Whether you haven’t had your first massage yet, or if you’ve had one every week for the past six years, you may have some questions about massage. Sometimes we massage therapists forget that not everyone is as familiar with massage as we are, and what is normal to us isn’t so routine to our clients!
Below are questions that many people have about receiving massages, but are too shy to ask, followed by our honest answers!
Do I call you a masseuse?
Honestly, we prefer massage therapist! As the decades have gone on, masseuse (female) and masseur (male) now refer to unprofessional and unlicensed individuals who give massages. In other words, these are the people that you might see on the evening news getting arrested for illegal services mislabeled as “massage.” In efforts to keep our blog Rated G, we’ll leave out extra details!
That said, some states do have masseuse and masseur as legal titles for individuals practicing relaxation-only massages (relaxation-only means that the “masseuse/masseur” cannot do any therapeutic work, such as deep tissue massage, trigger pointing, etc.). These are legit positions that are often (but not always) filled by students going to school to become licensed massage therapists. We do wish states using those terms, however, would use other titles (eg, Relaxation Practitioner sounds great, right?). True massage has never been, is not, and will never be unethical, risqué, or anything that you may have seen on the TV series The Client List.
So in short, massage therapist, MT, massage practitioner, licensed massage therapist, and LMT, are all appropriate references!
How much of my clothes should I take off? Do I leave on my bra? Underwear?
A good massage therapist will never insist that you remove more clothing than with what you are comfortable. However, if you are comfortable, completely removing all articles of clothing (including bra and underwear) will optimize the fluidity of the massage.
Massage therapists are trained in proper draping, which is not only ethical, but a legal mandate in many states. This means that genitalia, female breast tissue, and the gluteal cleft (aka, “butt crack”), will not be exposed. The therapist will be able to navigate through an entire massage with fluidity, while maintaining your dignity, and his/her professionalism.
Where should I put my hands & arms while I’m on my back or belly?
When you are lying on your back, place your hands & arms wherever is most comfortable for you! Your therapist will gently move them if s/he needs to. When lying on your belly, the same “whatever is comfortable” rule still applies, except for hanging your arms over the sides of the table. This makes it awkward for the therapist to lean in and give you the pressure you need, since your arm is in the way. Most of the time we will never ask you to move your arms, because it’s your hour, so we end up using poor body mechanics and being in pain for a while. For an optimum experience for both of us, place arms to your sides.
Does the therapist care if I don’t shave my legs?
Nope. Chances are, her legs aren’t shaved, either. Just sayin’. Furthermore, it actually makes us feel warm & fuzzy (no pun intended) when you come to us with unshaved legs, because that tells us you’re comfortable with us!
If the massage therapist is about to massage my legs, and I realize that my legs are closed against each other and unreachable to be massaged, should I let her open my legs, or should I open my own legs? –I don’t want her to think I’m sending an inappropriate signal.
We won’t think that! Promise! If you open your own legs, we probably won’t even notice. If you do not open your own legs, we are trained in moving around arms & legs to give you the best massage possible. Even if your legs are twisted into a pretzel, we will reposition your legs in such a way that your relaxed state will not be disturbed, your dignity will be maintained, and neither of us will think that the other is attempting inappropriate behavior.
I’m a guy, and I truly have no inappropriate intentions, but I’m worried that my body will react in ways that the therapist might think otherwise.
Much of a massage therapist’s training deals with anatomy and physiology. We are well aware of, and familiar with, physiological responses! We only become concerned if your behavior and choice of words become inappropriate. If your body reacts in a physiological way, we are quite experienced in ignoring it, and hope you can ignore it, too! Only inappropriate behavior and/or words will not be ignored; in this case the massage is ended abruptly, and the client is liable for full payment. Intentions, not physiology, are the more weighty issue, either way!
I may fall asleep. And snore. And if other *sounds* leave my body, I’m going to be mortified.
Here’s some trivia for you: In some countries (India, Hungary, China, France, etc.), it is a compliment to the host/hostess or chef if you belch after finishing your plate. Keep this in mind if you catch yourself snoring during your massage! Your snoring tells us that you are so relaxed that you have drifted into the Land of Wood Sawing. As far as those *other* noises, we’re used to it. Seriously. And again, it speaks to the deep level of relaxation in which we put you, which in a weird sense, is also a compliment!
Should I talk during a massage, or is it rude to just be silent during the massage?
A good massage therapist will leave that up to you; again, it’s your hour. The rule of thumb is for the therapist to speak when spoken to, so it’s actually rude for the therapist to be chatty during the massage without determining if you’re a talker or not. You will certainly not offend us if you choose to be silent your entire session. Neither will you offend us if you choose to converse during the session!
Am I supposed to shower after the massage?
If you get your massage at The Oil Bar, it’s more beneficial if you do not shower immediately after your massage. We use high quality products that absorb into your skin, so hold off a few hours before you shower!
I don’t like the music playing in the massage room.
It is not a problem at all to ask for a change of music! It is important to all quality massage therapists that our clients enjoy their massage experience completely, including atmospheric effects!
What’s up with massaging the butt cheeks??
Firstly, a quality therapist will maintain ethical and legal boundaries, which states that the gluteal cleft, or “butt crack,” will not be exposed. Gluteal massage is very beneficial especially for issues such as low back pain, and the gluteal muscles are what make up your buttocks. Some therapists will expose one side of the buttocks at a time with your permission as an extension of your leg and hamstrings massage; others perform a gluteal massage through the sheet, and can just as effectively achieve the massage.
As with all aspects of massage, it is your hour (or hour & a half; or two hours!), so if you are not comfortable with gluteal massage, it is important to communicate that to the therapist.
I have more questions about massage. Who can I ask?
We love questions! Please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that you have clarification on a few issues, give us a try!
Now that you have clarification on a few issues, give us a try!
At The Oil Bar, we staff experienced, compassionate, and knowledgeable practitioners that participate in our new VIP program, which makes massage therapy and esthetics more practical and feasible for your life. As a VIP you will always enjoy perks, and never pay full price for any esthetic or massage service!
Enjoy the coupon below for $10 off your full-price massage or esthetic service, with a free aromatherapy upgrade using an essential oil of your choice. Our practitioners will help you make the perfect choice for your massage! Take home your essential oil choice for 15% off!
Call 614-880-3950 to schedule your esthetic service, or visit www.theoilbar.com and click on the Massage link at the top of the page to schedule online!