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  • Writer's pictureRachael Scott, BS, LMT

What to Wear during Massage

Updated: Mar 26, 2018

If you're new to massage you may be wondering what (if anything) you'll wear, and how much of your body will be uncovered and touched during the massage.

In my bodywork practice, I offer massage that can be done fully clothed, and with no clothes and minimal draping. I have multiple options so my can clients decide what type of experience is best for them.

The Lomi Hot Stone Massage is inspired by the traditional Hawaiian kahuna healing tradition, using long flowing strokes, coconut oil and sparse draping. The recipient is given privacy to undress completely, and then lies on the massage table with a sheet over their body. The sheet is used to keep the genitals and intergluteal cleft (that's butt crack in lay terms) during the session. The breast and chest area may be covered or uncovered according to preference. This treatment uses a lot of oil which can stain clothes. Also, clothing gets in the way and breaks up the long, deep flow of the massage. However, there are times when a person may still want to leave their underwear on, and the treatment can be modified to accommodate.

3-D Spatial Exploration is the only treatment I offer that doesn't include the massage table. It's done on a Thai massage mat (like a futon) on the floor. Clients wear yoga-appropriate clothing because the majority of the session is spent being moved into poses, with kneading and compression massage. It also incorporates Rolfing style massage (sometimes called myofascial release) on the skin, without any oil or lotion.

The Subtle Body Journey is a bit of a hybrid experience that involves gentle stretches, holds and static touch along with guided breathing. It's performed with loose clothing while laying on the massage table, sitting or standing - depending on what's being addressed and expressed in the bodywork session. A sports bra or tank top may be worn, or the recipient (man or woman) may choose to have no top. Yoga pants or comfortable shorts for the lower half of the body are best. A little lotion may be used, though not necessarily.

Fire Cupping sessions typically address the upper body with cups, and the lower body with compression over clothes. That means clients are given privacy to remove their tops, including bras and undershirts. They may leave their comfortable bottoms on, or remove them. A sheet is provided to cover the lower part of the body. During a full hour session, you may have cupping on your back and classic massage with oil or lotion on your legs and feet if you like.

In general, massage therapists ask their clients to "undress to their comfort level" because our main concern is your comfort. We want you to have the experience that is most healing for YOU.

Although we may offer some treatments as ritualized series of movements we've mastered as part of the artistry of our craft, we're also like jazz musicians - making it up as we go along, responding to what organically takes shape in the moment. That's why what you wear or don't wear in your session has an effect on what is possible. You have to decide whether skin to skin contact with oil/lotion and flow is important, or if you want a more dynamic lazy-yoga experience.

If you love massage and bodywork, give yourself the opportunity to try different treatments, and allow me to guide you through new and interesting ways to explore your amazing body.


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