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Taboos, The massage, Therapist and client

More about massage and nudity

Nudity in massage will always be affected by regional customs, culture and laws. While many massages clearly will benefit from full nudity, it is not always possible to do so. The most important aspect is to find and do what the client feels most comfortable with.

A massage therapist must always adhere to the wishes of the client. If the client is uncomfortable lying naked on the massage table, she can’t relax properly and the massage will be less efficient. A person who is worried about her appearances and at unease being naked will automatically tense her muscles and be slightly stressed over the situation. This is of course counter productive to the purpose of getting a massage and as such it is better to cover the client as she requests even if it makes the massage less effective. The comfort of the patient will make up for what might be lost in the massage.

The second most important aspect is what the massage therapist feels comfortable with. If the massage therapist is uncomfortable being around a nude person, she will focus on that aspect instead of concentrating fully on her massage and the connection with the client. At worst, she might even distance herself, detach herself from the treatment and not listen to the clients signals well enough to give the best massage.

It is of utmost importance that the client trusts the massage therapist and can fully let go, and that the massage therapist feels confident and at ease with the situation. Massage therapy is a two way communication where the two partners need to attune to each other. And should this communication fail, the massage will become mechanical and without any depth or full relaxation.

Different cultures have different views on nudity. In Denmark it is not illegal to swim naked at public beaches, in France you can find film-posters with a topless woman carrying a baby, while in the US it’s forbidden to even show a nipple on television before midnight. These differences in cultures can not only make the client feel uncomfortable lying nude on the table, but also the make the therapist feel unease by giving the massage.

In some places, for instance France it is common to receive a massage undraped and nude. Especially for those unfamiliar with massages and customs, this can leave the client with confusion as to what sort of massage he or she will be receiving. It then becomes even more important that the massage therapist has a proper appearance and is dressed in a manner that shows seriousness and professionalism.

Finally, there can be local laws and regulations that must be followed. In some places it is set by law that a massage therapist must drape their clients, while in others there are no regulations at all. There will also be various rules and advice on nudity and draping depending on which organization the massage therapist belongs to or which school she has been attending.

Related articles:
Massage and Nudity, Massage and the Sexual Aspect, Massage and Body hair, and Massage and Overweight.

About Pia Poulsen

Pia Poulsen is educated as a wellness massage therapist at Institut FIGARI in Paris, from where she passed her certification exam in January 2008. Since then she has expanded her skills to become the first Advanced LaStone® practitioner in France as well as a certified LaStone® instructor.

Discussion

9 Responses to “More about massage and nudity”

  1. It is so difficult to find a massage therapist who will allow you to experience massage in the nude and undraped in the U.S. I am a massage therapist and do allow this with clients after a good deal of trust has been built and in a non sexual atmosphere but am frustrated in the inability to find others. I get jealous of my clients although I have joined them in nudity a time or two. It is an exhilarating and liberating experience and only adds to the massage experience.

    Posted by Anonymous | 4 July 2009, 17:56
  2. The American culture is different from the European when it comes to modesty and how the body is viewed. Especially in France and in Denmark the attitude is very relaxed towards nudity. Nobody gets upset over topless sunbathing in a public park, or a nipple seen on a TV show.

    There's a danger with the nudity, as you mention about the trust. It can be very hard to assess and determine the reason why people want to be nude, and even harder if the therapist is it. It's very easy to give rise to misunderstandings, not to mention, there are those who'll abuse such.

    There are several nudist spas and resorts in France. I've repeatedly seen requests for massage therapists working at these. Some job-ads seem legic and just nudist, others have a dodgy feeling to them as they require the woman to be sexy though they write there's no sex involved.

    How do we determine what is legit and proper, and what's sex-work in disguise?

    Personally I prefer my 'uniform' when I give massages. White trousers and a white t-shirt. Mentally that prepares me for my work, puts me in my professional mindset and I'm comfortable wearing it, knowing that there can be no misunderstandings of my services.

    I think it's very important we as therapists protect ourselves and make sure we don't give the wrong impressions and signals.

    Posted by Pia | 5 July 2009, 6:11
  3. Hello,
    In Buenos Aires, Argentina, to find a nude massage
    therapist is very difficult.

    Tantric massage is also impossible to find

    Regards
    spaworld

    Posted by E | 6 July 2009, 10:19
  4. Dear E,

    I am curious why there's the interest in having the therapist be nude? I can fully understand, and prefer such myself, to be nude while receiving a massage. But I have no desire or need for the therapist to be nude. I would love to hear more about those thoughts and that desire and why.

    Cheers
    Pia

    Posted by Pia | 6 July 2009, 17:58
  5. I also can't see why you would want the therapist to be nude. Clothing and draping on the client positively creates barriers and obstacles, makes the massage less seamless and fluid, prevents access. Clothing on the massage therapist does none of that.

    In the context of a *professional* massage, having the client nude already requires a certain level of trust and confort. Having the therapist naked as well would require both persons to really trust each other. Still, I'd venture that the majority of people wanting such an arrangement are looking for an erotic experience and not a strictly therapeutic massage.

    Posted by MasterBaker | 10 October 2009, 1:35
  6. Unless you're a nudist, yes, I tend to agree that a massage with both nude becomes erotic instead of strictlu therapeutic.

    Posted by Pia | 12 October 2009, 19:47
  7. Hmmmmmm….. Nudity without physical contact can be 100% casual. Think of chatting with a clothes-free fellow at a nudist beach or resort. Even if I have never been to a nudist resort, I enjoy nudity and would be totally confortable with this.

    However, having both parties nude in an massage, where touch between the persons is the main event… I don't know. Seems awfully close to a sexual encounter to me.

    I am a man and enjoy receiving massages totally nude from (lady) therapists, and no erotic thoughts cross my mind during the session, regardless of what the therapist is massaging. I don't think I could stay that “cool” if the massage therapist was nude as well, it would be a distraction.

    It might be 100% casual between two fellow nudists, but I highly doubt it. Anyone else has an opnion on this? I'd be as curious as Pia to know the reasons why you would like both client and therapist nude.

    Thanks!

    Posted by MasterBaker | 13 October 2009, 17:03
  8. Both client and therapist being nude is not a good idea. I experienced that a few years ago-we got so comfortable with each other in fact that I ended up giving her several massages. This was at her clinic and no sex was involved.We both had other relationships and I massaged her as a friend and to make her feel good. She basically trained me. I would massage her usually once a month for about an hour .of course all good things must come to an end and one of her co-workers got wind of it and told her boyfriend and I now have a new therapist. I have been with my new therapist for 3 yrs. and am happy with her and have not breathed a word about my past experience. I miss my friend who I have not seen since . I guess what I'm trying to say is its best to maintain the professional relationship or it can hurt you in the end.

    Posted by Anonymous | 12 November 2009, 3:13
  9. Dear Anonymous,

    Your example serves to show us how important a professional relationship is and that we need to separate them. It is a tricky area at times, because we do make friends with some of our clients especially over time. Or our friends become our clients.

    I am sorry to hear that you could not maintain the friendship after the professional relationship had ended. Unfortunately that is how it goes at times. There's the possibility that enough time has passed since then that you can recreate the friendship without the professional aspect.

    In those situations the line must be drawn, I believe, between professional situation and private situation. So friendship doesn't exist in the therapy room, and professional relationship not outside of the room.

    Not many friendships can survive that though, which leaves the true friendships remaining.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope you will not experience a thing like that again.

    All the best,
    Pia

    Posted by Pia | 12 November 2009, 9:18

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