According to Massage Therapy Today, massage therapy may include rubbing, pressure, rocking, kneading, friction and compression applied by a massage therapist for the purpose of relaxing or otherwise benefiting the client. Massage therapy involves a great deal of bodily contact, and in a culture where intimate contact is not common between strangers, men can benefit from understanding the etiquette during massage.
There is an unwarranted belief that massage therapy is related to prostitution. A professional certified massage therapist, male or female, is not a prostitute and insinuating otherwise may result in the end of the session and possibly a bar on further sessions at that spa or gym.
Prior to receiving a massage, there are a few important things for a man to remember. Showering before a massage is polite to the massage therapist. Avoid eating a large meal as it can make you uncomfortable or lead to flatulence during the massage.
The key to getting a good massage and ensuring that you and your massage therapist are comfortable is communication. Speak with the massage therapist about the results that you would like out of the massage, and how firm you want the contact to be. Massages intended for relaxation will be gentler than massages intended for medical or therapeutic purposes.
At the beginning of the session, the massage therapist will leave the room, allowing you to get undressed and under a towel. Nothing underneath the towel will be touched without prior warning. If you are uncomfortable being naked under the towel, you may keep your underwear on or wear a pair of shorts or a bathing suit.
According to the Institute for Integrative Health Care Studies, erections during a massage are common. It is entirely possible to be physiologically aroused without emotional or sexual desire. The massage therapist has likely seen erections on male clients before, and it is not a cause for embarrassment.
The policies on tipping a massage therapist vary depending on the establishment’s rules and the type of massage. Massage therapists who specialize in wellness are more likely to accept tips than clinical massage therapists, who work in the medical field. Some spas include the tip in the massage fee. When in doubt, ask if tipping is appropriate.
References and ResourcesCBS Money Watch: Massage Etiquette
The Body Worker: Erections and Massage
Institute for Integrative Health Care Studies: A Common Male Physiological Response to Massage
Massage Today: All About Massage Therapy
The Body Worker: Tipping Massage Therapy