With massages, perhaps more so than with other wellness practices, issues of etiquette take a front seat. There is an unspoken level of intimacy that is inherent with receiving a massage that brings up some questions that are unique to massage. Because we want you to have peace of mind when scheduling your appointment, we’ve pulled together some issues and questions that you might be mulling over, but are hesitant to ask.
Q: Can I request a female or male therapist?
A: Of course. However, we urge you to be a little open-minded. Though male massage therapists only make up around 18% of all massage therapists in the US, and both men and women tend to request females for their massage, there are good reasons to think otherwise. For one, males tend to have greater upper body strength, eliminating the concern that your massage won’t feature enough pressure.
Q: Is it okay to get completely undressed? Or is it okay to leave some clothing on?
A: Our massage therapists can work with whatever level of undress you’re comfortable with. However, if you have tightness in your lower back, hips, or buttocks, leaving on underwear will make it more difficult for the therapist to work with that area. The majority of our clients do disrobe completely, although some do opt to leave on thong-style underwear. Rest assured that in North America, licensed massage therapists are required to make sure that you are always properly covered by a sheet or towel.
Q: On that note, what if I’m very self-conscious about a certain part of my body?
A: Whether you have scarring from an injury or surgery, have severe body acne or another skin ailment, or are self-conscious about your body hair, it’s okay to ask your massage therapist to simply avoid that area. Rest assured, however, that massage therapists have seen and worked with many different body types, AND people’s insecurities. It’s pretty certain that the area of your body that you’re nano-obsessed with won’t even make them think twice. Their focus is on making sure your muscles and tendons get treated, not on your misshapen toes.
Q: What if I pass gas?
A: Embarrassing? Maybe. Shocking? No way. Common occurrence? Definitely. Massage stimulates the digestive system, and passing gas is a natural part of that process. In fact, it actually helps us realize that we’re doing our job well. However, if you’re truly stressed about it, avoid eating right before your appointment (especially a large meal), and hit the bathroom beforehand.
Q: Do I have to chat during my massage?
A: A good massage therapist will take your lead on the flow of conversation, or lack thereof. This is your massage, your experience, and your call. You should, however, definitely speak up if you’d like a change in massage pressure, have any questions, or forgot to mention something during the consultation. Don’t feel like you have to make conversation – after all, this is a massage, not a social function.
In short, keep in mind that there is very little about you or your body that will make your massage therapist think twice. Aside from their desire to improve your wellness and healing, our therapists do this work because they have a great respect for the human body, with all of its quirks and oddities.