Etiquette for the Massage Therapist
Massage therapy is somewhat intimate as far as natural healing modalities go. Unfortunately, there is no way around this fact. The environment may be professional, but because this is such a hands-on occupation, some uncomfortable or embarrassing situations may arise.
It is the job of the Massage Therapist to create a relaxing, safe environment and a gratifying experience for the client. It is up to the client to express their wants or needs in a professional manner so that the practitioner can provide their service in a comfortable manner.
Clients have a multitude of reasons for getting a massage. Many are looking to relieve stress and relax. Others receive regular massages to keep their body healthy, improve their range of motion and enhance blood circulation. Regardless of their reasoning, a massage therapist must respect the client’s boundaries. They must also make their own boundaries clear to the client.
While therapeutic massages are a naturally sensual experience, they are not meant to be sexual in any way. Whether the client is female or male, the therapist is required to address any sexually aggressive or suggestive comments in a professional way. The client must understand that such requests are inappropriate. At the same time, a practitioner cannot assume that certain body parts can be touched. They must be certain the client is comfortable throughout the massage.
It is absolutely inappropriate to touch the genital area during the massage session. Clients should not expect the therapist to touch them in a sexual manner and the therapist should not be touching the client in a sexual manner. Not only would this present ethical and legal issues, but it also destroys the trust between the client and therapist.
Seasoned massage therapists understand how to avert any uncomfortable sexual advances made by a client. A delicate warning is typically all that is needed to get the point across. However, the therapist should never be afraid to make the point known with a more aggressive warning or shutting down the session altogether. A client who is being inappropriately touched should also make their concerns known. Sometimes the contact is accidental. In this case, the therapist should apologize and acknowledge the client’s discomfort.
Is Clothing Really Optional?
A client should feel comfortable during their massage. The amount of clothing worn is typically dependent upon the type of massage the client is getting. It is not uncommon for those receiving a full body massage to be completely undressed. However, this is not a requirement. Clients can certainly wear briefs or panties during the session. It is all about making the client feel at ease. Whether they choose to wear clothes or not, a massage therapist will cover the client so that only the areas being worked on are revealed.
The Relationship Between the Client and Massage Therapist
The very nature of a massage is intimate. The client will give permission for such an intimate experience should the therapist remain professional. However, the therapist also relies on the trust of the client. A relationship between two parties is formed, even if it is just a professional one. It is important that both parties respect each other’s boundaries so that the session can be carried out in an appropriate and comfortable manner.
Providing others with the healing power of massage therapy is an ancient and respectable profession. As more benefits of massage therapy come to light, people are becoming more accepting of the practice as a way to maintain optimal health. Well-trained, experienced and ethical massage therapists will always provide their clients with a comfortable and professional experience they both can enjoy.