Massage Myths: You Have to Bare it All

The Massage Myths series seeks to set the record straight with questions you may ask, or may be afraid to ask, with massage therapy.

This second article focuses on the common myth that you have to get completely naked for your massage therapy session.

* * * Often clients aren't sure what clothing to take off or leave on for their massage therapist session. Massage is often portrayed in media as a barely-covered model adorn in rose petals. So I often remind folks that the golden standard is: dress down to your comfort. Meaning: leave on, or take off, whatever clothing is most comfortable for you. That may mean you leave everything on, or take everything off, or anything in between.

The point being ANY clothing removal should ALWAYS be optional. It's ultimately your choice. You define your comfort, not your massage therapist.

Most commonly, clients remove clothing that would impede skin-to-skin contact for the areas that will be addressed during the massage treatment. For example: no shirt or bra if the focus of the session will be on the back. Or no pants if working on calves and knees. In any case, your massage therapist should provide adequate draping (with towels, sheets, or blankets) during your entire session to keep things professional and secure your modesty. Client comfort is what is most important. Some clients prefer massage fully clothed, and that is just fine. For clients who are very body self conscious or have emotional sensitivities to touch, I have provided a massage above the sheet or blanket barrier.

The bottom line is, there are options, and it's your call. No rose petals included.

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Myths Article Series

Massage Myths: Regular Massage Therapy is UNaffordable Massage Myths: You Have to Bare It All Massage Myths: Deep Tissue or Bust Massage Myths: Talking Ruins the Experience Massage Myths: You Gotta Shave Massage Myths: Drinking Water Post Massage

Hey there! My name's Raechel. I'm the author of The Bodies We Live In blog; a licensed massage therapist and owner of Massage Sci; an NCBTMB Approved Continuing Education Provider and curator of Torchlight Massage, home of my ebooks. 


In my free time, I enjoy writing about self-care; researching pain science; trying to grow things in my garden; being far too fond of semi-colons; and avid sci-fi nerding.