Massage therapy, like many professions, is not always portrayed accurately on the big screen. We’ve all seen it in movies; sometimes it’s played as if it’s not a real profession or as if it always diverts to something sexual. We know that you are not a massage therapist, so you don’t know what it’s really like, especially for those of us at Healing Hands! In this week’s blog, we’ll give you some examples of how massage was portrayed in a few movies, and our feedback as to whether it’s true or not…
In the movie War Dogs (2016), we see David Packouz living in Miami, working as a house-call massage therapist. The impression is given that a few of his clients want more than “just massage” and this makes him uncomfortable and unhappy. He tries to start another venture selling Egyptian cotton sheets, but it fails miserably.
At the funeral of a mutual friend, he runs into Efraim Diveroli, his best friend from high school, who soon gets him into a much more lucrative but also much more dangerous profession: selling guns to Iraq.
A few things to note here: first, it is possible to make quite a good living as a house-call massage therapist. Second, if you work with referrals, your chances of clients behaving inappropriately is miniscule. Third, it’s true that many massage therapists have a side gig, but none that we know are gun-runners!
Julia Louis-Dreyfus portrays a massage therapist in the 2013 movie Enough Said. Jada Yuan of Vulture interviewed her in September of that year about what it was like to portray a massage therapist. Excerpts below, with our [commentary]:
You play a masseuse. Did you study technique? [UGH, we hate the word “masseuse.” Massage Therapist, please…]
Yeah, I did. A massage therapist gave me a bunch of lessons. [Thank you JLD for using correct terminology for our profession!]
What did you learn?
How hard it is to do. It’s not easy. It’s really hard. To be a good masseuse is not an easy task. [NOOO! We are not masseuses! But you’re right, it is definitely not easy.]
How do you feel you are proficiency-wise now?
Not great. There’s a kind of fluidity that it takes that I, you know, it’s not something that I’m great at. But I tried really hard to look as if I knew what I was doing. [It makes sense that JLD wouldn’t be proficient at it without having gone to school to study massage technique, human anatomy / kinesiology / physiology, etc for hundreds of hours like all licensed massage therapists have to do…]
Your character has terrible clients. There’s a guy with bad breath, a woman who won’t shut up. Are you now more self-conscious when you’re getting a massage yourself?
Not self-conscious but an even higher level of respect for people who are really good. [Amen!]
And they’re lugging that massage table around everywhere.
And all the accoutrement that goes with it. Because it’s not just that. There’s the stool and there’s the head piece and there are all the sheets and very often a heater. It’s an endless amount of shit that you have to carry around with you. [Yes, being a housecall therapist does involve schlepping a ton of stuff to each client’s house. Our therapists are glad that everything is provided for them at our studio!]
One movie about massage that we haven’t seen yet but would like to is Blind Massage (2014) by Lou Ye. You can read the summary here. Have you seen it? We’d love your comments below! 👇🏼
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These were just a few examples of our profession as portrayed in movies; as you read, it’s not usually spot on. However, we appreciate the ones that make an effort to show how hard we work!
To see for yourself how massage really works, we invite you to book a session with us at Healing Hands. Not to brag – ok just a little – but we have 5 stars on Google and Yelp with excellent client experiences. Read here and here about some of the things that make us unique. See you soon!