Ummm.. do I have to take all my clothes off?
The short answer is “No. Absolutely not.”
But the long answer is, well, much longer. This is one of the most frequently asked questions about massage and deserves some discussion.
In massage school it was suggested we say to clients, “Undress to your level of comfort.” I found that’s way too vague, and doesn’t really answer the questions. Heck, I’m not even sure what that means.
At some point I switched to, “I’ll leave the room so you can undress, there’s a chair for your clothes. Underwear on or off, however you’re most comfortable is fine.” That’s been working okay, but sometimes I feel more of an explanation would be useful.
First, no matter what, you’ll always be covered (draped) with a towel and a blanket if you're cold so that you’ll never be left feeling exposed or chilly. When I work on an arm, I fold the sheet back and tuck it under your arm so it’s secure (no drafts, my friends). I follow the same protocol for the leg.
When I work on the full back, I fold the drape down at the hips. If you’re wearing underwear I’ll gently tuck the towel around the waistband, to protect your clothes from massage oil. If you’re wearing a bra, I’ll work around it. If you’re wearing a t-shirt or tank top or space suit, I’ll work through it. I know plenty of very effective massage techniques that can be administered over clothing. If I feel I can’t effectively treat your issue through the clothing you’ve chosen to wear, I’ll tell you, and we’ll figure out another approach.
I’m not judging you and I want you to be comfortable. This massage is about you and it’s important you feel relaxed and safe. For some people that means leaving some clothing on. For others, it means taking it all off. There is no right or wrong, this is your massage.
Enjoy your next massage!