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Posted by: Faye Jackson, 11 Jun 2013 10:49AM
Please do not use the forums to advertise courses.

Another new therapist.....

Hi, after qualifying in holistic massage in 2007, I've eventually taken the plunge and just set up my own business (predominantly mobile) This is a great forum, and I've been having a good read of many of the topics already. To get my eye (and hands) back in, i'm starting off with a couple of weeks of treating friends to ease me back into it. Although rusty, I can feel it all coming back to me, but have to say, as some others have mentioned, i'm a little nervous about treating men. This may be a very silly question, but i'm really not sure, is it standard practice to ask a client to remove all clothing before commencing treatment? I assume so, as obviously underwear will hinder certain movements & techniques, I just want to avoid any embarrassment on either mine on the client's part. Any advice would be gratefully received. Many thanks Faye Jackson


Janice Hamilton
11 Jun 2013 11:28AM

DearFaye, congratulations on taking the plunge, best of luck. Re the removal of underwear - I do a full consultation beforehand covering historical health, present health and then have a short discussion regarding the reasons why client has come to see me - I then recommend a treatment and explain to them what I will be doing - I always say remove underwear but if you aren't comfortable with this leave it on and I will work round it - I have to say, no-one has ever removed pants! I leave the decision to them as their comfort and dignity is important and enhances their experience. Everyone works differently and this is just a suggestion. Regards Janice
Ulla H Dormer
11 Jun 2013 12:59PM

Hi Faye I work from home and have quite a few male clients. I have never and would never ask them to remove their pants. I use the towel to push the edge of the pants down to work on the lower back and likewise moving the pants to work on the Hamstrings. I mostly work through the towel on Gluts and Piriformis, although again you could bare one side at the time. Good luck with the business. To get back some of the techniques you could probably do a couple of short CPD courses. All the best. Ulla
Faye Jackson
11 Jun 2013 2:39PM

Thanks very much ladies. It's been so long since I did my course originally - Imust really make sure I have some male case studies nect time!
Faye Jackson
11 Jun 2013 2:40PM

Thanks very much ladies. It's been so long since I did my course originally - I must really make sure I have some male case studies next time!
Nicki Lee
11 Jun 2013 5:46PM

Hi Faye, Here in the UK it's most common for men to leave underpants on. In the U.S. massage therapists generally just ask people to remove as much as they feel comfortable with, and if underwear is left on some will leave out the gluts. In Europe they would think you were crazy to leave pants on. Just differing norms. It's best to be direct with people as they are usually looking to you for guidance. I am pretty relaxed about it, but tell men to leave their underpants on and since I use sheets instead of towels, I can easily work through the 2 layers to work on gluts, piriformis, etc. I believe this is more comfortable physically and psychologically than pushing and pulling their pants around to gain access. I do tell them during the consultation that these areas will need work for low back and hip pain. I have had men phone up a couple of times and have long discussions on the underpants situation, although they keep assuring me they are all above board. I said to one that I felt uncomfortable that we were spending so much time discussing this issue and he hung up on me. So that problem resolved itself. You can decide what works best for you and then just clearly present that to your clients, and I'm sure that will be fine. If I were doing mobile I think I would be most comfortable with the underpants on just to be absolutely sure there were no misunderstandings about the type of treatment I was offering. Best of luck with the new career - enjoy! Nicki
Faye Jackson
11 Jun 2013 5:59PM

Thank you very much Nicki. That all sounds like sound advice. Looking forward to getting into it all properly I have to say. Everyone has been very helpful & encouraging so thanks again. Faye
Richard Lawton
14 Jun 2013 9:16AM

Although you can work through pants, it's not ideal. But much depends on what kind of massage you are doing. The more remedial the approach, the more you can work topically. My own approach is more bodymind oriented, so to me whole-body connection is more important. In this case I am working with joining 'disconnected' parts of the body, so flowing strokes down the back and across the glutes, or up the legs and across the hips, are desirable - and these can't be done when the client is wearing pants. In practice, I simply tell clients they can either keep their pants on or remove them. I also tell them that I am comfortable with either, so it's a matter of their preference. I think it's important to give the client clarity about my own comfort - that I am happy to work with them fully unclothed if they prefer that. This stops any potential worry they might have about what I might think. It is, after all, the therapist's responsibility to set the boundaries of a session. Nicki is right about differing norms. My own experience is that English people are perhaps more modest than other nationalities.
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