What should you wear for a massage?
I often have people ask me about what a client should wear for a massage. I’ve been in the field for so long that I forget that people don’t always know what they can and can’t do. I’m going to dive into clothes and coverings for massage a bit and hopefully clear some things up.
First off, with Western massage assume you’re taking at least some of your clothes off. The only modalities I know of that are done clothed are some Asian ones and manipulation ones like Alexander Technique. Western massage is performed with oil, lotion, or some sort of lubricant and requires contact with the skin.
How undressed you get is up to you. Part of what I find relaxing about massage is laying on a table naked. Our bodies are so segmented top and bottom and being nude allows unrestricted movement and integration of the whole body. Not everyone is comfortable getting naked and allowing a stranger to touch them, and some of you are far too comfortable with that. if you choose to you are welcome to leave underwear on. Ladies, please remove your bras. The straps get in the way of neck, shoulder, and back work. You will be under a sheet, and if you’re with me I couldn’t care about what you got anyway.
One absolute truth is that its perfectly fine to be nude. I’ve had clients tell me after a session that they weren’t sure if it was appropriate. It is.
Usually what I say is, “You can get undressed to your comfort level,” and I’ve been told later that people were unclear if that meant they can be nude. Does anyone have suggestions on a clearer way to phrase this so that it lets new clients know they can be naked if they so choose but don’t have to be?
Here are somethings to keep in mind… if you have specific complaints that have anything to do with your hips you may want to consider being nude for your massage. This can include low back pain, sciatic, hip flexor pain, tight hamstrings, or anything that will cause me to work on glutes or upper thigh. it makes it easier to work and attack the muscles from different angles. It can be more comfortable for you because I’m not constantly adjusting your underwear and giving you wedgies. If you say, “I can deal with that, I don’t want to be naked,” that’s fine, but plan a bit in advance. (This is less of a concern for women. The underwear they wear tends to be smaller and stretchier.) Men, if you’re a brief wearer you should be fine. If you wear boxers wear loose fitting ones that have some stretch. The two things I ask you not to wear are tight boy shorts or boxer briefs and the basic Fruit of the Loom boxers that have no stretch. I’m not 100% sure how to describe those, but they have no give.
As far as covering goes, my default you’ll be covered in my practice, as you should be anywhere. In most states you have to be covered legally. It is one of those things where you can get away with it as long as the massage police don’t come walking through your door in the middle of the massage. I often have people just climb on top though, so here’s a tip, if there’s a blanket on the table, or it looks like a turned down bed, ie. a top sheet folded over, you should get under it.
For me, if you prefer to be uncovered just ask. Most of the time I’d prefer that our first appointment you have a sheet, but if I get a good vibe from you during the intake I’ll be cool with it. Certainly, once we know each other pretty well I won’t care. I almost never offer being uncovered, unless its the middle of July and is baking in my space. I don’t want to make clients uncomfortable, so its never something I’ll belabor. If you’re hot and still want to be covered a modesty towel is always an option. I will never let a woman go uncovered in my private space. It’s just something I’m not comfortable with. If you’d rather go uncovered, mostly likely a spa is not for you. Rules tend to be very strict.
So, there are some of my thoughts on dress and coverings for massage, or at least for my massage. Hopefully it clears some things up and answers some questions.