Breaking the stigma around male massage during Men’s Health Awareness Month
Around one in eight men has mental health problems in England, while 4 million males are living with coronary heart disease in the UK. According to Mental Health Foundation (2023)
Massage reduces the risk of blood pressure and heart disease, improves sleep, and reduces stress.
The stigma surrounding massages for men is in decline, with 38-40% of customer base being men.
Massage can help to alleviate some of the biggest health issues men face, such as depression, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. But is there still a stigma perceived around men receiving a massage? And is this holding men back from enjoying the benefits of a massage treatment?
Although one in five men in the UK are keen to start taking better care of their wellbeing, research has shown according to Champney’s 40% men said that spa destinations are too feminine and around the same percentage said that they had never been to a spa before.
But should men see massage as an occasional activity at a luxury spa. Or should it be something they can adopt as part of a balanced wellness regime? According to Thompson, C and Walker, E (2016) this change in perception is key to breaking any perceived stigma around male massage.
So what are the benefits of massage for men specifically?
According to the British Heart Foundation(2023), around 4 million males are living with coronary heart disease in the UK, compared to 3.6 million females. Meanwhile, Public Health England(2023) statistics show that 31% of men have high blood pressure compared to 26% of women. Men’s mental health has also been a topic of major discussion. In England, around one in eight men has a common mental health problem, such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Massage therapy can help with these issues specifically as it is proven to lower blood pressure and contribute to better heart health. It also decreases the production of cortisol (the stress hormone) while increasing the production of serotonin (the body’s ‘feel-good’ chemical that regulates mood). Thompson, C and Walker, E (2016) also goes on to say “Massage reduces stress and improves circulation, and that’s important, but it also gives men the opportunity to relax, which they are fairly poor at doing. We find that men are much more likely to be extremely inactive or extremely active, and not create that middle ground with some form of lower-level exercise, such as going for walks. High-quality massage is very effective at providing a solution to both extremes.”
Is there still a stigma around massage for men?
According to Medlicott, P (2002) Chair of The Sports Massage Association, “There is no longer a stigma being attached to men receiving massages, and that it would be difficult to find a man these days who felt uncomfortable getting a sports or beauty massage.”
Thompson, C (2016) agrees and says “Even if there is a stigma around men receiving massages, this is fading fast as an increasing number of men prioritise self-care and seek out the mental and physical health benefits of massage. Around 38-40%% of our customer base are men, and they aren’t just more comfortable in our environment because it’s unisex – they are coming for the same reason many females do, because they’re stressed, have muscle tension, and need massage therapy to improve their wellbeing, mental health, their sleep, as well as reduce anxiety.”
For further enquiries and to schedule an appointment contact Jenny @surrealholistctherapy.com or 07758754317
Breaking The Stigma Around Male Massage. Thompson, C and Walker, E (2016) cited in Breaking The Stigma Around Male Massage | The Massage Company
Mental Health Foundation (2023) cited in