New clients often have some intimate questions about their massage and are not sure how or who to ask. You may even be a seasoned veteran of massage, but have wondered about some embarrassing things for ages. Look no further! Some of the most frequently asked (embarrassing) questions about massage are addressed below.
- Am I supposed to tip my massage therapist?
Tipping customs vary from one setting to another. Tipping 15-20% is traditional for spas or hotels/resorts if you were pleased with the service. Tipping is less typical in medical settings. Wherever you are, you should never feel pressured or guilty, but only tip if you appreciated good service.
- What does “undress to your comfort level” mean exactly?
Many therapists will tell clients to undress to their comfort level. While this is polite, it’s not exactly clear. In short, clients should wear what they want to wear. If you want to know what most people do, many keep their bottom underwear on, while many also prefer to be completely nude. Some clients leave their socks on because they get chilly easily. It’s up to you!
- Bathroom issues
There are lots of bathroom issues that come up during a massage. You may wonder what to do if you have to go to the bathroom during the massage. Going before is ideal, but you may find yourself needing to go during. You should go! It’s not worth it to detract from the massage in order to save 2 minutes of massage time.
Other embarrassing bathroom issues include passing gas and stomach noises, both of which are natural. It’s perfectly acceptable to just ignore these noises or excuse yourself quietly. Focus on relaxing, not weird belly noises!
- Will the massage therapist be there when I undress?
Definitely not! The therapist will leave the room so that you can undress and lie on the massage table under the top sheet. Don’t rush or worry that they will walk in on you — the massage therapist always knocks and asks if you are ready before entering the massage room.
- Should I talk during the massage?
The session is yours, not theirs. Of course, don’t be rude, but saying something like, “The quiet really helps me relax” should do the trick. A good therapist takes their cue from the client and is quiet if the client is quiet. Just be sure to speak up if anything is annoying, painful or bothersome.
- FOR THE GUYS: What if I get an erection?
In all honesty, it happens. It most likely won’t be the first time that your therapist has experienced it because when the parasympathetic system is activated, it sometimes causes an erection, even if the person is not aroused. You don’t have to call attention to it, and if nothing else is going on, your therapist won’t either. If you’re still worried, wear your briefs or stay face down for the duration of the massage.
- FOR THE LADIES: What if I didn’t shave my legs?
I’ve had women who were late for their massage because they felt that they had to quickly shave their legs before their session. Let’s be clear – it’s NOT a requirement! In fact, your therapist doesn’t care at all. Don’t apologize for it and definitely don’t miss part of your session for it.
- What if I am attracted to my therapist?
Massage is an intimate practice and feeling attracted to your therapist is not uncommon. However, strict ethical guidelines forbid therapists from having relationships with clients, sometimes even months or years after they stopped being clients. If you can ignore your attraction and operate professionally, continue. If your attraction is distracting, it’s better to switch therapists and continue to receive massage from someone else.
- The pressure isn’t deep enough, but I don’t want to insult the massage therapist’s technique. What should I do?
Once again, it’s your session. The pressure should be exactly to your liking. However, having said that, remember that sometimes the therapist has to warm up the tissue in order to work through several layers. If it’s not deep enough immediately, be patient. If it’s not deep enough after several minutes, just tell your therapist, “I think I’d like a little deeper pressure.” No biggee.
- I’m really self-conscious about a certain part of my body. What can I do?
People are self-conscious for various reasons. Massage can actually be wonderful for body image and is used in many therapies for that very reason. No matter your condition, your body is worth massage. If you’d feel better, go ahead and wear clothes for the first few. Your therapist should be totally fine with whatever you’d like to wear or not wear.
- I definitely want a female therapist. Is that ok to request?
Massage isn’t the only profession to deal with this question. Patients who have colonoscopies, physical therapy, or gynecological exams often have a preference for the sex of the doctor. As we’ve said before, it’s your session. You may absolutely request a male or female therapist. Just remember that these people are professional practitioners and should treat each client the same, whether male or female.