Massage Therapists Upset Over New TV Series

Massage therapy school is no walk in the park; this might be one reason that professionals who spend 500 or more hours investing their own time and money into massage therapy school and careers find a new television series offensive. The buzz about the new show “The Client List” might be positive from the shows new viewership, but many reports from those in the industry say massage therapists are not impressed.

A new show on the network known for women-centered TV has some massage therapists up in arms.

“The Client List” stars Jennifer Love Hewitt as a down-on-her-luck Texas mom/masseuse. She helps make ends meet by offering men a little something extra with her services.

That, says massage therapist Donna Kowalski, is a misleading portrayal. She works at Bliss Therapeutic Massage in Gastonia.

And she thinks it’s an unfair light to cast on professionals who work hard for the license to practice massage therapy.

“Massage therapists attend 500-plus hours of training and take a licensure exam,” she said.

The education required, unlike Hewitt’s Southern accent in the TV show, isn’t anything to scoff at, adds Donna Oliver of Lily Pad Massage Therapy.

Practitioners have to know about every muscle in the body, how each works and which ones create particular pains or problems.

Oliver studied anatomy, medical terminology and other classes she shared with nursing students at Gaston College.

In North Carolina, licenses from the N.C. Board of Massage & Bodywork Therapy require renewal every two years, along with 24 hours of continuing education for each.

And the code of conduct is strict, say therapists.

Genital areas are absolutely off limits.

Kowalski and Janet Benoy, a fellow massage therapist who owns Bliss Therapeutic Massage, worry Lifetime’s new show — and its often scantily clad star — will send the wrong message about their line of work.

“This profession has evolved greatly from the ‘massage parlors’…”

Read more from the Gaston Gazette.

More from massage therapy school graduates:

Must See: AMTA President Responds to “The Client List”

Massage Today Jeers “The Client List”