Dressing Down

Client question:

“What do you mean when you say Dress down to your comfort level?’

Personal Note: This question pops up all the time and causes confusion when they go to other locations with Massage Therapists. Some Therapists request that you dress down all the way. 



Table massage

“Dress down to your comfort level” can depend on:

  • The Office Location
  • The Therapist’s preference
  • What part of the body is being worked on
  • Your comfort as a client

The last bulletin is the most important.  Do not let a Therapist bully you outside of your comfort level. 

A good rule of thumb to follow is: If it needs to be worked on, dress it down.

So, if you need your back worked on, consider taking off your shirt/ bra.  If your legs need to be worked on, consider taking off your pants. 




“I’ve heard I’m uncovered on the table.  Is this true?”

In the United States, especially New York State (where I am), clients must be decently covered by a blanket, sheet, or towel during a Massage appointment. 

According to the NYSED Office of Professions Licensed Massage Therapist Practice Guidelines:

“Immoral Conduct Law: Massage of a patient/client who is not properly draped for massage shall be considered immoral conduct.”

“Boundaries Law: Massage therapists will respect the patient’s/client’s boundaries with regard to privacy, exposure, emotional expression, beliefs and reasonable expectations of professional behavior. Therapists will respect the patient’s/client’s autonomy.”

For a full list of the practice guidelines: http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/mt/mtguide.htm

Personal Note: Across the ocean, in Asia, many clients are left completely uncovered during the Massage Therapy sessions.  Their culture handles exposure differently, but that’s where the question came from.

Second Personal Note: Even if you are a nudist or you don’t care about being covered, please respect that it’s for the comfort of both you and your Therapist.  Furthermore, this is to avoid getting a chill during the session.       Chill = Muscle Tension.




“So what do you do in your office, specifically?”

When I tell my clients to dress down, I ask that they uncover a part I’ll be working on (back/ legs/etc), but they can leave their underwear on if they wish.

Client history does not include harassment or assault, so leaving underwear on is an added comfort for the client.  

Once on the table, I only undrape what I’m working on, then redrape once I’m done with that section.

Treatment on the back will go smoother if the bra is removed, but I have worked around bras before.  Sometimes a client will be in too much pain to take a bra off.



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