Where Did Masseuse and Masseur Come From?
The original writings about Per Henrik Ling’s Swedish system of gymnastics, which is considered by many people to be a foundation of Swedish massage (although others say Johann Georg Mezger was more involved in its development—and that’s the topic of another article), used French terms to describe stroking (effleurage); kneading (petrissage); and tapping (tapotement), according to the book The History of Massage: An Illustrated Survey from Around the World, by Robert Noah Calvert (1946–2006), who also founded MASSAGE Magazine. Perhaps this is how the French terms masseur and masseuse became engrained in the American massage profession.
In French, the word masseur is related to the word masser, meaning knead or rub. Masseuse is the feminine form of masseur. These terms remained popular and in use. Starting from the 1950s in the US, prostitutes had begun advertising their services as massage, and calling themselves masseuses and masseurs.
Many therapists say title terminology provides an effective way to educate potential clients about the health benefits of massage, as well as the legitimacy of professional massage practice.
A fellow therapist used to say, “Masseur is to massage therapist as stewardess is to flight attendant”
Since the term has been hijacked by quacks and low key 'olosho' people, actual professionals don't use it. .