The Proper Etiquette for Getting a Massage – 2023 Guide
If it is comfortable for you to do so, a massage therapist may request that you undress. In order to avoid overeating before your massage, you should.
Massages are easily one of the most luxurious, relaxing treatments you can treat yourself to. Manicures and pedicures count as self-care, but massages have a way of physically kneading out pent-up stress and anxiety from the day, weeks, or even months.
The only issue is that most people don’t know what to ask for to get the most benefit from their massage, or if they do, they’re too uncomfortable to do so during the actual session. Knowing the fundamentals of massage etiquette can give you the confidence to make the most of the experience when it comes to figuring out how to be your own advocate. All the information you require for before, during, and after your treatment is provided below.
How much clothing do you need to take off? Here are the top queries you might be hesitant to ask, regardless of your level of massage experience or the nature of your inquiry.
Do You Tip a Massage Therapist?
Although it is never necessary to tip, a 20% gratuity is customary in North America if you were happy with the service and received your massage at a spa or hotel. (All-inclusive spas with a no-tipping rule are the exception.) A customary tip is calculated based on the original price of the item if you received a gift certificate or bought it through a coupon website.
If a spa or clinic offers envelopes for tipping, put the cash inside and, to prevent confusion, write the therapist’s full name on the envelope. If there aren’t any envelopes available, you can tip the therapist in cash or include it in the price of the service.
Tips may not even be accepted or expected for massages given in a medical or clinical setting. If you’re unsure, inquire about customary tipping with the massage therapist or clinic receptionist. If you don’t want to ask in person, call ahead to ask.
How Much Clothing Should You Remove for a Massage?
Normally, a massage therapist will ask you to undress as much as you feel comfortable. While getting a massage, a lot of people like to remain undressed, while others don’t. Women typically take their bras off during massages so that the therapist can focus on the back and shoulders without accidentally getting any massage oil or lotion on the bra.
Tight or big underwear can occasionally interfere with massage work if your problem area is your low back, hips, buttocks, or groin. Before getting dressed, you can consult your massage therapist.
You can take off your clothes and lie on the massage table (usually face down) underneath the top sheet after the massage therapist exits the room. In North America, the massage therapist should knock and inquire as to whether you are prepared before entering the massage room, so you shouldn’t be concerned that they will observe you.
Depending on the type of massage you’re getting, you may want to remove more clothing than others. Shiatsu or Thai massage, which are both typically performed while fully clothed, are the best options if you prefer to keep your clothes on.
What If You Need to Pass Gas?
From the perspective of the massage therapist, it is much preferable for you to pass gas during the massage (which is frequently a sign that you are relaxed) than to clench your gluteal muscles to hold it in. It’s normal to pass gas while receiving a massage, so there’s no need to be embarrassed. If you’re really uncomfortable doing it, you can always excuse yourself to go to the bathroom.
What If You Are Ticklish?
Let your massage therapist know if you’re ticklish before your massage begins. Usually, firm, slow pressure (and avoiding certain spots) can keep you from feeling ticklish during a massage.
What If You Get An Erection During Your Massage?
It’s normal for men to sometimes get an erection during a non-sexual, therapeutic massage. If it occurs to you, there’s no need to feel ashamed. The parasympathetic nervous system of the body can be activated by a light touch anywhere on the body, leading to an erection. Professional massage therapists will be aware of this and will choose to ignore it.
What If You Fall Asleep and Snore Or Drool?
It’s very common to nod off during a massage. Many people go into a massage stressed and sleep-deprived and feel so relaxed that they fall asleep on the massage table. If you snore while getting a massage, your therapist won’t be critical of you.
You might find some drool on the massage table or on your face when you wake up. It’s common and has to do with your positioning on the massage table. Although you are not required to do anything about it, you should not hesitate to ask for a tissue.
What to Wear
You can actually wear whatever you want while getting a massage, despite what you might think. “You should wear whatever works for your comfort level—that spectrum is different for everyone,” explains Demetri Travlos, lead licensed massage therapist and assistant general manager of Chillhouse. “It’s totally acceptable if you prefer to receive your massage while fully covered. Your comfort is paramount but do try to dress in athletic wear—massaging through a parka might be a little difficult.”
The majority of her clients typically remain undressed during their treatments, but Joanna Vargas, a celebrity facialist and the founder of Joanna Vargas Salons and Skincare Collection, says that whatever makes you most comfortable is what matters. For some, that’s wearing a bra and underwear, while for others it’s relaxing completely bare. The key takeaway is to leave enough skin exposed so that your massage therapist can apply oils and lotions and really knead your muscles. You’re not a fan of creams and oils. A camisole and spandex shorts are appropriate examples of thin clothing.
How to Approach Conversation During a Treatment
It can be awkward to stay silent for a considerable amount of time with the only other person you’re sharing the room with in a dimly lit environment. Remember, though, that it’s not for your masseuse. Avoid obscuring your thinking, which would defeat the purpose of your trip—to unwind.)—by worrying about not talking enough. In fact, less is really more. “Before you begin the treatment, it is very important to let your therapist know how strong you would like the treatment to be, and tell him or her about any physical issues,” says Michael Shanahan is the massage director at Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa. “[But after that, I believe it is best to limit conversation during a massage. Vargas concurs, pointing out that most massage therapists want you to unwind and not feel obligated to continue a conversation.
If you actually do want to talk to your therapist during your massage, go for it. “If you and your LMT feel comfortable with one another to chop it up the entire session, then, by all means, do so,” Travlos says. “For some people, silence is the best way to truly relax. Additionally, it is advised to keep quiet if you are in an open-concept spa where other customers can overhear you.”
How to Ask for the Right Pressure
A massage is only relaxing and renewing if it meets your pressure standards. After all, if there is no pressure at all, you might feel resentful that you are spending your hard-earned money on a subpar service, and if there is too much pressure, you might be too preoccupied with the pain to actually unwind. “It’s normal to indicate at the beginning of the massage how much pressure you want,” Vargas explains. “Being blunt is advised. You are entirely free to request the pressure you prefer. The massage therapist will probably advise you on how much pressure is necessary to provide therapy for a particular area if you have a specific problem that you’d like to address.”
On the other hand, don’t feel as though you have to keep quiet after expressing your preference for pressure during the massage. “Don’t be afraid to speak up during treatment if you want a pressure change,” Shanahan emphasizes, saying that in order to give you the best experience possible, massage therapists simply prefer to know your preferred level of pressure beforehand. Also worth noting is that the ideal time to be honest and upfront with your massage therapist about where you prefer to be touched is during the initial discussion of pressure. “Always keep the lines of communication open during session, as work on your shoulders will feel significantly different than work on your glutes or feet,” Travlos says. “Also one therapist’s deep pressure may be another’s medium or light, so always take the time to say what you need. Rules belong to your body.”
What Not to Do During a Session
Keep still is all there is to it. “Ideally, you will lay there and just melt into a state of happy bliss,” Travlos says. “Make an effort to breathe, unwind, and accept the work; however, let your therapist know if anything needs to change or if something hurts or uncomfortably disturbs you.” Another (obvious) undesirable habit? Vargas kindly reminds us that massages are not the appropriate time to check messages or send email replies.
Don’t forget to keep in mind that the massage is for you and your comfort. Use these suggestions to make your massage appointment great. We sincerely appreciate your time and look forward to serving you soon.