What not to do during a massage?

Massage therapy is a wonderful way to relax, relieve stress, and address various physical ailments. To ensure a positive experience for both you and the massage therapist, it’s important to follow proper etiquette and understand what behaviors to avoid. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what not to do during a massage, helping you make the most of your session while respecting professional boundaries.

1. Avoid Sexual Misconduct

Inappropriate Touching and Behavior One of the most crucial rules during a massage is to avoid any form of sexual misconduct. This includes:

  • Touching the Therapist: Any attempt to touch or grab the therapist is inappropriate.
  • Sexual Comments or Advances: Making sexual remarks or propositions is strictly off-limits.
  • Undressing Inappropriately: Only undress to your comfort level, usually keeping underwear on. Full nudity is not typically required.

2. Respect Personal Space

Stay Relaxed and Passive During a massage, it’s essential to remain passive and let the therapist work. Avoid trying to assist or move your body unless instructed.

3. Maintain Proper Hygiene

Personal Cleanliness Ensure you are clean before your massage session. Good personal hygiene is respectful and helps create a comfortable environment.

4. Avoid Substance Use

Alcohol and Drugs Refrain from consuming alcohol or recreational drugs before a massage. These substances can impair your judgment, relaxation, and may interfere with the massage’s effectiveness.

5. Communicate Respectfully

Polite Language and Feedback Communicate your needs or discomforts politely and respectfully. Avoid using harsh language or making unreasonable demands.

Non-Invasive Questions Stick to relevant and respectful topics. Avoid personal questions that may invade the therapist’s privacy.

6. Understand Physical Boundaries

Areas Typically Avoided Therapists avoid private and sensitive areas unless necessary and with explicit consent. This includes:

  • Genitals and Breasts: Off-limits unless medically necessary with consent.
  • Gluteal Cleft and Inner Thighs: Avoided unless there’s a legitimate therapeutic need.
  • Front of the Neck and Armpits: Typically avoided due to sensitivity.

7. Respect the Therapist’s Expertise

Avoid Dictating Techniques While it’s important to communicate your preferences, respect the therapist’s professional expertise. Avoid insisting on specific techniques or pressures if the therapist advises against them for safety or health reasons.

Professional Decision-Making Trust the therapist’s judgment. They may refuse certain techniques or areas based on their assessment of what’s safe and beneficial.

8. Manage Expectations and Health Considerations

Realistic Outcomes Understand that a single massage session may not resolve chronic issues or provide long-term relief. Manage your expectations and view massage therapy as part of a broader wellness plan.

Medical Advice Remember that therapists are not medical doctors. Always consult healthcare providers for medical issues and advice beyond the scope of massage therapy.

9. Post-Massage Etiquette

Aftercare and Feedback Follow the therapist’s aftercare advice, such as staying hydrated and avoiding strenuous activities. Provide respectful and constructive feedback about your experience.


Proper etiquette and understanding boundaries are essential for a positive massage experience. By knowing what not to do during a massage, you contribute to a respectful and comfortable environment for both yourself and the therapist. This ensures that you can fully enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the massage while maintaining professionalism and mutual respect. Whether you’re a first-time client or a regular, adhering to these guidelines will help you make the most of your massage sessions.