How to prepare for a massage
I get lots of questions from people who have never received massage before.
What do I wear? What do I remove? Should I shower?
The best things to remember are that the therapist is working with you in a darkened room, and they see bodies all day. The only thing your therapist is concerned with is your soft tissues: skin, muscles, viscera and tendons. A professional massage therapist will also only undrape the section of the sheet of the body part they are working on. In Nevada, this means the breasts must always be covered, the genitals and the gluteal crease. Draping means how the sheet is placed on the body during the massage. An effective drape will leave you, the client, feeling secure and spare the therapist's eyes from seeing something they don't want to see. Trust me, we don't want to see any of your private regions, ever.
Hygiene is very important; your massage therapist will smell it if you haven't showered in a few days. If your feet are blackened and dirty, do you expect them to get their face close to them to massage you? Worse yet, some therapists touch other body parts after they massage the feet, are you comfortable with the dirt from your feet being spread about your body?
A good rule of thumb is to come with dirty hair, and a clean body. What you elect to do regarding shaving the legs or underarms is your personal choice, and will not offend the therapist, nor do we pay attention to when you shaved your legs last. I have recently been reminded that shaving isn't always best before massage, as you're dragging a blade over the skin which can create micro-cuts that could spread pathogens to the therapist's hands.
Clothing worn to/from the massage should be comfortable. If you're receiving a shiatsu, Thai or Fijiian massage, they will ask you to wear loose-fitting garments that you keep on during the treatment.
Most massage modalities require you to at least remove your shirt and pants prior to getting on the table. Some therapists do not mind if you retain your undergarments. If you are in Europe, expect to get fully disrobed and have minimal covering on the body. If you are extra-modest, inform your therapist and they will do their best to accommodate you. You can even ask to be massaged fully-clothed. Please also remove your jewelry prior to your appointment, and inform your therapist if you do not want your face, abdomen, feet or other area to be worked on.
Body treatments like exfoliation, mud masks and wraps are most effective with unshaven/unwaxed legs/underarms, no clothing at all, and dirty hair. Oftentimes the products will get on or near your scalp or hairline, so plan accordingly to be able to shower after a body treatment.
As for males, it's just an easy rule of thumb to remember to shower before and after your treatment if possible. If you must wear undergarments, try to remember that they may get oil or lotion on them, so save your best skivvies for date night.
In Nevada, (I work in Las Vegas) it is also illegal for the therapist to speak to you regarding your body in a personal nature. NAC 640C prohibits these items:
15. Any behavior, gesture or expression that may reasonably be interpreted as seductive or sexual;
16. Making statements regarding the client’s body, appearance, sexual history or sexual orientation other than for legitimate health care purposes;
A licensed massage therapist will comply with the laws, provide a quality massage and maintain professionalism.
Currently, only 10% of the US population receives massage. I'd love to see those numbers increase as people become aware of the powerfully impactful effects of quality massage therapy for their body, mind and stressful lives.
If you're in Las Vegas, Nevada and looking for a legitimate massage therapist, contact me today!
Denise Bolanos, NVMT.6185