice of massage therapy.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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