massage questions

Do you tip?  Are you supposed to be nude?  Do you say anything if the pressure is not deep enough?  What if youíre self-conscious about your body?
It's hard to relax if you are not completely comfortable.  Please feel free to ask questions or share your concerns at any time.

Here are the answers to some massage questions you may want to ask, but find too embarrassing.
 1.  Am I supposed to tip? 
If you get a massage at a spa or hotel, a 15% to 20% tip is standard if you are pleased with the services.

If youíre not sure, donít be afraid to ask if tipping is customary. You can call ahead to ask if you donít want to do it face to face.

At Balance, tipping is not expected.  Feel free to show your appreciation by spreading the word about the benefits of massage and taking some cards to share with friends, family and co-workers.  Your referrals are always appreciated!  You can also do this by email here: share this website and always feel free to share your experience by creating a review here: Reviews
Update January 2011:  It's been expressed to me that I should be gracious and not decline tips which are given as an individual's voluntary way of showing while still never expected, I have decided to create a continuing education fund so that you can be assured your gratuities go back to my improving practice and your future care.
 2.  Am I supposed to remove my underwear?
Undies are optional draping is not.
Itís up to you. Some people prefer to keep their panties or briefs on during a massage, while others prefer to be completely nude.

If your problem areas include lower back, hips, or buttocks, underwear can sometimes get in the way of massage work, but a thong can make access to these areas easier. 

If you do remove your underwear, you will always be properly draped/covered by a sheet or towel. Only the area being massaged will be uncovered.
Please remember that you can always opt to remain fully clothed during a massage.  Your therapist will use techniques that do not require oils or lotions on covered areas and you can bring gym shorts and a t-shirt/tank top to wear. 
 3.  What if I realize I've drooled during the massage? 
Many people fall into a peaceful slumber during the massage but when they wake up, they notice a bit of drool on the face rest or massage table. This is very common. It often happens when people are being massaged while lying face down on the massage table.

Donít be afraid to ask the massage therapist for a tissue.
In the world of massage therapy, drooling and snoring are seen as great compliments!
 4.  Will the massage therapist be in the room while I undress? 
No, the massage therapist will leave the room so that you can remove your clothing and get on the massage table (usually face down) under the top sheet.

Donít rush or worry that the massage therapist will walk in on you - your therapist will always knock and wait for your response before entering the room.
 5.  Should I talk to my therapist during my massage? 

Again, it's completely up to you! 

It's not rude to simply close your eyes and relax, which is what most people do.

Sometimes quietly meditating on your breathing helps your body relax.  Other times communicating your concerns may help you unwind.

Rehabilitative work, deep tissue massage, and sports massage are some of the types of massage that may require more feedback and communication with your therapist.

Be sure to speak up if:

  • the room is too hot or too cold
  • you experience discomfort
  • you have any questions related to the massage
  • thereís anything you forgot to mention during the consultation 


 6.  How do I know if it's a legitimate massage practice? 

If youíre trying a new clinic or spa, itís a good idea to call first and ask these questions:

  • Do you offer therapeutic massage?
  • Is your establishment licensed to perform massage?
  • Is the massage therapist certified or licensed?
  • Do you require a health questionnaire of your clients?

A licensed massage therapist will not come into contact with your genitals or nipples during the massage.  This is not only unprofessional and unethical, it is also illegal.

You can also verify licensing at the Tennessee Department of Health.


 7.  What if I get an erection during the massage? 

Some men donít get massage therapy because they worry that theyíll get an erection. Or they get the massage, but are unable to relax during the massage because of this fear.

Even during a non-sexual, therapeutic massage, touch administered to any area of the body can activate the parasympathetic nervous system and cause a partial or full erection. Your massage therapist (male or female) understands this and will ignore it.

For your comfort, the therapist may place an additional towel or blanket over your mid-section.

If you are still worried, you may wish to wear close fitting briefs during the massage or opt for a massage session in comfortable clothing.  You can also request that the therapist works only on specific areas such as your shoulders, arms, back, or calves.


 8.  The pressure isnít deep enough, but I donít want to insult the massage therapistís technique. What should I do? 

Communicate openly with your massage therapist. Keep in mind that that massage therapy does not have to hurt to be effective.

Some of the most effective types of massage therapy are gentle and do not involve deep pressure or pain. In fact, too much pressure can cause muscles to spasm or seize up.

Here is a good rule of thumb - on a scale of one to 10 where one is no pain and 10 is extremely painful, the pressure should always be less than seven.


 9.  I'm self-conscious about a certain part of my body and donít want the massage therapist to see me. What can I do? 

People are self-conscious for various reasons.

Being self-conscious should never keep you from seeking health care, whether itís visiting your doctor or seeing a massage therapist.

Your therapist is a professional and has worked with bodies of all shapes and sizes.  You will be accepted as you are and every effort will be made to accommodate your needs.

If youíre self-conscious about a certain part of your body, you can ask the massage therapist to avoid that area.

Or, you can opt for a therapy session that is done through clothing.  Less
massage oil or lotion is used and you remain fully clothed during the session.

You can even bring your own comfortable clothes to wear.

Just remember to provide complete and accurate information on your health history form, so that the massage therapist is aware of any precautions or contraindications.

Additional questions you'd like addressed?  Please feel free to email or ask - you can rest assured that you will be answered openly and with sensitivity.