Massage therapy is a wonderful way to unwind and relax. It can help you deal with stress, anxiety, and pain. And it can even help your body recover from injury or illness.
If you’ve been thinking about getting a massage, congratulations! You’re going to love it. But before you do, there are some things that you should know about what not to say or do with your massage therapist.
You might be surprised to learn that massage therapists are professionals who have often spent decades honing their craft—but they’re also human beings who have feelings just like everyone else. As a customer, it’s important that you treat them with respect and consideration so they can give you the best possible experience.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide on what NOT to say or do with your massage therapist.
1) Ask Your Massage Therapist to Go See a Movie / Come to Your House / Etc.
One of the most important things to remember when you’re working with a massage therapist is that they’re not your therapist. They are not your doctor. They are not your friend—at least, not in the way you might think.
The role of a massage therapist is to give clients a massage. They don’t want to hear about how your ex cheated on you or how much money you spent on this shirt and why it didn’t fit right. They don’t want to be invited over to watch Netflix with you and your dog, and they don’t want to go see a movie with you. A massage therapist wants to be treated like any other professional—with respect and professionalism.
Your massage therapist will probably ask some questions about what’s going on in your life, but this is generally because they need context for what kind of massage treatment would be best for you. If you tell them about how much stress you’ve been under lately, for example, they’ll know that deep tissue work might not be the best choice for what you need right now—maybe try out some relaxation techniques instead!
2) Don’t Make Excessive Noises in Massage Room
If you want to make sure that your next massage is as relaxing as possible, there are a few things you can do to help the situation. First and foremost: don’t make excessive noises in the room. Even if you’re having a fantastic massage and can’t quite believe how great it feels, it’s important to keep your vocalizations to a minimum—you don’t want to distract your therapist from what they’re doing!
Moreover, you must understand that you are not the only client in the room and making excessive noises can be quite disruptive for other people. If you’re having a good time, try to keep your voice down so that you don’t disturb your fellow patrons!
Also, excessive noise can be interpreted as a sign of impatience or frustration. If you’re not enjoying your massage, it’s important to communicate this to the therapist in a calm and respectful manner.
3) Comment on Our Looks/Attractiveness
It’s natural to find your massage therapist attractive, and it’s also normal to make comments about their appearance. However, it is important to be aware of how this will be perceived by the person you’re making these comments about. Being a professional, your massage therapist will likely not appreciate being treated as an object of desire. They are there to provide a service and should be treated with the same respect that you would give any other professional (such as a doctor or lawyer). If you’re complimenting them on their looks, it’s best to do so in a respectful way that doesn’t make them feel uncomfortable or embarrassed!
4) Poke Your Head Out of the Room to Let Us Know You’re Ready
You’ve scheduled your massage appointment, making sure you know where the studio is located and arrive on time. Now what? Your massage therapist may be ready for you to come in immediately, or they may need a few minutes to prepare for your session. It’s important that you accept their need for privacy and respect their time. They, too, are humans with basic needs, and they may need to use the restroom or make a quick phone call before your session begins. If you’re ready to go in immediately, let the receptionist know that!
5) Start Undressing While We Are Still in the Room
When your massage therapist goes to get their supplies, this is the perfect opportunity for you to start removing your clothes. This will let them know that you’re ready and give them time to prepare the room before they come back out. This also helps eliminate that sense of discomfort or awkwardness that sometimes accompanies the first meeting of a massage therapist and their client. The more at ease they are, the better your experience will be!
6) Don’t Touch Us
Perhaps the most important rule of massage etiquette is not to touch the therapist. Massage is a sacred art, and the massage therapist is in control. You are not allowed to touch them, and that’s just a natural part of the process. If you touch them, it could be interpreted as sexual harassment, and that’s not what massage is about. It’s a completely different type of experience that requires complete trust between the two parties involved—which is why it’s so important to follow the rules of etiquette.
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Dr. Hedstrom began his studies at the University of Iowa and continued his studies at Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida where he was a Cum Laude graduate of the doctoral program. Learn more about Dr. Dustin Hedstrom, D.C.