Obligatory Embarrassing Massage Questions Post

What is a massage website without a list of embarrassing questions? Is it even real?

Well, here is the list of answers for the questions you know you want to ask.

1.       Am I supposed to talk to my therapist or just shut up and lay there?

The massage is your session, so it is up to you.  I have some clients who chat the whole massage and some who don’t want to be spoken to because they pretend they’re on a beach in Maui. Personally, so long as its not religion or politics, I don’t mind chatting but I also won’t start the conversation.  I let the client set the tone. On the flip side, some therapists prefer not to speak, but they will let you know if they’d like you to focus on relaxing.

2.       Why do you need all this information on the intake form?

Massage is a Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). As a medical professional, we are required to keep records of our clients and have releases for treatment as well as disclosure of medical history.

A lot of medical conditions can have unexpected effects on a massage.  For example, massage can lower blood sugar levels, which would affect someone who is diabetic. Thyroid hormone levels can affect the skin and hair. Certain medications can result in the client bruising easily or not being able to feel and relate pain that the client feels. It is important that your therapist is aware of any medical conditions or medications that you take so they make any adjustments necessary.

3.       What if I have to go to the bathroom during the massage?

Just let your therapist know. We can pause and let you dress and go to the bathroom. Some therapists keep a robe to throw on for bathroom breaks, however, I do not.  The restroom for my office is in a public waiting room that is shared by other professionals (yoga teacher and psychotherapists). As scheduling permits, I try to extend the massage so you do not lose any table time so long as my schedule has enough time before the next client arrives.

4.       I’m afraid I will snore/drool/pass gas/get an erection during the massage.

All of that is normal.  Snoring, drooling, passing of gas, and stomach grumbles are all signs that your body is relaxed.  If you need a tissue or to be excused for the restroom, don’t be afraid to ask.  As well, do not feel a need to apologize as these are all normal and natural.

Erections are also normal as massage can feel good and massaging of areas such as the upper thigh can cause natural reactions. Just as in sleep, during states of deep relaxation, the body goes through a series of checks which include erections. Most therapist will drape sheets in a way that erections are not noticeable. So long as the client behaves appropriately, there is no problem and the therapist will ignore it.  However, if there is any type of inappropriate action by the client, the therapist will stop the massage.

5.       What do I do if I’m ticklish?

Once again, just let us know.  It is common for the feet, knees, and upper thighs to be ticklish.  Your therapist will ask if you’d prefer us to skip the area all together or if you would like to try using a deeper pressure, which will sometimes keep the massage from tickling.

6.       Do I tip?

Tips are never expected but always appreciated.  Tips are expressions of appreciation for the therapists work that you feel deserve more than the charge for the service.

For employed therapists: In spa settings, a tip of 15-20% or $12-20/hour are normal. In medical offices, you can ask the therapist if they are allowed to accept tips.

For independently operating therapists, tips are at the discretion of the client.

7.       Do I have to be naked?

No, you don’t.  You are expected to undress to whatever you are comfortable with.  I would say 2/3 of my clients keep their underpants on. That being said, breast and genital regions remain covered the entire massage.  If you do not want your bare backside worked, just keep your underpants on and the therapist will know.

For some women, it is more comfortable for them to keep their bra on.  In that case, your therapist may slip the straps down the shoulders and/or unhook the bra when massaging the back.  If you do not want the bra moved, just let the therapist know.

Some people prefer not to undress or to keep shorts and a tank top on.  If that is the case, it is recommended that you inform the therapist when you book the appointment to they can prepare an alternative to the usual undressed massage.  Seated massage or clothed table massage are options.  As well, any exposed areas can be massaged as usual.

8.       But I have body hair/acne/haven’t shaved/am not the freshest.

As therapists, we see a lot of bodies. None of these things bother us.

Body hair is no problem. For hairy men, we simply use more lotion and skip the oil. For women, if you haven’t shaved- men don’t shave and we massage their legs too.

Acne happens.  So long as it is not widespread, sensitive, or open wounds, we can work over it.  The reason we cannot work over severe acne is that therapists do not want to spread bacteria from one patch to another. Individual white or blackheads are not a problem.

Many clients come straight from work and everyone is a little sweaty during the summer.  If you feel uncomfortable, many therapists will have supplies for you to freshen up.  I have spray deodorant, personal wet wipes, lotion, and mints for the clients to make use of.  As well, many therapists will have a hot towel that you can use to freshen up with.

9.       I wish the pressure was deeper/lighter. I’m too hot/cold. I don’t like the music. Etc.

Don’t be shy.  If you would like something during your massage, let us know.  We can change the music, adjust our pressure, add or take away a blanket, give you a pillow, give you a tissue, adjust the headrest. Just let your therapist know if there is anything they can do to make you more comfortable or make your massage better.

Candice Guinan