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Massage Etiquette

Massage is an extremely relaxing experience for some, completely daunting to others.

It can be awkward allowing a perfect stranger to massage your over-worked body, but learning and understanding general massage etiquette — both as a customer and in the eyes of a therapist — will help you surpass discomfort leaving you to relax into an amazingly beneficial and blissful body service.

What your therapist wants you to tell them:

1. The client sets the mood. Either you are a talker or you prefer silence during a service. If the latter, simply enjoy your massage quietly giving your therapist the signal that you prefer silence. If you get stuck with a therapist who wants to gab when you want to relax quietly, just continue on your peaceful journey by ignoring him or her.

2. Very few people have a perfect body. Don’t be embarrassed if you have "problem areas" – everyone does! Just think of your therapist as a medical doctor.

3. If you are displeased with the music, ask him or her to change it – if it is possible, they will be more than happy to oblige.

4. You might drool, have peculiar breathing, and fall asleep during the service. This indicates that you are relaxing fully and is actually a compliment to your therapist.

What your therapist won’t (but wants to) tell you:

1. As a client, try to appreciate the hard work that goes into this profession. Massaging several people daily is a hard on their body and they are sacrificing their own bodily comfort to ensure yours.

2. Massage therapists want to wow you. Performing a great service is more money in their pocket… and word of mouth is very powerful in the spa industry.

3. 15-20% gratuity is customary.

Stefanie Payne

I am a product development lead in NASA's human exploration deep space program at headquarters in Washington, DC. When I am not telling the story of human exploration in space, my focus is on writing about travel on Earth—with articles appearing in The Huffington Post, The Travel Channel, blogs for The National Geographic Society, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessInsider, IBTimes and more. ...(Read More)

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