Massage Etiquette- 9 questions you may be too embarrassed to ask

There seems to be a lot of unspoken etiquette involved when receiving a massage. For those who’ve had numerous massages, this may be well understood. However, for those who haven’t received massage regularly, you may feel a bit intimidated or overwhelmed by all the questions running through your head about it all.

So, instead of leaving these to be ‘unspoken’ etiquette, let’s rip back the curtain and talk about some of the questions you may have, but you’re just too embarrassed to ask.

What if I fall asleep?

Great! Most people arrive for their massage having been stressed, in pain, sleep-deprived, or otherwise unable to deeply relax for a while. It’s no surprise that many massage clients tend to fall asleep. Some may sleep through most of the session, while others only doze off a little here and there throughout. No matter what you do, this is the time to take care of yourself, so don’t try to fight what your body needs. If you drool, snore, pass gas, twitch, talk, or do anything else in your sleep, I won’t think twice about it. I promise that you will not be the first or last client to do any of that! And honestly, it won’t phase me at all!  A large reason for your appointment is to get you to relax, so why shouldn’t you sleep if you want to?

What if I forgot to shave?

I promise, I really don’t care! For many women, the idea of having someone massage your legs when you haven’t shaved in a while can be a bit embarrassing, but there’s nothing to be worried about. As a Massage Therapist, I massage both men and women, hairy to clean-shaven, and everything in between. There’s no need to be concerned about whether you shaved that morning or not. My focus is on your muscles, not on your hair.

What if I don’t want you to touch a certain area?

Whether an area is too painful to touch, you’re ticklish, or otherwise just don’t want anyone touching you in a certain area, that’s perfectly fine. A typical full body massage would include your scalp, face, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, back, hips, legs, and feet. Some people don’t want their hair messed up since they’ll need to return to work or go out; others are too ticklish on their feet. Whatever your reasoning, it’s your body and the session is all about your needs. If you don’t want any specific area massaged, all you have to do is tell me.

How much do I really have to take off?

The quick answer is, it’s completely up to you. Yes, to have the most effective full body massage, you’ll need to remove most or all of your clothing, but it’s your time and it’s your body. While a standard full body session is best done with no clothes, if that makes you uncomfortable, I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise. If keeping your underpants on makes you more comfortable, then by all means do so! We won’t be able to get you into a relaxed state if you’re worried about something like that (or anything really). There are ways to work with a client fully clothed, and that is a possibility, but please understand, that regardless of how much or how little you take off, you will always be covered in a modest fashion.

Should I tip?

Every therapist and establishment may have a different opinion on this, but the simple answer is, if you want to, sure. Tips are never expected but always appreciated. Just as tipping isn’t set in stone, neither is the amount. Do what you feel is best for the service you’re getting…period.

Should I talk to you?

This is, yet again, completely up to you. If you want to talk during the session, feel free. If you prefer silence, that’s fine too. There may need to be some communication in the massage to determine if the pressure is comfortable or answer some questions about any injury or pain you may be having. Other than that, I will follow your lead when it comes to conversation.

What if I get an erection?

This is a fear for many men concerning massage therapy. Physiologically, it is not uncommon for men to get an erection during a completely non-sexual massage; it is simply a matter of the parasympathetic nervous system relaxing the body and blood flow going where it may. Draping (the covering of the body with linens and blankets) is done in a way that usually prevents your therapist from even noticing such a thing. As long as there is no intent behind it or action upon it, it is a normal physiological response of the body that will be ignored.

What if I have to go to the bathroom?

There’s nothing that will snap you out of a deep relaxation like the sudden urge to use the restroom. While it’s always advised to go before your massage session to prevent this, sometimes bodily functions don’t cooperate on our schedule. If you need to go, simply speak up and I will step out so you can get dressed and go to the restroom. Once you’re back on the table, we’ll resume right where we left off.

What if I don’t like what you’re doing?

Tell me! If the pressure is too much, too little, you’re ticklish, or something just doesn’t feel right for any reason, speak up. I can change technique, pressure, or end the session completely if you’d like.

I hope this answers some of your questions and if you ever have any others, please don’t hesitate to ask.