Top 10 Questions About Massage Etiquette

From stripping to tipping and “oh no, what if I snore?” your first massage may make you feel a little uncomfortable or even embarrassed but do not worry. We have all the answers to your un asked questions here. These are my top 10 most asked questions and concerns when it comes to getting a massage.

  1. What do I wear?

    The guideline that our therapists give clients is “Undress to your comfort level”. That being said, every so often when the therapist re-enters the room the client is still completely dressed because they didn’t want to offend the therapist. Heads up, we have seen it all and rarely get offended. Massage works best on bare skin so the less clothes the better. We have secret ninja ways of draping, or covering, clients so nothing embarrassing is exposed. I often let new clients know that they can leave their bottoms on if we are only working up top but to get comfortable. For me comfort typically means no pants. Underwear on or off is another option for modestly, however, if you are suffering from glute, hip, or low back pain, the glutes need to be addressed and bare glutes are best. Again, we always make sure you are covered and don’t feel exposed in anyway.

  1. Do I tip the Massage Therapist?

    Massage therapy is a service so tipping is greatly appreciated. However, here we see many clients as much as 4 times a month and that can add up. We would rather you get the treatment you need then have to miss your appointment because you can’t tip. Tipping is typically around 20% for the service, similar to a restaurant. Some tip more, some tip less, some tip in chocolate. All are acceptable. Rarely are tips added to gift cards, if they are we write it on the card, so adding gratuity based on the original price is customary. Also, chocolate.

  2. Do you ever have to work on anyone overweight?

    Have? Since over 30% of the american population is overweight and nearly 40% are obese we often work on people who struggle with weight. To massage therapist, all bodies are just muscles and bones that are overused, underused, and misused. There is no judgement here. Our staff is here to support our clients. Many of our clients wish to feel more comfortable in their body through massage, movement, and often weight loss. We encourage our clients not to be so self conscious about their bodies that they won't seek help from health professionals, massage therapists, and yoga teachers. Our concern is your wellbeing, not the way you look or feel like you look. We are here to help clients reach their wellness goals.

  3. I’m ticklish, I might not like massage.

    Definitely let your MT know if you are ticklish! A slow, firm, precise pressure often alleviates any ticklishness.

    via GIPHY

  4. Am I supposed to feel like I have the flu after a Deep Tissue massage?

    NO! A common misconception among clients and therapists alike is that deep tissue should hurt. It should not hurt! For healing to occur in the body, no matter how deep your therapist goes, you should be able to take a complete breath in and out without wincing. If you can’t breathe deeply your body is taking on more damage than therapy. Some soreness can occur after the massage as you move out of your typical “functional state of dysfunction” and start making improvements in your alignment. Muscles hold tension, stress, and metabolic waste as that releases you may feel residual soreness but you shouldn’t need a day or two to recover from massage. Always let your therapist know if it is too deep. We watch the breath and twinges of the body to guide us into the correct pressure for you.

  5. Should I talk or no?

    Deeper relaxation occurs when you are quiet but sometimes quietude make those with high functioning anxiety more anxious. Sometimes talking through issues can help the body relax and our therapists are more than happy to lend an ear. Clients shouldn’t feel like they need to entertain their therapist and should do their best to focus on their breathing during the appointment. Some people are talkers, we get it. In a studio like ours, the walls are not super thick and the doors all open into a common area so it’s best to talk quietly if you do need to talk. We want all clients to feel comfortable enough to tell us if the pressure is okay, or to ask for what they need.

  6. I forgot to shave my legs!

    Me too. Your massage therapist couldn’t be less concerned with your body hair.

    via GIPHY

  7. Do you think a massage can “fix” me?

    Yes and No. Do I believe regular massage therapy can identify and heal your muscular imbalances and tension issues? You better believe it! Do I think 1 massage or 5 irregular sporadic massages will address your issues? No. Your body pain didn’t happen overnight. Most of us have been working on our imbalances since our first steps. You won’t get rid of these imbalances overnight either. Massage therapy, resistive stretching, or postural alignment are keys to your health that need to be practiced regularly to receive the results that you want.

  8. What if I get an erection during a massage?

    Listen, we know that erections can occur when the body starts to down regulate. Usually they go unnoticed and are nothing to be embarrassed by. Please do not feel the need to address it. Tuck it in and don’t make it awkward.

  9. What if I fart, or drool, or snore?

    These bodily functions are like a tip to massage therapists! These are signs that you are relaxing. Listen, I know it may seem embarrassing to pass gas during a massage but everyone does it. It’s better to let it release than to clench and worry about it for an hour. If you need to excuse yourself you can or just act like you’re asleep. Who cares. You can always excuse yourself and head to the restroom. Snoring and drooling are clear signs that you are sleeping or in a trance-like state and we applaud you for it (and ourselves too).

After practicing massage for 12 years I have been asked every question you can imagine. If you have a question that was not answered here feel free to comment below or shoot me an email. It is our goal that you feel safe and comfortable here at Balanced Bodies so make yourself at home and don’t worry about being new to the world of massage.

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Balanced BodiesMidtown Tulsa's most comprehensive self-improvement facility. At Balanced Bodies, we bring together self-defense, self-awareness, and inner peace to empower people in their daily lives.
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Balanced Bodies

Call: 918-619-6312
Email: [email protected]
Midtown Tulsa
Add: 1866 E. 15th St. Tulsa, OK 74104
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