If you’ve never had a massage before there may be questions that you would like to know the answer to – but are afraid to ask. In fact, many people never book their first massage for fear of some of the following fears. We hope that the answers to these common questions and worries will put your mind at rest and give you the confidence to enjoy the many benefits of massage. Should I tip the therapist? If your massage is in a spa or at an hotel, it’s usual to tip 15 to 20% as long as you have been happy with the massage. If you get your massage in a hospital or medical clinic, tipping isn’t expected and is inappropriate.
Do I have to take off my underwear for a massage?
This one is really personal choice. Many people do like to keep panties or briefs on but some like to be totally naked. If the area to be treated is in your lower back, around your hips, buttocks or groin, underwear may get in the way but you can get around this by wearing a thong (ladies) or snugly fitting briefs (gents). Properly licensed therapists will always ensure that you are appropriately covered by a towel or sheet and will only uncover the area that is being massaged.
I’m scared I might drool or dribble during the massage!
Don’t worry! This is extremely common and the therapist won’t judge you for it. If anything, they will be pleased that you have reached such a level of relaxation and be happy that it was successful! If it happens, just laugh and ask for a tissue!
Will the therapist stand there while I get undressed?
Licensed therapists leave the room so that you can take off your clothes and get comfortable on the massage table with a sheet or towel covering you. The therapist will knock on the door and ask if you are ready before entering the room.
What about talking during massage?
This is entirely personal choice. Some people do like to chat and others wish to stay quiet and enjoy the relaxation. The therapist will take their lead from you and won’t expect a full on conversation unless that’s what you’re most comfortable with. Most people just close their eyes, relax and enjoy! An exception to this is if you are having a deep tissue massage which may cause some discomfort. The therapist may ask you to tell them if it is too uncomfortable.
Alternatively, if any of the following occur, don’t be afraid to say…
- The room is uncomfortably hot or cold
- You are in pain (either before or during the massage)
- You have any questions at all
I’m scared that I might get an erection during the massage…
Understandably, this is the main reason why most men don’t go for a massage. Many that do go for one don’t enjoy it because they’re so worried that this might happen so they don’t relax.
Therapists are taught that gentle touch to any part of the body can trigger the parasympathetic nervous system and cause either a partial or full erection, which is pretty much out of the client’s control. It is extremely common and something that they are totally used to.
Some men choose to wear a small, snugly fitting bathing suit to minimize the effects and if this will help you to relax and not be embarrassed, it’s a good idea. But please be assured that for a therapist this is ‘all in a days’ work’!
How do I know that the massage will be therapeutic and not an erotic one?
Massage parlors that are a front for far more sexual activities don’t always look like seedy dives so how do you know that you’re just booking in for a therapeutic massage and not a whole lot more than you bargained for? If it’s your first time either with a new masseuse or at a new venue, call first and ask the following –
- What forms of therapeutic massage do you offer?
- Does the therapist have certification or a license?
- Do I need to fill out a health questionnaire prior to the massage?
The answers to these questions should ensure that you get what you want…either way!
I’d like the therapist to use more / less pressure but I don’t want to upset them…should I speak up?
Yes! It’s not true that massage has to hurt to be doing you good. A good therapist will want you to be comfortable and if you’re not – the massage will not be successful so don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
I’m really embarrassed about a part of my body and don’t want the therapist to see it…
This is a very common concern and therefore is one that the therapist will be used to. Some of the things that people worry about most are –
- Being overweight
- Having (or believing they have) excessive hair on their body
- Having acne or acne scars on their face or back
- Having (or believing they have) ugly feet
- Having a scar or scars somewhere on their body
There are various ways around this. You can ask the therapist to avoid that area or choose a Shiatsu or Thai massage. Neither of these involves the use of oil and so you don’t have to remove any clothing.
I’d prefer a female massage therapist. Is it alright to request this?
Yes, of course and many people do. A lot of men feel highly uncomfortable at the thought of having another male massaging them and many women also prefer a female. Both of these have a sexual basis.
However, it is rather sad that many good, male massage therapists find it hard to find employment due to this completely understandable discrimination.
Go for it…
We do hope that this article will encourage you to go ahead and try a massage. We hope that you enjoy both the massage and the health benefits that it will bring. It could be the start of a whole new you!
And to help you get started why not check out our guide to the Ten Most Popular Types of Massage.