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Five Embarrassing Questions About Massage | Alicia Michaelis, Licensed Massage Therapist | Conway, Arkansas

Five Embarrassing Questions About Massage

For most people, massage therapy can be a bit mysterious and, quite frankly, downright embarrassing. The good news is that massage doesn’t have to be any of that. Ideally, a massage should be a time when you can let your guard down, release tension and stress, and simply let go.

You’ll never be able to enjoy a massage if you spend the whole time nervous or embarrassed about certain things. Let’s face these embarrassing topics head-on so you can actually enjoy your next massage.

Underwear or no underwear?

I tell clients to get undressed to their comfort level. Some keep their underwear on, and some are completely nude; either way is fine. If you choose to be nude, rest assured you will be properly covered or draped during the entire massage. Only the area being massaged will be uncovered. This is for your comfort, not to mention the law requires it!

If some of your problem areas include the lower back, hips, glutes (buttocks), or groin, tight-fitting underwear can inhibit the level of work that can be done to those areas. If you must wear underwear during the massage, a thong for women or briefs for men would be ideal.

Will the massage therapist be there while I undress?

Before the massage starts, I will leave the room so you can undress and lie on the massage table face up under the top sheet. There is no need to rush or worry that the massage therapist will walk in on you–they will always knock and ask if you are ready before entering the room to start the massage.

Should I talk to the massage therapist during the massage?

The time spent during your massage session is about you.  Some people prefer to talk during the massage, while others fall to sleep.  Ultimately, the massage should be a time of relaxation.

It is important to communicate during the massage if you are uncomfortable in any way. If you experience any pain, have any questions related to the massage, or you forgot to mention something during the consultation, let the massage therapist know! Even if it is something small like the room temperature, it’s worth mentioning. You will enjoy your massage more and the therapist will be better able to serve you.

I want deeper pressure, but I do not want to insult the massage therapist. Should I say something?

Similar to the previous question, communication with the massage therapist is an important part of getting the most out of your massage. During the consultation, the massage therapist should ask what type of pressure you prefer for your massage. If you are unsure, it is even more important to communicate during the massage so the massage therapist can dial in the session to your level of comfort.

Deeper work can bring discomfort at times, but it is a myth that massage therapy has to hurt to be effective. Some of the most effective types of massage therapy are more gentle and do not involve deep pressure or pain. As a matter of fact, too much pressure can cause muscles to seize, which is counterproductive to the massage session.

If you are receiving deeper pressure and start to feel discomfort, focus on deep breathing, and be aware of your level of discomfort on a scale of 1–10 where one is no pain (are you even touching me?) and 10 is extremely painful (I need to go to the hospital now!). You should never get higher than 7-8.

I am self-conscious about a particular part of my body. I do not want the massage therapist to see me. What should I do?

People are self-conscious for different reasons. Maybe it’s a weight issue, excessive body hair, scars, or ugly feet. Whatever it is, being self-conscious should never keep you from seeing your doctor or a massage therapist.

You can ask the massage therapist to avoid the area you are self-conscious about, but remember that they see all body types. A massage session is no place for judgment; it is about you and your health. The massage therapist should make you feel less apprehensive and self-conscious. The sooner you are able to let that apprehension go, the sooner you can enjoy your massage. Just be sure to provide complete and accurate information on your client intake form so the massage therapist is aware of any precautions or contraindications.

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