5 Things You’ve Always Wanted to Ask Your Massage Therapist
Updated: Sep 2, 2021
1. What should I wear?
This is entirely up to you. I attended massage school in the Midwest where it was customary to leave your underwear on. Here in Las Vegas it is completely normal to be naked under the sheets.
Here’s what I tell my clients: Disrobe down to your comfort level, I will keep you draped appropriately at all times. I will say, our job is easier when a client disrobes fully. Mainly because then we don’t have to worry about getting oil on your garments. Also most people don’t realize that the glutes are one of our largest muscle and often working them can help with core issues, low back pain and tight hips. Working on the glutes is beneficial, and draping can be done in a way in which you do not feel exposed.
However, due to situations in your past you may not feel safe fully disrobing. Please know that it is not our job to tell you differently, and if a therapist does, and you don't feel safe- you can leave their office. Most massage schools don’t include a trauma informed curriculum. Many of us have pursued further education, but not all of us have the same education. Please do not hesitate to call and interview a potential massage therapist before booking a session with them, this is a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have without the pressure of being in office. Please know that your comfort and safety should be a top priority! And if you’re working with a mental health professional, ask them for a referral to a massage therapist they trust, it’s likely they have a recommendation!
2. Do I need to shave my legs?
No! I joke with my clients that I didn’t shave either! I can say with 100% honesty, I will not notice your body hair. If your skin is sensitive, a massage may not feel great on freshly shaven legs. I think shaving is a personal choice. Keep your hair, shave your hair, I respect whatever you want to do with the hair on your body.
And while we are kind of on this topic...please shower before your session. We are not insinuating that you are dirty, but we are touching your skin, and it's no secret bacteria lives on skin. We don't wish to spread it around all over your body, and we are using our hands which means we are coming into contact with whatever you have on your body.
3. Can I tell my therapist if I don’t like something?
I’ve had clients share horror stories from prior massage experiences, and this really bums me out. The therapist went too deep and hurt the client, the therapist didn’t address the issues the client asked for help with during the consultation, the therapist talked the entire session about everything that was going wrong in their personal life. Here’s the deal, the client runs the session, YOU are paying us for a service. But an interesting thing happens during a massage, once you’re disrobed on a strangers table in a dark room with a closed door, there’s a turnover of power. You feel vulnerable, and why wouldn’t you? I still feel this way whenever I get a massage from someone I’ve never worked with before.
The therapist can’t do better if they don’t know better. I always appreciate my clients communicating with me, a simple “I have had a long day, I just need a quiet hour all to myself.” You basically just told the therapist you don’t want to talk in the kindest way possible! When my clients book their massage sessions they also have an option to complete a checklist including things like: I need to unwind so I appreciate a quiet session, as well as a space to let me know any aches and pains, and to let me know their desired outcome for our time together. With that information I am armed with the knowledge of how to give them the session they need. You can absolutely walk into your therapist office and share your likes and dislikes, and any intentions you have for the session.
When clients share their bad experiences from a massage I often hear, “I didn’t want to hurt the therapists feelings, so I didn’t say anything.” This is a business transaction, they are working for you, this isn’t about their feelings. This is about you paying for a service and getting what you paid for. If they don’t listen, then it is their fault.
If you’ve communicated your needs and the therapist is not making the adjustments to improve your experience, you have the right to end your session at any time. If you don’t feel comfortable articulating the reasons, blame it on a sick stomach. A therapist is not going to try to stop you from leaving the room if there is a chance they may have to clean up bodily fluids. If you feel comfortable, after you gather your thoughts, let the front desk know, speak to a manager, email the therapist (if they are a business owner). And under no circumstances are you obligated to return.
4. Can I get a massage while I’m on my period?
Absolutely, if you are comfortable doing so. A 2005 study found that abdominal massage may help with cramps and reduce low back pain. It is worth noting that since massage does increase blood flow, this means that you may notice your menstrual flow increase over the next 24 hours.
5. Cellulite, stretch marks, weight gain, body stuff…
Much like body hair, I don’t notice anything about your body aside from the muscles beneath my hands. I am focused on what your body is telling me, I simply don’t care about anything else. We work in a dark room, and in school we are taught not to watch our work. If we stared at our hands all day we’d have horrific head and neck aches! Here’s a little insider secret, many of us work with our eyes closed. Yep, closing our eyes helps us “see” through our hands and “listen” to your tissue. We love the human body, that’s why we got into this profession!
Bonus: Do I tip?
That is entirely up to you. Las Vegas is definitely a tip heavy city, but I've made the choice to set my rates in a way where I am comfortable not expecting a tip. My personal take on tipping is that it should never be expected, it is above and beyond. I don't tip my doctor, I don't tip my cashier, so it's just weird to me. I have friends who are massage therapists who disagree with my opinion. I do have clients who insist on tipping, I respect their wishes and I set that money aside and use it when I go to local coffee shops, or anytime I spend money on local small businesses. I like to keep the money in the community. My personal motto is that the best tip is a referral. Share me with your loved ones and friends! I don't believe tipping should be expected, nor should a therapist count on making tips in order to pay their bills. Massage isn't exactly cheap. If someone is stretching their budget to get a massage, they shouldn't also be expected to accommodate a tip expectation. That's my personal opinion.
The bottom line:
The client- massage therapist relationship is one that requires communication, respect and honesty in order to thrive. We love to know what you want so that we can give you the best experience possible, and we love to answer any questions you have! We also know that not every therapist is for every client, just as not every client is a good fit for every therapist. And it’s okay. There are plenty of us out there!
Did I miss a question you have about getting a massage? I'd love to hear from you!
Do you live in Las Vegas and want to book a massage? Click Book Now on the top right corner of my website!