During your massage
During the massage, you may find that you get the most enjoyable experience by remaining silent, or you may prefer to chat. Express your preference to the therapist beforehand. You should also provide feedback to your massage therapist; if you want him or her to go deeper or to work more in a certain area, for example, express it. At the end of the massage, the therapist will step out to allow you to collect yourself, usually telling you to “take your time” getting off the table; interpret this as taking a few minutes to relax and end your session. The modest draping is there for the therapist’s comfort and boundaries as well as the client’s.
It is also the law, and therefore non-negotiable, in many states. Also, never undress or dress in front of the therapist. Wait until she or he has left the room or space. If you are very modest, certainly tell the therapist. Body workers have dealt with all levels of modesty, and can work with you and make all sorts of accommodations for your comfort. More modest draping, leaving items of clothing on, or other modalities are all options. There are a couple other issues involving the body that must be mentioned-hygiene and apologies. Clearly, it’s polite and considerate to be clean upon arrival for a massage.
I have had clients come to an appointment immediately after a workout, after gardening all day, walking around barefoot, and I will just say…other events. Although squeaky-cleanness or a special pre- massage shower is not required or expected, neither are filth, dirt, sweat or any body fluids. It’s not just what you think it might be, like offensive odors or germs-it can actually interfere with the massage strokes, oils, and lotions. Likewise, lots of body lotion, dried or caked deodorant, body glitter, powder, or anything else should not be used prior to a massage.
Many clients are so self conscious and uncomfortable, that they constantly apologize about their weight, hair on arms or chest, lack of freshly shaved legs, tattoos, piercings, and a host of other things. This is unnecessary, and even a possible source of discomfort for the therapist, having to validate and reassure. Experienced massage therapists have likely seen and worked on a wide array of body types, and apologies are unnecessary. Believe me when I say what you think is abnormal about your body is probably common and normal.