Home massage etiquette

Home massage etiquette

Most therapists who blog about massage will at some stage include an article about massage etiquette. Their post will normally include answers to questions such as

  • what time should I arrive
  • do I have to shower before a session
  • should I shave my legs
  • did I just drool/snort/snore during the massage – should I apologise
  • do I need to tip

and so on.

Many of the same questions will apply to etiquette for mobile massage although there are probably a couple of others ones that can be added as well. The answers below are my answers – other mobile massages therapists may answer differently to some of the following.

Mobile Massage Etiquette/Guidelines
1. What do I need to do to prepare a room for the massage?
Not much.
Just prepare a suitable space for me to set up my table. If you prefer quiet and privacy during the massage then it is better to set up in a room away from the main activities of your home but if you still wish to feel part of family activities whilst receiving your massage then living space is fine. Sometimes it is a trade-off, the biggest most suitable space for me to work may be too public for you. If this happens then your privacy wins.
Please do not feel that you have to spend time tidying the room before I arrive. I’m there to give you a massage not audit your house-keeping prowess.

During the cooler months it is recommended that the space be heated.

2. What do I need to do to get myself ready for the massage?
Personally I think it makes sense for you to start getting ready/thinking about your massage about 15 minutes before appointment time. Having a shower and just starting to wind-down will make you more likely to maximise the relaxation benefits of your massage. If you are rush rush rushing around until the time that I’m set up ready to go then it may take a while for you to switch to a relaxation mode once you are on the table.
However, this is up to you. Many people’s main reason for choosing a mobile massage is that they are time-poor and for them it is important that, yes they get a massage but that it takes up the minimal amount of time.

But no – you don’t have to shave your legs prior to the massage. Talk to any therapist and they will say they simply don’t care whether your legs are hairy or not. If it bothers you then shave but to be honest with you, at the end of a day if you were to ask me if a particular client had smooth or hairy legs, I would struggle to remember. I’m concentrating on the deeper muscles not the superficial layers.

3. What should I wear during the massage? Can I be/Do I have to be nude for the massage?
This is probably the most frequently asked question particularly for people who have not had much massage. In a clinic setting then most therapists will either recommend or insist that underwear is worn. However, in my view, undies/no undies is less of an issue for a home massage. My view that it is 100% your choice. If you wear underwear I will not think of you as a prude. If you don’t wear underwear I will not think that you have any other motives for having a massage (and you will be offered a drape).
If you have had a shower immediately before the massage then putting clothes on to receive a draped oil massage seems a little odd to me assuming that you are comfortable receiving massage whilst naked.
My only caveat is that if you have any doubts then for a first session with me then I recommend that you do wear underwear.

4. Does it matter if other people are present/watch the massage?
Again I think massage is best performed and received when there are minimal distractions but if you are minding your children or you want your children to watch you having a massage (they normally get bored after a few minutes) or you would just feel more comfortable with someone else present then that’s fine. Some people do want to have their partner watch almost as an instruction session but this is not something that I like to encourage. I’m there to provide a massage not education but having said that I occasionally will demonstrate a particular stroke or two at the end of the session if I feel that it is particularly relevant as part of an on-going maintenance routine.

Other issues that are more relevant for a mobile massage compared to a clinic include:
Can I have the television on – yes if you want to. However I should add a caveat that personally I prefer the television to be off. It can be a distraction for both you and me but if that’s how you relax then that’s cool.
Pets – like children they may be interested in what is going on for a few minutes but then normally settle down.
Drooling/snoring – non-issue for me.
Tipping – not necessary for home massages. Whilst tips are not expected for hotel massages, most hotel clients do tend to tip (particularly as my rates are often significantly lower than if you were to use the hotel service).

If you have any other questions about massage etiquette then please feel free to contact me or leave a comment.

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