Creative Arts with Patrick Moore

Melting Muscles Theory (book excerpt)
July 24, 2017, 5:17 pm
Filed under: compassion, exercise, hands-on healing, healthcare, massage, self-help

Why Muscles Tense and How they Resolve-

-the Theory of Melting Muscles

Including similarities and differences to Dr. Sarno’s Model

2017 Preface

The theory of Melting Muscles was not influenced by the late John Sarno’s books.

The first time I read his book was early in 2017. The theory of Melting Muscles was completed in 2001, 16 years before I had read Dr. Sarno’s book. I published about ten articles and eBooks on Melting Muscles between 2002 and 2016. Someone might say there are similarities between Dr. Sarno’s ideas and Melting Muscles, and there are, but I doubt this is because Dr. Sarno’s books had somehow influenced me or my teachers. Although his books had been published by the time I was in massage school, I believe his ideas were not influential in the physical therapies in the 1990s, probably because Dr. Sarno advocated people with muscle tension should avoid physical therapy, and I imagine physical therapy educators probably avoided Dr. Sarno’s concepts for this reason. That leaves us with, any similarities between Dr. Sarno’s ideas and my own are not just coincidental, but synchronistic: human discoveries that are enlightening, happen to agree or supplement each other.

I began writing this book, on the theory behind Melting Muscles, about five years ago, before I had read Dr. Sarno. The book would have come into existence even had I not read Dr. Sarno. It is not necessary for me to describe here Dr. Sarno’s ideas, in order for you to understand the Theory of Melting Muscles. However, it may be helpful.

I just learned that millions of people have read Dr. Sarno’s books and seen him on TV talk shows and documentaries (which I missed since I stopped watching TV in the early 80s). I recognize that for readers, having something they know as a stepping stone that can be compared with and contrasted to the newer idea of Melting Muscles, offers a more thorough understanding. I admit I may also get more readers with his name on my cover. Selling more books is not my first interest, unless ideas that serve people well, will reach more people.

Overall I am glad Dr. Sarno wrote what he did. I imagine his model helped many people. I also have concerns that the help he offered was … incomplete, or even … hasty. Evidence of his lack of thoroughness is, that in the ten regions where people usually have muscle pain, he said after his treatments the pain would go away but not the tenderness upon palpation. To me this means the tensions have not been resolved but only reduced their reporting volume. I have hope that a more complete model will help future therapists, and tense people, to more completely resolve and embrace tensions.


 What you will learn from The Theory of Melting Muscles:

  • How tension is created
  • How the Brain or Subconscious (BoS) strategizes the resolution of emotional tension by creating muscular tension:
    • Suggesting the subconscious is much different from how Dr. Sarno has presented it. The subconscious is the supervisor of the many trillion cells, dozens of organs and physical systems of the body of any animal. Its chief concern and mission is to maintain health, or when the organism has become imbalanced, to restore balance in the animal.
    • Questioning Dr. Sarno’s belief that the subconscious initiates repression and wishes to continue repression, indefinitely.
      • Suggesting instead, the subconscious will only repress in survival emergencies (like a childhood trauma) and not for comfort, preference or avoidance. In cases where repression is initiated for survival physical or psychological, the subconscious initiates a plan at the moment of repression, specifically for how and when that repression will find its way to light again, once the child has gained enough skills, supports, resources and opportunity. The moment these are present, the subconscious is intensely motivated to relieve the burden of repression, bring the material to light and restore the organisms balance that has been diminished all these years.
      • Suggesting that the subconscious, initiates the resurfacing of repressed emotions through muscle tension. This is the opposite to Dr. Sarno’s view. He believed the subconscious initiated muscle tension in order to repress more. I believe the subconscious initiates muscle tension in order to bring repressed material to the surface.
      • Using muscle tension as a way to bring repressed emotions to the surface, honestly, is smart, for those people who would find emotions too embarrassing to deal with directly. The subconscious knows what kind of person this is, and calculates the methods of restoring balance based on a love for the person and a wish to serve.
      • If there is a part-of-self that represses anything unpleasant, embarrassing or painful, and hopes to keep those things repressed indefinitely, that part-of-self would not be the subconscious. The subconscious is not at all swayed by the threat of unpleasantness, embarrassment or pain. In fact the BoS will create these three effects, when it feels this is necessary to improve vitality, organism function or self-sufficiency.
    • Proposing muscle tension is one way the Brain or Subconscious (BoS) wishes to serve the person, to regain balance, increase vitality, resiliency and self-sufficiency which are natural to all organisms.
  • The role of ischemia (reduced blood flow) in muscle pain:
    • Ischemia can only occur after muscle tension has increased.
      • Blood vessels may constrict, but only with the help of sphincter muscles which contract in order to constrict blood flow.
      • Muscle tension in other areas also constricts blood flow. For example muscle tension in the shoulders or hips, constricts venous blood from returning from the arms or legs.
      • Deliberate muscle tensions precede deliberate restrictions in blood flow.
    • I believe (differently than Dr. Sarno) that Muscle tension occurs earlier in the causal chain than ischemia.
    • A more plausible model than Sarno’s Ischemia model, for how the brain enacts guarding in a local area of the body, would be the motor-voltage hypothesis.
      • The brain wishing to reduce range of motion, increase stiffness, irritation, discomfort and pain in a specific region, has only to send from the motor cortex a slightly higher percentage of voltage down the motor nerve to one specific muscle. This doesn’t need to be a 100% contraction (or spasm) but may be a mild contraction at first.
  • Why Pain?
    • The Brain or Subconscious (BoS) does not wish to distract the person by using pain, as Dr. Sarno says.
      • It wishes instead to serve the person to shift a thought or behavior pattern to be healthier, more balanced, more resilient, more developed, to restore what would be natural for that species at that stage.
    • If a small contraction is enough to get their attention, so that they behave differently, so that balance is restored, the BoS is happy giving only mildly increased muscle tension.
    • Only when the person has ignored milder tensions does the BoS increase tension enough to cause pain.
    • The purpose of the BoS causing gentle muscle tension, up to terrible muscle pain, is to serve the person: to help the person rebalance around a choice, lifestyle, behavior or thought pattern that has pulled the person’s organism off balance, reducing vitality or reducing the likelihood of survival.
    • The moment the person changes the imbalancing pattern, the BoS will end the muscle tension or pain. There is no lag time. The subconscious is not the laggard slothful slug that Dr. Sarno makes it out to be.
  • Treatment: how muscle tension may be is addressed and resolved in the brain through a combination of sensation and motor interventions
    • Self-help methods like aerobic regular exercise, written exercises, creative arts, expressive dance, &tc.
    • Physical therapies including
      • Osteopathic Indirect Techniques (like Upledger’s craniosacral, Jones’ Strain/Counterstrain, Chikly’s brain work, Barral’s visceral manipulation and neural manipulation series and the many fascial unwinding techniques.)
      • Melting Muscles muscle pressure method.
    • Mental talk therapies.
  • A realistic prognosis:
    • It is difficult to see how emotional tensions could “disappear” with Dr. Sarno’s approach. The pain may disappear, but what happened to the emotional tensions? I am afraid to even guess…
    • Emotional tensions can resolve with bodywork, but this will be more expensive, take longer and lack the depth, accuracy, efficiency and speed of talk therapies. Talk therapists have vastly superior education, experience and understanding regarding emotionally caused tensions. Going to a bodyworker or physician when you have emotional problems is like taking your broken car to a carpenter.
    • Emotional tensions resolve best with the help of a person trained and experienced to deal with emotional issues. It is extremely difficult (nearly impossible) for a person to self-diagnose and self-help things he is actively hiding from himself. We are all in this situation. Everyone has these issues. And we are all embarrassed to go to talk therapists. My advice: we all need to get over it! We need the help! Instead we seek out people to help us who have little or no experience and training, because we hope they won’t expose our vulnerabilities. We seek incompetent people to do things for us that require competence. We seek professionals who we calculate won’t be able to accurately see our games. We need instead to seek people who are smart enough and experienced enough to see through our games.
    • Still, many people will never in this life seek out a talk therapist capable of seeing thorugh their games. For these people, many will go instead to physical therapists, massage therapists, personal trainers, yoga teachers, physicians, nutritionists, occupational therapists and so forth. We non-talk therapists need to be prepared for these people. It is not unethical for us to treat them using less efficient methods to help them resolve their tensions without actually being vulnerable. Still we should do this without fooling ourselves or them. We should let them know, you would get better a lot faster and more thoroughly if only you would go to a talk therapist. If they say, Yeah I know but I want to stay with you, at least this is informed consent.


What’s in the Book:

1. First I will give a succinct explanation of the late John Sarno M.D.’s model of Healing Back Pain.
2. Then I will describe the areas of his model that concern me and why. Some of my concerns are small: does it really matter whether muscle pain is caused more by lack of oxygen, or by increased voltage down the motor nerve? Not that much. But other parts of his model concern me more. Where do the emotional tensions go? How are they resolved or embraced? Are they resolved with Dr. Sarno’s treatment? Or have they just gone into a deeper, alternate repression? Is the absence of pain, enough evidence to prove the emotional tensions have been resolved?
3. Now we come to the theory of melting muscles. This is the body of the book.
a. First is the model that a tight muscle is one that is receiving excess voltage from the brain, down the motor nerve.
b. The hardness of a muscle tells the therapist that excess voltage is being conducted to this muscle.
c. A number of factors must be present for the brain to feel safe enough to reduce the voltage, a dozen factors I describe from
i. the shortened position, to …
ii. … to the nonjudgmental compassionate relationship.
d. The therapist knows the voltage is being reduced when he feels the muscle softening. Some readers may think the “melting sense” the practitioner experiences is too subjective. After all, practitioners supposedly feel “cranial motion” and this has been called into question since there is no proof anything has changed.
i. No fear. Range of motion (ROM) can be tested for any muscle, giving clear, objective evidence that the brain has reduced voltage to the muscle.
4. Once Melting Muscles has led to the muscle being more relaxed (less voltage, better range of motion), what conclusions can the therapist make, regarding the original tension?
a. Clearly the physical tension has reduced, but does this indicate the emotional tension is being resolved, or embraced?
b. Is the melting of muscle tension a better indicator, than Dr. Sarno’s absence of pain, that emotional tension has been resolved or embraced?
c. I leave this question for readers to determine, since I am biased.
5. After the voltage model, I offer other explanations, models and perspectives for how tension/dis-ease is created, and how it resolves (or is embraced) with the help of a compassionate therapist/helper person. These perspectives include spiritual, energetic, metaphysical, interpersonal, mirror neurons, group mind, quantum physics and neoplatonic.
6. The above bullet list is now fleshed-out with fuller explanations of how and why therapy works when it works, and how it doesn’t work when it doesn’t, what part the subconscious plays, how physical therapists and physicians can work with people and communicate in a way that will either help them resolve their issues, or steer them to other therapies that will work better.
7. For Appendix One I give a step-by-step instruction, with a dozen hi-res photos, how to resolve the tension in your own neck (head-rotator muscles that cross the the atlas and axis) using the Melting Muscles technique. See for yourself that it works. Then puzzle for yourself, how it works.
8. Appendix Two includes short quotes from the 1991 book Healing Back Pain by John Sarno (2010 kindle version) with my comments and questions.

relaxing her obliquus inferior muscle

relieving the atlas and axis by relaxing the muscle between


Sunday Discovery Workshops

balance DSC_6715

 .. it is important to stay balanced …

Sunday Workshop Series

for Personal Growth, Relationship and Life

These are workshops I have taught for years to therapists for their continuing education. Certain of my workshops are just as meaningful to non-therapists, so I have scheduled these titles for therapists on Sundays and (space permitting) inviting non-therapists to also attend.

To sign up for the Personal Discovery Workshops Newsletter, please use this link:

  • Location: Patrick Moore Home Office near Tohono Chul Park, near Oracle Road and Ina, NW Tucson, AZ 85704
  • Register by contacting Patrick: Contact Me
  • Class size: 1-10 students.
  • Half-price for non-therapists (except Reiki). (Prices for therapists are higher because for them I must produce handouts, certificates, take attendance, keep records and report to state and national authorities.)
  • Workshop Style: new information, nonjudgmental, safe environment. Prepare to be challenged compassionately and to experience different perspectives. All workshops are partially improvised to respond to those present, to be relevant for your current interests and needs. Stimulates curiosity, presence, vulnerability and compassion.

JUNE 2017

Sunday, June 25, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (one hour break for lunch)

Equal-Power Partnerships at Work and Home

$60.00 for non-therapists ($120.00 for therapists).

When I was young my Dad always told me, for any two people, one will be dominant. He believed this was true in work (he was a construction worker) and in relationships with women. As an adult I have learned differently. In this workshop we explore how we can be equal with others. This is helpful both for those times we overexert our power and underexert. A relationship with two equals is best described as a partnership. The workshop is improvised to respond to those present, to be relevant for your current interests and needs.

JULY 2017

Sunday, July 9, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Reiki Level One (Shoden) Reiki Practitioner I

Reiki (lecture, hands-on, attunement)

$150.00, or take both Reiki I and II on successive Sundays for $325.00 (you save $75.00)

Reiki is a method that activates, or gives you a shortcut, to directing energy–or, the stuff our universe is made of. Reiki is a compassionate method for healing, resolving, embracing and transforming issues and ailments. Reiki is equally effective for oneself, to empower goals, to finesse problems, to learn new skills, resume arrested development, for personal discovery and spiritual growth.

Sunday, July 16, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (one hour break for lunch)

Reiki Level Two (Okuden) Reiki Practitioner II

Reiki (lecture, hands-on, hands-above, attunement)

$250.00, or take both Reiki I and II on successive Sundays for $325.00 (you save $75.00)

Includes instructions how to direct energy (or, the stuff our universe is made of) in the past, future and incrementally over any span of time. For those, like me, interested in the fabric of the universe, this is the fun part!

Sunday, July 30, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (one hour break for lunch)

Responding, Not Reacting – Being Nonjudgmental with Others and Yourself

$60.00 ($120.00 for therapists)

Nobody is perfect. We all react. Still, we may learn to redirect our reactions quickly, so that we don’t blast others, behave impulsively and suffer unnecessary consequences. This is what Mr. Rogers was talking about in his video to congress when he tells the lyrics to a song for children about restraining one’s reactions. What can we do instead of reacting? Responding! The alternatives to reacting may include: humor (non-sarcastic), play, funny gestures, expressions, vocalizations or movements, loving, nurturing, improvising, creativity, sharing, vulnerability, patience, presence and compassion. In this workshop we will practice with partners and discuss relevant scenarios, in a fun way.


Sunday, August 13, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Holistic Healing – a Model of Body & Mind as attributes of Essence

$50.00 ($100.00 for therapists)

Most of us know someone, or perhaps ourselves, who has faced an illness or behavior that threatens losses of functions, abilities, relationships or life itself. Facing such a harsh scene, many people suddenly question the meaning of life. Who are we? Why am I here? And this can be a good thing, if we engage these questions with curiosity, because the answers are often enlightening, fulfilling and empowering. Each person’s true essence is fully capable, and willing to embrace any challenge this world (or this body) throws at us. In this workshop we discuss life, death and health in a fun, fascinating light.

Sunday, August 27, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (one hour break for lunch)

Expectations – Theirs and Yours

$60.00 ($120.00 for therapists)

What an enlightening topic: to understand how many of our conflicts in life arise from unmet expectations. We drive ourselves crazy when we expect things of others they do not do, when we expect things of ourselves we do not do, and when others expect things of us we do not want to do! What’s the cure? It doesn’t take long to begin adjusting our expectations to be more realistic, and to begin negotiating kindly with others regarding their expectations of us.


Sunday, September 10, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (one hour break for lunch)

Melting Muscles Basic – Prone (hands-on-body, back massage, clothed)

$80.50 ($161.00 for therapists)

I have taught this method to about a thousand therapists, and a few dozen non-therapists. It is easy to learn and seems like magic when you feel a muscle melting under your hand. You will be receiving as much muscle-melting as you give. You will learn to relax about 15 muscles on the back of the body. Massage tables are provided. Wear sweats, pajamas or yoga clothing as we will be working through clothing (no jeans).


Sunday, September 24, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (one hour break for lunch)

Clothed Massage Relaxes Muscles Better

$69.00 ($138.00 for therapists) Some Hands-On. Wear loose or stretchy clothing, no jeans.

In this workshop we do some hands-on-body “melting muscles” through clothing, with the recipient face-up on massage tables. We also discuss how and why muscles relax better when the recipient is clothed. If you be interested in starting a clothed-massage clinic, on the model of a network-chiropractic clinic, then this workshop is for you. If you are simply curious about how muscles feel safe and relax, and want to give and receive some nurturing treatment, this workshop is also for you.


Sunday, October 1, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Activating Your Intuition  (partner exercises and discussion)

$57.50 ($115.00 for therapists)

Intuition is not magical, it is simply enhanced perception. This workshop is less about how intuition works, and more about practicing and improving our skills. Since intuition is natural, we don’t have to learn how to do it, only to recall how to do it. Once we are doing it we practice turning it off again, so that we become clearer about how to activate and deactivate intuition. Fun exercises including games, followed by discussion.

Sunday, October 15, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

How Energy Draws Clients to your Business

$50 ($100.00 for therapists), category: Business/Marketing, Group Discussion.

Does your job rely at all on people being satisfied by what you do? Are you an artist, writer or musician? Did you know that your energy has a lot to do with how others will respond to your services and offerings? This workshop discusses the ways energy (or, the stuff this universe is made of) influences others and ourselves, and how we influence energy with our thoughts, interpretations and behaviors.

Sunday, October 29, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Exercising Naturally – how Oxygen Decreases Muscle Soreness, Improves Health & Mood

$50 ($100.00 for therapists)

We start the day with a one-hour walk (or longer depending on participants) during which we begin to discuss how and why exercise benefits us so much. The emphasis is on creating a healthy relationship with exercise, that develops and grows more friendly over a lifetime.


Sunday, November 12, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (one hour break for lunch)

The Philosophy of Ethics from Plato to Spinoza  

$60.00 ($120.00 for therapists)

A fun way for professionals to get their “professional ethics” hours.

Also a fun way to learn about the history of ethics. Why think of others? Why not just take every advantage you can? Learn how Plato, Boethius and others answered these questions and see if their answers make any sense to you. While we are at it, we may learn “how to make life worth living.”

Sunday, November 26, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (one hour break for lunch)

Breathing Naturally – from Deliberate Exhalation to Zen Meditation

$60.00 ($120.00 for therapists)

Somehow, humans have forgotten the natural way to breathe that we did as children. Because we avoid exhaling, our blood becomes more acidic, we age faster, are more grumpy and sore. First we learn to deliberately exhale a little more, then we learn how to breathe more and more naturally, without controlling. You will also learn how gas exchanges at the lungs and how oxygen is transported throughout your body. With more oxygen you will be more alert, calmer, clearer, with more energy, vitality and endurance.


Sunday, December 3, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (one hour break for lunch)

Muscle Guarding as Communication – Learning the Nonverbal Language of Muscles

       The Muscle Whisperer Class

$60.00 ($120.00 for therapists)

Have you seen the movie, The Horse Whisperer? Have you seen The Truth about Cats & Dogs? How would you like to understand the language of human muscles? How would you like to talk directly with the subconscious, so that you can figure out why it is making the muscles achey, tight & sore? What if you could speak to the muscles in their own language, so they would agree to relax and play nice?

Sunday & Monday, December 10 & 11, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (one hour break for lunch)

Reiki Level Three (Shinpiden or Shinpiden) Reiki Master PLUS Reiki Teacher Skills – How to Maximize Your Reiki Students’ Confidence and Effectiveness (Teacher Training)

Reiki + Teacher Training (lecture, hands-above, attunement, discussion)

6 + 6 = 12 Live Hours

$600.00 (half-financial aid available for one participant in this class)

Registration deadline Sunday, December 3.


Melting Muscles Theory – How and Why do Muscles Melt? (Muscle Physiology / Therapeutic Relationship)

Therapeutic Massage (group discussion)

5 Live Hours, $100.00 (25% off, when paid in full, $75.00, by

Mirror Neurons – Using Clients’ Mirroring Tendency to Connect with their Tension and Lead Them to Relax (Research)

Research (group discussion)

5 Live Hours


Is there a topic you would like to learn more about? Please let me know

Contact Me




Clothed Massage as a Solution to the Sexualizaton of Massage
May 1, 2014, 3:58 pm
Filed under: massage

There was a news story in Oro Valley, AZ last week that a massage clinic had been busted for prostitution. I was interviewed on the radio this morning, regarding prostitution and massage. It is likely to be broadcast Friday or Monday on KFMA, during Fook and Mishell Livio show, 6-10 am. I will post the link when it becomes available.

After the interview it occurred to me that people today are curious about the “happy ending,” which is when a man is given a sexual climax while he is on a massage table. I believe the term, happy ending, was first popularized on the TV show, Friends. I admit the term is funny. Since that time, the media has emphasized how massage is often an avenue for men to pay for a sexual climax. I have noticed that this is a frequent topic in comedy, and even one of our local improv troupes, during their careers game, regularly makes fun of massage therapy as an avenue for sex. What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word, massage?

What the media has not told you is, it is illegal for a licensed massage therapist to touch a recipient’s genitals, or even to have a sexual intent. The idea of a happy ending may make good comedy, but in actuality it is a serious offense. Did you know that a “happy ending,” is illegal? Did you know both the giver and recipient can be arrested? Did you know that if there is even suspicion that a therapist has offered this service, that his or her license could be revoked, ending his or her career? Even in Las Vegas, NV and Vancouver B.C., where prostitution is legal, it is still illegal for massage therapists to give a sexual massage.

In addition to illegality, it is horrifying for therapists to be “propositioned” by men on the massage table. Massage schools do nothing to prepare therapists for how embarrassing this will be, and it is bound to happen to all therapists. In my 20 years, I would estimate 20-30 men lying nude under a sheet on my massage table have propositioned me or hinted they expected a hand job.

When I talked with my wife about it, after the interview, she was surprised to hear that it is the customers who solicit therapists. She had assumed there were “bad” therapists who enticed unwilling customers into sex. My experience, and having spoken with many other therapists, is that it is the customers who initiate hints of a sexual massage, and erections that show their expectation. Even after the therapist clearly communicates that absolutely no sexual massage will occur, these male customers continue hinting and insinuating, pleading and attempting to persuade, which can make for an unbearable hour for the therapist. For we are not trained by our schools to simply end the session. Therapists are afraid to end the sessions. What would I tell my boss? So you just continue massaging around the erection, that is like an elephant in the room.

The situation seems to be getting worse rather than better, and I imagine some of that is because of how funny it is for comedy shows and other media to make jokes about the situation.

But the media is not the whole problem, or even the majority of the problem. There are two other factors that are making this situation worse.

A second cause is, there really are massage therapists, even licensed ones, who do offer “hand jobs” for cash tips during massage. They often do this even at upscale clinics, spas and resorts, unknown to their bosses. This is sort of like feeding bears picnic baskets. Or feeding mountain lions bighorn sheep. Once a mountain lion in the Catalinas here in Tucson has tasted endangered bighorn sheep, that mountain lion will continue killing bighorn sheep. Arizona game and fish then goes up to find and shoot the offending mountain lion, so it does not continue the behavior. The same is true of horny men. Once a man has once paid extra to get a hand job (remember, even suggesting this is a crime), and received his happy ending, that man will continue to expect a happy ending of every massage therapist forever, just like a bear or mountain lion expects to be fed. You can’t shoot the offending humans and I am not proposing that. The cause of this situation is as much the men who solicit therapists, as it is the few therapists who actually offer this illegal service. A few ruin it for everyone.

Prostitution has been around for thousands of years and is not going to disappear. The thing that is new is, prostitution in a massage room is much safer for both the giver and recipient. The giver has more power and is less likely to be harmed, than were he or she in a hotel, or walking the streets, for example. Both are less likely to be discovered and arrested. I don’t know if there is a way, now that both the givers and recipients have discovered this safe haven, for the practice of hand jobs to ever be separated from legitimate massage.

This is unfortunate for several reasons. People with ailments, aches, stresses and tensions, may fear to try massage therapy because of the media and actual newspaper reports of clinics being busted. So people who really need the therapy, won’t get it. Another unfortunate effect of the sexualization of massage is, new therapists will quickly leave the profession. Therapists who are more sensitive, easily offended or embarrassed, after spending all that money on a year of massage school, may find that actually being propositioned is so horrifying that they have to leave the profession during their first month of practice.

The third factor that contributes to the sexualization of massage may surprise you. It is actually an unfortunate effect of well-meaning therapists. During Swedish massage (which is massage applied to the bare skin with oil or lotion) the sensations sometimes feel.. well, sensual. Swedish massage is designed to be a nurturing experience, similar to a mother nurturing her baby. But people have varied touch histories, and some part of the population of recipients do not experience hands on their skin as nurturing, but sexual. A recipient receiving his or her first massage, may feel a little turned on.

However, one thing massage schools teach, that is completely wrong, is, “It is natural for a man to get an erection during massage.” While a man may feel the first hints of arousal, a man who does not want to have a sexual massage has options to prevent himself from getting a full erection. The first is to leave his underwear on. He can also position his parts in a way that it would be more difficult for him to become erect. A third thing he can do is to flip over onto his belly, in a way that prevents erection. A fourth thing he can do is ask to end the session. Being a male with a healthy libido, I can safely say that erection is entirely preventable. Yes, during his first massage he may get aroused accidentally, but he has options before it becomes a full erection that will embarrass his therapist. If that man receives any more massages in his lifetime, and gets a full erection, it is because he intended in advance to get a full erection. He hopes that the visible presence of his erection under the sheet will make the therapist feel it is his or her duty then, to “take care of it.” The big lie is, that it is the therapist’s fault it happened, and now it is the therapist’s responsibility to finish the job. No. It is the man’s fault. The erection is no accident. He planned it that way. If I go to receive a massage and I notice myself even mildly attracted to the therapist, I leave my underwear on. If I were to feel aroused during a massage I would turn over. I would do anything, even end the massage, in order to prevent the therapist from feeling humiliated, or worry her career was at risk. I feel that exposing myself to a therapist, even through a sheet, would be a horrible thing to do to someone.

Can the massage profession cope with the trend to sexualize massage? I am not sure that it can. Unless..

Clothed Massage Ends the Sexualization of Massage

About four years ago I began telling new people that they will remain fully clothed during the massage. I tell them this in advance. I work on muscles by pressing through clothing. I have found that the clothing in no way reduces the effectiveness. In fact, I believe muscles relax better when the skin is not stimulated, because the recipient’s brain is no longer distracted by all that skin sensation. The brain can focus purely on the muscle sensation, and resolve the muscle tension. This is the message of my eBook, Clothed Massage, available at Amazon. Since I have started offering only clothed massage, I have had zero people on my table proposition me for sex.

I believe clothed massage is the best hope for therapeutic massage to distinguish itself from an increasing sexual expectation of massage. What do you think?

Certainly those therapists who prefer to give nude Swedish massage have a right to continue doing that. I hope they do not mind that they will regularly have sneaky men on their table wanting sex.

If you have any comments on the interview (if you heard it), or comments on this article, please leave comments. If you disagree, please share your perspective. If you have questions, please write them here and I will respond.