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Product development lead | NASA National Aeronautics & Space Agency

Massage Etiquette

Apr. 14th, 2011 | Comments 3 | Make a Comment   
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.
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3 Comments on this Article

Julia commented on March 27, 2012

very nice article. I was always wondering if I should give a tip to my masseuse in a SPA center? And how should I do it?

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Roger B. commented on March 25, 2012

I work at one of the top spa's in the North Eastern part of the United States. Please make sure the spa your going to uses licensed therapist!!! I have been a witness to managers allowing "Cosmetologist" to perform intricate facials and deep tissue massage. Most clients / customers are totally unaware that the technician is working outside of their scope of practice, and at a very,very reduced rate. The client will never see a price reduction! Please make sure you request a qualified therapist, they have to have their license posted at the spa for review, by state law.

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Stefanie Payne commented on March 27, 2012

So true! I think people don't realize that it can actually be *dangerous* to have a deep tissue massage by someone who isn't properly licensed, Roger - let's spread the word!!!