It seems strange that the overwhelming majority of people have never gotten a massage. It’s one of the most relaxing things anyone can do, and if you’re in pain, it’s a great way to get relief. So many people have misconceptions of what might happen during a massage, and that scares them away. Sure, some of what they believe is also true, but it’s essential to get all the benefits of massage therapy.

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There are different types of massage, so you’ll want to verify what you’re getting. Swedish massage is generally the most popular because it’s a medium touch with strokes rather than kneading; very relaxing stuff. There are various types of therapeutic massage, some harder than others as the therapists try working kinks out. There’s also sports massage, aromatherapy massage, hot stones… so many that it would take another article to talk about them all.

The first reality is that you probably will have to be in some state of undress. There are a couple of forms of massage where you don’t have to disrobe, but if you want the real benefits of a massage you don’t want anything getting in the way.

You’ll usually go into a room where you’ll remove your clothing, but can keep on your underwear. Women will be asked to remove their bras if they’re comfortable, but it’s mainly so their back will be unobstructed when the therapist is working on it.

If you’re insecure with your body this will be the biggest stumbling block you face. However, if you think about it, massage therapists have seen as many bodies as doctors have, so if you’re used to a doctor a massage therapist shouldn’t be a big deal. You’re certainly going to walk out feeling much better.

Next, you’ll be told to lay on a table and cover yourself up with either sheets or towels. You’ll probably never be totally naked with your therapist, although, truthfully, some people who see a therapist for a long time might develop a sense of comfort in being around them, and it could happen eventually.

In general it’s up to you and your therapist. Most of the time it’ll be a sheet, though. When the therapist comes in, they’ll tuck in certain areas while they work on others for your modesty. But they will have to pull the sheet away when working on each area individually.

There are areas therapists won’t touch at all, and other areas where there will have to be an agreed upon ruling. For instance, they not only won’t massage you in the groin area, but they’re not going to massage your inner thighs. They don’t do the chest area of either men or women unless agreed upon, or if that’s the area where there might be pain if you’re getting a sports massage. They won’t rub women’s breasts at all, but if there was chest pain, they might have to figure out a way for a woman to retain her modesty so they can get to an affected area.

In general, massage therapists will work with your comfort level, but their intentions are purely therapeutic, whether it’s for pain relief or for relaxation.

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