11 Massage Etiquette Tips Everyone Should Know

Man getting massage
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Have you ever had a massage? If not, you're missing out on one of the most relaxing experiences ever. Before you go to your massage appointment, make sure you know what to expect and how to act to make the most of the experience. 

If you are ever in doubt about what to do, you can rely on standard etiquette guidelines, and ask the therapist about anything you're not sure about. The massage professional will appreciate your questions and willingness to do the right thing.

Arrive Clean

No massage therapist wants to work on a dirty, stinky body so be sure to arrive clean. Not only do you owe this to the professional you've hired to knead your muscles, but you should also have the pride to take care of basic hygiene before you go. Wear deodorant but don't douse yourself in heavy perfume or cologne before your massage.

Arrive on Time

When you book an appointment, jot it down, put it on your calendar, and if you are the forgetful type, put a reminder in your cell phone. Don't keep your therapist waiting as that can be very rude. She might have other appointments, and since she's trying to make a living, you should never cause her to be late for them.

The first time you see the therapist you might want to arrive a few minutes early to fill out paperwork, you don't want to be rushed when you're answering health questions.

Be Comfortable

Most massages are best if you are completely naked, but if you're uncomfortable without your underwear on you won't be able to relax. If you prefer to keep your clothes on, you don't have to apologize. Just remember that the therapist can only massage what is exposed. Be sure you also use the restroom before the session so that you avoid interruption during your massage.

Don't Worry About Hair

You may or may not shave your legs before your appointment, your massage therapist really doesn't care. If removing the hair on any part of your body makes you more comfortable, do it, but remember that it's completely for you.

Be Respectful

Your massage therapist is trained and, in most states, certified. In other words, he or she is a professional who takes the job seriously. Respect this person's education and knowledge, and never expect more than a professional massage.

If you make an inappropriate proposition you are asking him or her to break the law, and you can count on that therapist never offering you another appointment. Never tell an off-color joke about the massage profession as that would be a terrible insult and may result in your therapist not accepting another appointment with you.

Be Open

Let the therapist know what feels good and what hurts. If you don't speak up, he won't know. Your massage therapist's job is to help release tension, not create it. Most of the time your therapist will follow your lead with conversation, music, lighting, and anything else related to the session.

Be Honest

Let your therapist know about any health issues you have. Most certified massage therapists know how to work with or around medical conditions. In some cases, a massage may not be a good idea, and in that case, the therapist should let you know.

Discuss allergies to creams, oils, and fragrances with your therapist. The massage therapist does not want to make you sick. If you wake up on the day of your appointment with a cold or the flu, call the therapist and reschedule.

Don't Linger Too Long

The massage therapist knows that it may take you a few minutes to get up and get dressed after your massage, but don't take a nap or linger for an hour. Someone may need to get the room ready for the next person's session.

Be Generous

Most spa and gym massage therapists accept tips. This is a good way to show your appreciation for your sense of well-being. Tips range from 10 to 20 percent, depending on the region.

If your massage therapist works in a medical setting, you're not expected to tip. If there is a notice posted to this effect, don't try to push the tip because that puts the therapist in a very uncomfortable position.

Respect the Appointment

Schedule your massage session as far in advance as possible. That said, people in that profession know that sudden aches and pains may have you begging for a last-minute appointment, and if they have room on their schedule, they are most likely willing to accommodate you.

If you must break the appointment, do so as early as you know you can't make it. That gives your therapist time to book someone else who may want your time slot.

Enjoy and Relax

As tension mounts in our lives, we have to find ways to relax our muscles, and a massage is one of the best ways to do this. Just make sure you treat the technician with the respect all professionals deserve.