Do you tip? Are you supposed to be nude? Do you say anything if the pressure’s not deep enough? What if you’re self-conscious about your body?
Here are the answers to ten massage questions you want to ask, but may be too embarrassed to.
Am I supposed to tip my massage therapist?
If you get a massage at a spa or hotel, a 15% to 20% tip is standard if you were pleased with the services. On the other hand, there are no real ground rules or norms when it comes to massage. If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to ask if tipping is customary. You can call ahead to ask if you don’t want to do it face to face. If tipping isn’t the norm, you can always show your appreciation by referring friends, family and co-workers to the massage therapist.
Am I supposed to take off my underwear when I get a massage?
Many people prefer to keep their panties or briefs on during a massage, while others prefer to be completely nude. It’s up to you. If your problem areas are your lower back, hips, buttocks, or groin, tight-fitting underwear can sometimes get in the way of massage work, but a thong for women or briefs for men should do the trick.
What if I realize I’ve drooled during the massage?
Many people fall into a peaceful slumber during the massage but when they wake up, they notice a pool of drool on the pillow or massage table. This is very common. It often happens when people are being massaged while lying face down on the massage table. Don’t be afraid to ask the massage therapist for a tissue.
Should I talk to the massage therapist during the massage?
Although some people prefer to talk throughout the massage, don’t feel like you have to make conversation with the massage therapist. After all, you’re having a treatment, you’re not at a cocktail party! Feel free to close your eyes and relax, which is what most people do. Deep tissue massage and sports massage are just some of the types of massage that require more feedback. The massage therapist often works on deeper layers of muscle and will want to ensure that the pressure is not uncomfortable.
Be sure to speak up if:
the room is too hot or too cold
you experience pain
you have any questions related to the massage
there’s anything you forgot to mention during the consultation
What if I get an erection during the massage?
Some men don’t get massage therapy because they worry that they’ll get an erection. Or they get the massage, but are unable to relax during the massage because of this fear. But there is no reason to be embarrassed. It’s perfectly normal for men to get an erection during a non-sexual, therapeutic massage. Gentle touch administered to any area of the body can activate the parasympathetic nervous system and cause a partial or full erection. Your massage therapist (male or female) understands this and will generally ignore it. If you are still worried, you may wish to wear swimming trunks during the massage, which provides more support than boxers.
The pressure isn’t deep enough, but I don’t want to insult the massage therapist’s technique. What should I do?
Communicate openly with the massage therapist. Keep in mind however that it’s a myth that massage therapy has to hurt to be effective. Some of the most effective types of massage therapy are gentle and do not involve deep pressure or pain. In fact, too much pressure can cause muscles to seize up. Here is a good rule of thumb — on a scale of one to 10 where one is no pain and 10 is extremely painful, the pressure should always be less than seven.
I’m self-conscious about a certain part of my body and don’t want the massage therapist to see me. What can I do?
People are self-conscious for various reasons. Some of the more common concerns are:
I have excessive hair growth on my body.
I’ve got acne on my face or back.
My feet are ugly.
I have scars.
Being self-conscious should never keep you from seeking health care, whether it’s visiting your doctor or seeing a massage therapist. If you’re self-conscious about a certain part of your body, you can ask the massage therapist to avoid that area. Or, you can opt for a therapy that is done through clothing, such as shiatsu or Thai massage. Because no massage oil or lotion is used, you remain fully clothed during the session.You can even bring your own comfortable clothes to wear. Just remember to provide complete and accurate information on your health history form, so that the massage therapist is aware of any precautions or contraindications.