Massage Etiquette


Massage Etiquette

From a Therapists Point of View.


There are many variations of massage out there, and different approaches to these modalities.  People who enter this field are mostly empathetic to the needs of others, myself included.  We will show you the utmost compassion, but that’s not without any teensy grievances which are inherent to the field. There’s a lot to know, and as a client you may have some questions.  Some questions are easier to ask than others.

These are some HINTS on how to get the most out of your massage and WIN THE HEART OF YOUR THERAPIST (in a strictly client/therapist relationship only … we don’t want to make the news like that zumba lady of Kennebunk). Some of these tips may not apply to every single therapist out there, and there are probably some things that I missed. So I am shedding some light on to issues that I have encountered recently and/or frequently.



Expect to be covered up with SOMETHING. Probably a sheet. Maybe a towel if your at a spa. DON’T expect to be able to be on the table in your skivvies and feel like that’s OK. It is weird. And if your therapist allows you to do that, they have no cohones to guard themselves otherwise.  Or they’re feeling pressured into it by a manipulative client via payment, and that is just cruel.



Tell your therapist if YOU DON’T LIKE SOMETHING. Too Hard? Too soft? Too much work on your big toe when your back is whats bothering you? A good therapist will take your input and work with it. We don’t know everything!  WE WANT YOU TO TELL US!



You don’t have to apologize if you didn’t shave your legs. Its not that bad for us. Hair is a part of life. To make you feel better, I will say that shaved backs are way worse, and in some cases unshaved backs! 




Less the jibber jabber, the more relaxed you will feel. Up to you though. 



Don’t smoke a cigarette RIGHT BEFORE you enter the massage room! We hate that!



Always know how long the session will run.*



Tipping depends on the place you go. Chances are a therapist at a chain massage studio doesn’t really make much, so keep that in mind. If a massage business does not want to have their therapists accept tips, it is because the therapists are paid well and want to have an association with a medical profession more than the uber-pampering, luxurious massage places.

The majority of therapists enjoy a nice tip, and if we don’t receive one from you, we wonder what we did wrong. Sure in this economy not everyone can shell out the dough. If you cannot afford to tip what you believe the therapist deserves, that’s OK.  I once had a client tell me directly that she didn’t have the money to tip me but she really liked her experience.  This made me feel good about not making the money. 



Finding a great therapist.

Every therapist is different and every person has a different body and different likes/dislikes. Still, the best way to find your kindred therapist is referrals from a friend. Going through Groupon may not produce the greatest experience even though its cheap. There’s a good chance you will get an exhausted therapist whose jaded because they only get paid the percent on what the customer paid. So that nice $35 massage could pay the therapist $11.               Refer to Tip 7.



Bodily Functions.

Yeah we all fart, OK? It really isn’t a big deal. Smoking still ranks higher in the nasty department.  (Just try to do it when our faces aren’t *right* there.)


TIP 10


I mean your feet. Having a some B.O is mildly offputting but we aren’t touching your pits. We touch your feet and if it is possible, come in with them fresh. Don’t agonize over them if you just got out of work, but think of it this way- we probably touch your feel and then touch somewhere else on your body, thus spreading the feet germs. Long story short, be aware of any dirt caked onto your feet (especially during flip-flop season.)


Tip 11

Please arrive a few minutes before the session starts.

If you want your complete time, the best way to get there is if you are ready to be on the table at the beginning of your appointment. If you have an appointment from 3 – 4, get there at 2:55 so you can go to the bathroom, update your therapist about anything new, then be ready to get settled in for 60 minutes in heaven. Some places will end at 3:55 in order to spend the last 5 minutes letting you get dressed and giving you self care advice.


TIP 12


Be it stretching, hydration, or increasing your postural awareness, you should actually do it. This gets you the full benefit of your massage and the MONEY you paid for it.


TIP 13

Don’t lay there and watch your therapist. It feels creepy.

Unless he/she is your friend- that’s OK. Otherwise, it is a bit disturbing to be watched by the client we are working on. Simply having eyes open can be bothersome at times, but I have gotten massage from friends and kept my eyes opened, and realized it because I want to talk to my therapist. Just don’t WATCH, please.

 Hope you found my helpful hints informative as well as entertaining. 

This is completely from my own and other select therapists’ perspective, so if this doesn’t jive with you, disregard it.

*: I once got a free massage from a friend of a friend, a man I hardly knew. Boy, was I uninformed.  Two hours later, we were done and this man had his shirt off and the room was almost completely dark.  Needless to say, I was very surprised by this.  And a bit creeped out.  True Story.

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