What to Wear (or not) During Your Massage

The most Frequently Asked Question in massage: Do I need to get totally undressed?

Short answer
No. Absolutely not.

Long answer
I think most massage therapists and bodyworkers (including myself) were taught in school to say, “Undress to your level of comfort.” However, I think that’s probably way too vague, and people new to massage have no idea what that means. Here’s what you need to know about clothing during specific sessions I offer:

Therapeutic Massage (or what my clients and I often refer to as “regular massage, the kind on the table”)

So, here you can leave on as much or as little as you like, though heavy jackets & layers, shoes, and wallets are best removed, just for comfort. Whatever you decide, I’ll be out of the room while you’re changing, so you’ll have your privacy. No matter what you have on (or not), you’ll always be covered (draped) with a sheet and a blanket (though this blanket is optional if you feel too warm.) You’ll never be left feeling exposed or chilly. When I work on an arm, I move the sheet back and tuck it under your arm so it’s secure—no drafts, and nothing’s falling out! I follow the same protocol for the leg.

When I work on the full back, I fold the drape down at the hips. If you’re wearing underwear/pants, I might tuck the sheet around the waistband, to protect your clothes from the massage cream (though it does wash out easily.) If you’re wearing a bra, I’ll work around it. If you’re wearing a tank top or shorts or long johns, I’ll work through it. I know plenty of very effective massage techniques that can be administered over clothing. If I feel I can’t effectively treat your issue through the clothing you’ve chosen to wear, I’ll tell you, and we’ll figure out another approach.

One last thing with this type of massage: in case you were wondering, it is actually okay to take everything off, if you’d like to. Some people might wonder if it’s rude, but it’s not, since you will be draped in a sheet and blanket the whole time. I try to only uncover the area I’m working on, and all parts that you’d like to keep covered will stay covered.

Please know that I don’t care, and I’m not judging you. 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 massage.

Thai Massage

With this type of massage, since there’s so much movement and stretching, I require you stay fully clothed, and wear loose comfortable clothing. Leave the leather pants and pencil skirts at home! I generally remind you of this before your session, and it’s quite common for people to come straight from work, but with a bag of clothes to change into. I usually recommend wearing a t-shirt and yoga pants/sweatpants/shorts. It’s common to be barefoot during the session, but if you prefer socks, you’re free to leave socks on, or I have some for you to borrow if your feet get cold. And always feel free to ask for a blanket!


This is done fully clothed since we’re working on the hands and/or feet. Generally, I ask that socks be removed for foot reflexology, but we could work through them if taking them off is a no-go for you.

Now that you know the answer to the most frequently asked question, hopefully you’ll feel more at ease about trying massage or reflexology!

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