Getting a Massage: Dos and Don'ts

As a licensed massage practitioner (and an ardent massage customer for years before that), I've lived both sides of the massage transaction. Here are some pointers for getting the most out your experience.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

On your way to your massage appointment? Maybe you've been given a certificate for massage as a gift? (Lucky you!) As a licensed massage practitioner (and an ardent massage customer for years before that), I've lived both sides of the massage transaction. Here are some pointers for getting the most out your experience:


  • Be on time. About 5-10 minutes before your scheduled appointment is ideal. You want to be sure to get your fully-allotted time as well as make time for any paperwork you need to fill out.

  • Shower before your session. Either before you leave the house or at the massage place (if they have it). It's common courtesy, and it makes the experience better for everyone.
  • Wait until your practitioner has left the room before you begin undressing. No, we haven't "seen it all," and we don't want to!
  • Tell your practitioner about any major surgeries or injuries you've had. Yes, in your entire life. That thing you're thinking, "They need to know about that?" We do. It has bearing on how we will choose your course of treatment. (My very first massage client ever failed to tell me that he had been in a car accident the night before!)
  • Speak up if something isn't right. Many folks like to relax and "tune out" during their massage, but if something is not to your liking please let your practitioner know. They won't take it personally and you'll get a better experience. Your massage shouldn't be something you have to endure; it should be something you enjoy!
  • Leave on time. I know, I know. You're very relaxed. The massage was wonderful. Your practitioner was charming and kind and you want to tell them more about your trip to Jamaica. But there is work to be done after the session and he or she needs to get to it.
  • Tell your friends. Most massage practitioners are trying to grow their practices. If you like what they do, tell your friends. It's the highest compliment you can give your practitioner, and the good karma will surely come back to you.
  • DON'T:
    • Come in if you're sick or have a contagious condition. There are 3 main reasons for this:

    - We don't want to catch what you have.
    - We don't want our other clients to catch what you have.
    - Massage can greatly worsen the symptoms of a virus or cold.

    Please call your practitioner or their reception desk and explain to them that you are ill and need to reschedule.

  • Apologize if you haven't shaved your legs. This one's for you, ladies. We massage guys with very hairy legs, we're used to it. Really.
  • Fret about the state of your pedicure. Again, ladies, this one's for you. (Stop apologizing so much!) We're more concerned with whether your feet are clean than whether your toes are polished.
  • Come in if you've had alcohol or drugs in the past 24 hours. Narcotics are obviously not something you want coursing through your system when you're receiving massage, and it is both unethical and dangerous to massage someone under the influence of alcohol. In fact, it's best to avoid alcohol entirely for 24 hours before your massage. If you've had a fair amount to drink, massage can actually get you re-drunk (I've seen it happen). The last think I want to do is put a drunken client in their car to go home.
  • Massage is a wonderful way to relax, de-stress, and improve your health. Remember these dos and don'ts and you're sure to have a consistently great experience.

    Leslie Irish Evans, Author, Speaker, and Self-Care Genius, lives on the Internet and writes about it at She encourages all of her readers to secure their own oxygen masks before assisting others.

    An earlier version of this article first appeared at

    For more by Leslie Irish Evans, click here.

    For more on natural health, click here.

    Support HuffPost

    Do you have info to share with HuffPost reporters? Here’s how.

    Go to Homepage

    Popular in the Community


    Gift Guides