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Author Topic: Tantric massage -- just prostitution or something else?
Michele
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posted 01-15-2002 02:03 PM     Profile for Michele   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I've been trying to find some objective sources on the practice of tantric massage/bodywork to educate myself about exactly what it *really* is & isn't. I've been discussing the topic with a nationally certified massage therapist who insists that the spiritual & therapeutic nature of the tantric work she sometimes does removes it from the realm of prostitution. While regulations in most states are pretty adamant in their restrictions on body parts not allowed to be touched (or even exposed), she practices in a neighboring state that has no such regs.

She's professional, knowledgeable, & (from what limited experience I've had working with her in regular venues like chair massage events & talking to her) seems concerned with ethics & helping her clients. I was quite surprised to find out she practices Tantric massage as part of her practice.

Is the whole thing just a good cover for the oldest profession, or is it a legitimate bodywork modality? Do those who espouse the benefits of tantric massage feel it is appropriate to charge for such services or does that remove its "spiritual" component & leave it hollow? How does the law (in both states with regs & those without) look upon it & those who practice it?

I'm not looking to change her opinions, or belittle her or what she does (she really seems sincere about her work, funny as that may sound), but I'd like to know what it's all about. Hard to discuss the issue with so little background.

Michele


Posts: 565 | From: New Castle, DE USA | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
nnatman
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posted 01-15-2002 03:26 PM     Profile for nnatman   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Michele:
I was intrigued by your question so I spent a few minutes doing some web searching.

From what I found it seems like there is a form of "Tantric massage" that is therapeutic and doesn't seem to involve touching of the genitals, although it may involve the client learning to harness and/or release sexual energy(and by release I don't mean orgasm).

But there is also a large segment of "therapists" both male and female who provide and slyly advertise services those of us on this board don't provide. Such as a male LA bodybuilder with a website showing pictures of himself barely clothed and advertising that his Tantric work "does involve release".
I guess it all depends on the therapist. Tantric is a type of eastern energy practice that does involve sexuality and perhaps our culture has become overly involved with that aspect of Tantric. So some people use the lable of "Tantric" to draw the kind of clients we all try to avoid.

It does sound as if your friend is professional and I would give her the benefit of the doubt about her work.

natman


Posts: 139 | From: madison, WI, USA | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged
weeks
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posted 01-15-2002 06:48 PM     Profile for weeks   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Hey Michele & Natman,

I've traded massage with a Tantric oriented therapist and, arriving at the fork in the road, found it interesting to take the one less traveled (as that was the intention).
Being in the moment, energized and awake has a nice edge, not unlike snorkeling in the tide pools near Kapoho.
If you know of any Tantric therapists coming to Hawii , let me know!


Posts: 618 | From: Kailua-Kona, HI | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
beamer5000
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posted 01-15-2002 08:55 PM     Profile for beamer5000     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Someone please describe what this is? What does a typical session include and what is happening during the session that would be causing eyebrows to be raised?
Posts: 296 | From: WA | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michele
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posted 01-16-2002 07:46 AM     Profile for Michele   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
From what I've been able to find, it consists of regualr massage movements that generally relax the client, then move the focus to sexual energy by massaging around the genitals, sometimes including the genitals to the point of release. It supposedly helps the client train themselves to extend their sexual experiences & learn how to focus their energy physically, spiritually, & emotionally.

Like natman mentioned, many hide behind the label to cover for illegal activities. But the therapist I've talked to who does this type of massage (sometimes as part of her practice) insists that although she does massage the genitals to release, it's a small part of the entire session. She claims to center on the spiritual energy of the client. One thing she brought up that I thought rather interesting (for lack of a better word!) is that she occasionally works with clients who have sexual dysfunctions -- whether the result of surgery, medication, or medical conditions -- & can help them regain their sex lives with their significant others. While I find that perhaps a little too much to process, she adamantly insists it's true.

Like I said, this woman is not some 20 year old looking to make a quick buck. She's certified, knows her stuff, does a lot of free work with people who can't afford her services (regular or tantric ), seems to be concerned about her clients, & comes off as a professional. Shoot, she's almost 50 years old -- not a "hoochy mama" -- every bit the average lady at the mall, you know? You could've knocked me over with a feather when she told me this!! [Nice to know I can still be surprised sometimes, eh?]

To be honest, I like the woman & don't think she's a hooker. Of course I've been wrong before, but I'm inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt & assume she's doing what she sees as a good deed.

Michele


Posts: 565 | From: New Castle, DE USA | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
hands2u
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posted 01-16-2002 01:52 PM     Profile for hands2u   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
In my experience, the non-Therapists & general public has been using Tantra as a way to explore many sexual aspects using "massage" as an introductory avenue.

However, I do know a certified therapist that says Tantra is very spiritual and she uses this as a method to channel the clients energies & inner emotions. She is also very professional and into Eastern & Indian & Thai aspects of massage.


Posts: 20 | From: Tuckerton, NJ | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Anne
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posted 01-16-2002 03:33 PM     Profile for Anne     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Another view:

Let's see...it is the exchange of cash for sexual 'release'/orgasm/pleasure. Doesn't that define prostitution? Michele, I hear that your friend is qualified in massage. However, I would add that there have been sophisticated madams (ie.college degrees, etc.). I don't see how she can continue to practice and not be vulnerable to arrest. Isn't she concerned about this? What about her ethics concerns...here I would lose my license.

Does she work with men and women for this tantric massage? Because I would definitely have hygiene concerns even were I one of her 'plain' clients.

I should add that I did a little research myself and got to read about a description of the session for a man. Beamer, if you want to know where you can read about it as well, send me a private message and I will try to send you a link.


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Michele
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posted 01-17-2002 07:56 AM     Profile for Michele   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Anne:

All good questions that I asked her myself. Apparently, in the unregulated state she practices in, there are only specific definitions of prostitution that are the kind we all know -- no intercourse, etc. However, she actually documents sessions in terms that when read sound exactly like the notes one would see in any patient's chart -- for example, "massage to ischiocavernosus muscle" or "stretches applied to cremaster muscle". Anyone reading the client's chart (especially those not familiar with those muscles) would assume nothing out of the ordinary. I don't know if she documents everything she does.....

She insists she uses Universal Precautions. And in light of the fact that we never know what a therapist does in their private life, with whom, & whether they are careful or not in their own activities, I think that isn't the biggest concern unless we start grilling our LMT's about their personal lives as well. That's why Universal Precautions should be the catch phrase in our professional practices & we should expect it when we go to another LMT.

I pointed out to her that she could be jeopardizing her national certification, but she says that she doesn't use the title "massage therapist" when doing this type of massage, but instead calls herself a "body sage". A lawyer she consulted about this point advised her that since she is not promoting what she does as massage (she refers to it as "tantric bodywork") & doesn't use the title for which she is nationally certified, she therefore isn't technically violating any rules or standards of the boards anymore than if she was an exotic dancer part-time. Apples & oranges I guess -- a technicality.

I agree with you in that it's a weird situation, with lots of gray area. I'd rather see such practitioners be allowed to work openly as something other than anything related to massage therapy. But like I said, you could've knocked me over with a feather when she told me this stuff. And I thought I was hard to surprise!

Michele


Posts: 565 | From: New Castle, DE USA | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
beamer5000
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posted 01-19-2002 03:33 AM     Profile for beamer5000     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
And people wonder why massage is not taken seriously as a part of health care! AND,why is everybody calling ejaculation/orgasm "release". The simple fact that you can't call it what it is implies that yourself think there is something smarmy about what it involves. I couldn't care less if this person was some sort of sex therapist or had a specific credentials for this type of therapy. What bothers me is that it's called "Massage" or even worse "therapeutic bodywork". I don't care what this person does as long as they are not calling it "massage therapy". It should be called adult entertainment or sex therapy plain and simple. It's just one more reason for me to be embarrassed at the unprofessional behaviour among so many massage therapists.
Posts: 296 | From: WA | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged
carmela
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posted 01-21-2002 10:24 AM     Profile for carmela     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I know that there are sex therapists, or "surrogates", who work with men to correct physical/emotional sexual dysfunctions. I believe that's in the realm of psychology, though. And I've always thought that profession was a gray area.

Tantra, "awakening the kundalini", are Eastern spiritual practices, but the spirituality got lost in the Western translation. I don't think the U.S. is ready for it- heck, we've barely scratched the surface of yoga!

So what if this woman consulted a lawyer and worked out the semantics? She could still get into trouble if she uses the same space to do both aspects of her business. For example, if she were a real estate agent and stripped as a sideline, I think she would get in trouble if she did a strip-o-gram at the office for a coworker's birthday.

I sure this woman believes in the relevance of what she's doing, but I think she needs to reevaluate the legal aspects. Also, remember that her state doesn't have "don't touch that" regs.


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Gary
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posted 01-25-2002 07:25 PM     Profile for Gary     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
While i like to think i am pretty open minded about sexuality,.. I find myself a little sensitive about this topic. While there is nothing "smarmy" about raising "sexual" energy during massage. In fact that is the premise of Chi gung to raise sexual energy and (here's the catch) To save or store it! Yes fellow bodyworkers the idea is to save it. doing a release at that point is not only irresponsible it is potentially hazardous to the health of the individual (on a long term basis (life energy)) I am no know it all but i am well read on the subject and that is universally agreed on. It should be saved for a specific islated release/orgasm NOT as a regular therapy....
Posts: 8 | From: Orlando, Florida | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged

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