(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #370, July 31, 2009)
Do You Work in the Nude? Confessions of a Masseur & Bodyworker by R.D. Cain; published by Third Millennium Publishing, Tempe, AZ (<3mpub.com>)
Massage and bodywork can be, you should pardon the pun, touchy subjects. Considering the hang-ups, expectations and fantasies many people in our society have about touch and nudity, communication between massage therapist and client (or prospective client) can be fraught with mixed messages, subliminal contexts and speaking in code that may or may not be understood by the other party.
Over the years I have read many books on massage, but until now I’ve never encountered one that approaches the topic from the angle taken by author R.D. Cain. In Do You Work in the Nude? Confessions of a Masseur & Bodyworker, Cain discusses his profession in a charming, disarmingly honest and straightforward manner that tries to cut through uneasiness, embarrassment and taboos.
Cain has been a massage and bodywork therapist since 1991. With that many years experience he has built up a supply of entertaining stories and practical advice that will be interesting to anyone who either does massage/bodywork professionally, or who enjoys the services of someone who does.
This is a fun, breezy confection of a book. Cain covers many facets of the subject of massage and bodywork starting, as all good writers do, with a definition of terms. He then describes how he got into the business and how he has developed his practice over the years. He discusses the many different schools of massage and bodywork (according to the author, over 80 at last count).
Cain also shares advice and philosophy on advertising and running a massage business. And, as a way of illustrating massage and bodywork etiquette, he describes his favorite (and least favorite) client types. He ends the book with a few quotes from notable people on the subject of massage. Adding to the fun are witty, and sometimes snarky, illustrations by Revo Yanson and Ethan Young.
If you are a massage therapist or bodyworker, you will enjoy reading a compatriot’s thoughts. If you are considering becoming a massage therapist or bodyworker, this book offers pointers on what to do, as well as some warnings about pitfalls along the way.
If, on the other hand, you are a client looking for a massage or bodywork professional, this book will tell you what (and what not) to do, and what questions to ask (and not ask). Working with a massage professional is like any other professional relationship: you’ll get better results if you act appropriately.
And if you already have a favorite massage professional, buy them a copy. It will make their day.