1. Less is More: generally speaking you don't have to undress completely if that makes you uncomfortable. However, when receiving Swedish massage or any therapy rooted in Swedish massage (most Western massage therapists practice a system based in, or influenced by, Swedish massage), your massage will be better with less clothing on. This is because many techniques used in Swedish and other systems are intended to be used on bare skin, and work best that way. Since wearing clothing limits your therapist's ability to utilize these techniques, the less clothing you wear, the more variety of technique your therapist is able to employ.
2. If you don't want it pressed into your flesh, don't wear it: if you are not comfortable undressing for your massage, that's OK, but it's best if you wear light clothing with no extraneous buttons and bobs attached. Things that are a bad idea:
- Jeans or denim. Not only is it a thick and stiff fabric that is difficult to palpate (feel) through, but the seams are tough and will hurt you and hurt your therapist's hands. Not to mention the numerous rivets, buttons, and zippers found on denim wear.
- Bras. Sorry ladies, but these things are just not designed well (I'm sure I don't have to tell you that). If you want your back/neck/shoulders worked on, it's best to let this one go. Straps are cumbersome to work around, and all the hooks, rings, eyelets, and slides are dangerous for your flesh and for your therapist's hands. Even if you are getting a clothed massage (such as chair massage) it's best to wear a sports bra with small seams.
- Jewelry. I shouldn't have to explain this one. Please take off/out any jewelry on a part of your body that you intend to have worked on.
4. Spa Day: Speaking of staining sheets; if you are planning to have your nails freshly painted or your hair freshly dyed/tinted/highlighted, please schedule that appointment AFTER your massage, not before.
5. For Sports Massage: if you are getting a massage for sports conditioning purposes, your therapist will likely employ stretching and movement techniques that may compromise the conventional draping. For this reason, it is best to wear some light, comfortable, and form-fitting undergarments (such as boxer briefs), lycra biking shorts, or the like.
6. Medical Equipment: if you wear a device or garment that is medically necessary, by all means wear it to your appointment; we can work around it. This includes any medical braces, external defibrillators/tensers/medication delivery devices, incontinence wear, and others. Especially incontinence wear.