In response to the recent episode of ABC’s The Bachelor Season 25, Episode 6, featuring a “prank” massage therapy session, ABMP has sent a statement to ABC denouncing the unacceptable unprofessional image and sexualization of massage therapy presented in the episode. The full text of the letter is below.
Massage therapists and bodyworkers can share their feedback directly at https://abc.com/feedback.
To Mike Fleiss:
Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals is a national association representing a profession of more than 320,000 US-based massage therapists, more than 80,000 of whom are our members. Our members are very concerned about The Bachelor’s massage session prank scene in Season 25, Episode 6. Clearly this scene was an insult to them and to dedicated massage therapy and spa clients around the world.
This insult comes during one of the most difficult times in the history of the profession, brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, the professionalism and safety of a massage session is crucial to consumers who have the opportunity to experience therapeutic touch.
There is no room for representations of inappropriate touch or behavior in a massage therapy session. Such portrayals may be great for ratings, but they endanger practitioners in the very space they’ve dedicated their careers to.
Any sophisticated consumer of massage therapy understands that the word masseuse is sadly outdated. The contemporary term is massage therapist, reflecting tailored education, in most instances state licensure, and a dedication to professionalism. Masseuse is an antiquated term all too connected with illicit businesses, not legitimate massage therapy.
We understand The Bachelor’s success relies on sensational scripts and voyeuristic drama. Moving forward please avoid insulting hundreds of thousands of dedicated, professional massage therapists. You owe them an apology.
Les Sweeney, NCTM
President , Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals