Difference Between Massage Therapist And Masseuse

By Last Updated: October 24th, 20235.6 min readViews: 2270

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About the Author: Daryl Stubbs
Daryl Stubbs
Daryl Stubbs is a multi-disciplinary health professional, combining his roles as an award-winning athletic therapist, registered massage therapist, and certified holistic nutritionist to offer a comprehensive approach to wellness. Graduating in 2013, Daryl has been recognized as the best massage therapy clinic in Victoria for 2022 and 2023 and has received national athletic therapy awards. He is known for his holistic approach to health, focusing on treating the body as a whole. Clients appreciate his focus on the science of probiotics, supplements, gut health, and the human body, ensuring a well-informed and evidence-based approach to their wellness journey.


The world of massage therapy has grown and evolved over the years, with many practitioners choosing this field to provide relaxation, pain relief, and overall wellness to their clients. In Canada, two distinct terms are often used to describe professionals in this industry: massage therapist and masseuse. While these terms may seem interchangeable to some, they actually have important differences. This article will explore the distinctions between massage therapists and masseuses, discussing their origins, educational requirements, scope of practice, professional regulations, and career opportunities. If you’re looking to feel better and relax, you can use massage therapy in Victoria.

Key Takeaway: The terms “massage therapist” and “masseuse” are often used interchangeably, but there are some differences between the two.

Historically, “masseuse” referred to a female who practices massage, while “masseur” referred to a male. However, due to the need for more gender-neutral terminology, both male and female massage practitioners now go by the term “massage therapist”.

The primary difference between a massage therapist and a masseuse is their level of training and certification.

Massage therapists are professionals who have received specific training in the manipulation of muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and connective tissues, while a masseuse may not have the same level of training or certification.

It is important to note that the term “masseuse” can be quite offensive and should be avoided

Massage Therapist vs. Masseuse: Terminology

Origins of the Terms

The term “masseuse” is derived from the French word “masser,” which means “to massage.” Historically, it has been used to describe female practitioners who provide massages, while “masseur” refers to male practitioners. In contrast, “massage therapist” is a gender-neutral term that has gained popularity in recent years, particularly in English-speaking countries like Canada.

Current Usage

In contemporary contexts, “massage therapist” is the preferred term for professionals who offer massage services. This is because it emphasizes the therapeutic nature of their work and avoids the gender-specific connotations associated with “masseuse” and “masseur.” However, some people may still use the term “masseuse” informally or out of habit.

Educational Requirements

Massage Therapist

In Canada, massage therapists must complete a comprehensive educational program to become registered and licensed. These programs typically require 2-3 years of study and include coursework in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology, and massage techniques, as well as supervised clinical practice. Upon completion of their education, candidates must pass a standardized exam and meet any additional provincial requirements to become registered massage therapists (RMTs).


The term “masseuse” does not carry any specific educational requirements in Canada. However, individuals using this title may have completed a variety of massage-related training, ranging from informal workshops to more structured programs. It is important to note that using the title “masseuse” does not necessarily indicate a lower level of skill or expertise than a registered massage therapist.

Scope of Practice

Massage Therapist

Registered massage therapists in Canada are trained to assess, treat, and prevent a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions, including soft tissue injuries, chronic pain, and stress-related disorders. Their scope of practice often includes various massage techniques, such as Swedish, deep tissue, sports massage, and myofascial release, as well as complementary therapies like hydrotherapy and joint mobilizations. Massage therapists are also skilled in developing personalized treatment plans to address clients’ specific needs and goals, as well as providing self-care recommendations and collaborating with other healthcare professionals when necessary.


The scope of practice for a masseuse can be more varied and may depend on their level of training and expertise. Some masseuses may focus primarily on relaxation and stress relief, while others may have specialized skills in certain massage techniques or modalities. However, they may not have the same comprehensive training in assessment and treatment planning as a registered massage therapist, which could limit their ability to address more complex or chronic conditions.

Professional Regulations

Massage Therapist

In Canada, massage therapy is a regulated healthcare profession in several provinces, including British Columbia, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Registered massage therapists in these provinces are governed by a regulatory college, which sets professional standards, enforces a code of ethics, and ensures that practitioners maintain their competency through continuing education. Practitioners in unregulated provinces may still choose to become members of professional associations that provide similar oversight and support.


Since “masseuse” is not a regulated title in Canada, there are no specific professional regulations or oversight bodies associated with this designation. As a result, the quality of care provided by masseuses can vary significantly, and clients should exercise caution when seeking services from individuals using this title. It is always advisable to inquire about a practitioner’s training, experience, and professional affiliations before booking a session.

Career Opportunities

Massage Therapist

Registered massage therapists have a wide range of career opportunities in Canada, including working in multidisciplinary clinics, spas, fitness centers, sports teams, and corporate wellness programs. They may also choose to establish their own private practices or offer mobile massage services. With the growing recognition of massage therapy as a valuable component of healthcare, demand for qualified practitioners is expected to remain strong.


Career opportunities for masseuses can be more limited, as they may not have access to the same professional networks or job opportunities as registered massage therapists. However, some masseuses may find work in settings such as spas, hotels, or wellness centers, where relaxation-focused services are in high demand. Additionally, they may choose to offer their services independently or in collaboration with other wellness professionals.


In conclusion, while massage therapists and masseuses both provide massage services, there are important differences in their education, scope of practice, professional regulations, and career opportunities. Registered massage therapists in Canada have more extensive training and are subject to professional oversight, whereas the term “masseuse” encompasses a wider range of skill levels and backgrounds. Clients seeking massage services should be aware of these distinctions when choosing a practitioner and ensure that they select a provider who meets their specific needs and expectations.


Is there a difference between a massage therapist and a masseuse?

  1. Yes, there are differences in education, scope of practice, professional regulations, and career opportunities between massage therapists and masseuses.

What are the educational requirements for a massage therapist in Canada?

  1. Massage therapists in Canada must complete a comprehensive 2-3 year educational program, pass a standardized exam, and meet provincial requirements to become registered.

Is “masseuse” a regulated title in Canada?

  1. No, “masseuse” is not a regulated title in Canada, and there are no specific professional regulations or oversight bodies associated with this designation.

What types of massage techniques can a registered massage therapist provide?

  1. Registered massage therapists can provide various techniques, such as Swedish, deep tissue, sports massage, myofascial release, and complementary therapies like

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