The short answer is “No. Absolutely not.”
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.” But that’s still pretty vague. Do you leave your underwear on? What about socks? Jewelry?? Will my breasts be exposed? What about my butt?
Here’s what I usually tell my clients: “I’m going to step out and l you get undressed to your comfort level. If it were me getting the massage I’d be naked before the therapist has left the room. You can be fully dressed or fully clothed or somewhere in between.”
From a therapist’s perspective, skin-on-skin contact is the easiest for us to work with, but we understand that you might not be comfortable with that – and that’s cool, too. Your comfort is the most important component of the session because if you’re not comfortable, you’re not going to relax.
No matter what, you’ll always be covered (draped) with a sheet and a blanket. You’ll never be left feeling exposed or chilly. We carefully undrape the body parts we’re working on (arms, legs, back) and re-drape or cover them when we’re done. Sheets are securely tucked to ensure you don’t feel a draft.
When we work on the full back, we fold the sheet down to the hips. If you’re wearing underwear we’ll gently tuck the sheet around the waistband, to protect your clothes from massage oil. If you’re wearing a bra, we’ll work around it. If you’re wearing a t-shirt or tank top or space suit, we’ll work through it. We know plenty of very effective massage techniques that can be administered over clothing. If we feel we can’t effectively treat your issue through the clothing you’ve chosen to wear, we’ll tell you, and we’ll figure out another approach.
We’re therapists. We don’t judge. This massage is about you and it’s important you feel comfortable. 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 session.
Enjoy your next massage!