Massage? But I don’t want to take my clothes off

Then don’t.  I won’t argue with you, try to convince you what to do, or judge you.  I won’t be disappointed or feel like you don’t trust me.  I will simply accept your choice.

Some people have wondered about getting a massage but are reluctant.  One stumbling block is that they don’t want to take off their clothes.  There are several valid reasons for that hesitancy.  Before getting involved with massage I needed to do some research to understand the situation.

Let’s try to gain some understanding.

But I’m a modest person

Great!  I am too.  No matter what you wear, you will be covered by a colored sheet the whole time.  The only part uncovered will be what is being worked on at the moment.

Why do people take clothes off for a massage?

Massage is working on your muscles and other soft tissue.  It’s easier to evaluate their condition and then work to make them better without anything between my hands and them.   Easier, but not essential.

Do I  have to take off anything?

Nope.   Well, your shoes, and your necklace, because I’m sure to get my hands tangled in it.

And you won’t be angry?

I will not be angry.  Oops, sorry, having a Young Frankenstein moment there…  Now where was I?  Abby someone…

What can you do through my clothes?

I have some techniques that work well with clothes on.  I do Bamboo massage, and it is effective through clothes.  Positional release can be done with clothes on. It is not the same as a typical massage, but you will feel looser when we are done.

If you do want to keep your clothes on, you can wear something that is comfortable that allows some movement.  Thicker material, like jeans, make the work less effective.  Some clothes that people wear are pajama type or loose yoga type clothes, shorts, tank tops, and sports bras.  You can bring them and change into them if you want.

Will you be in the room as I’m undressing?

No.  First we will talk about what you need that day.  I’ll take you to the room, let you know whether to start face up or face down, and leave.  In a couple of minutes, after I’ve washed my hands and have everything I need, I’ll knock on the door.  When you are ready, I’ll come in and get started.

But I have body issues

Almost everybody who comes in has something they have an issue with.  This is an involved topic that I’ll discuss in more detail in other posts.  It all boils down to this: Massage Therapists make observations concerning your body, but not judgments.  Massage has helped me learn how to deal with my own body issues.

Any suggestions on what not to wear?

Here’s a slightly offbeat approach with some suggestions on what not to wear.

What should I wear then?

It’s completely up to you.  Keep everything on, take everything off, or somewhere in between.  You can’t be relaxed if you are thinking about what you are or are not wearing.

I want you to experience and enjoy the benefits of massage.  If clothing has been an obstacle for you, let’s find a way to work around it.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at

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  1. A very thorough list of the undressing concerns!

  2. Thank you. I don’t want it to be an issue that keeps anybody from getting a massage.

  3. I have received many of these questions, and I appreciate your thoughtful responses to people’s concerns. Thank you.

  4. Very well written, Barry. You should link to this post from your website.

  5. Elizabeth Hughes

     /  February 7, 2013

    Hi, Like to list. Have you thought about listing an option to only have an area massage so the legs only? You only need to wear running shorts to make that possible. Chair massage (clothes on no oil) is a great introduction to massage, so is just doing a neck and shoulder massage (with clothes on).

  6. Thanks Elizabeth, I should have included those also. Chair massage is good because a person can benefit from massage without having to be on the table, which is another issue some are concerned with.

  7. It is really important for clients to know that they can still get great bodywork, even though they may not want to get undressed. A lot of the myofasical realease work I do is with clients fully dressed.

  8. I love the “I will not be angry” bit. A lot of clients really are afraid of hurting our feelings, or something. They need to know the session really is ALL about THEM! Thanks, Barry.

    • Thanks Cindy, that’s exactly the point I want understood.
      Young Frankenstein is one of my favorites and those quotes are always trying to get out.

  9. I had these same questions when I had my first few massages. It’s good to know that I am not the only one asking. After a few sessions, I got more comfortable with my massage therapist, and it is no longer a concern. It’s really important for clients to know that their massage therapist is ok with what we decide to do. Communication is key.

    • Thanks Renee. I had those questions also with getting my first massages. It is an individual decision, and it’s a question that often goes unasked. So this is my answer if you don’t want to ask.

  10. This is great, thanks. I find chair massage to be helpful with new clients, and or clients that are not comfortable. Also, acupressure, shiatsu and Thai massage are great modalities that work with cloths on.

    • Thanks Heather. Chair massage is a great start to enjoy the benefits of massage while feeling completely comfortable. There are other techniques as you mentioned that work great also. I’d like more people to realize it’s not a scary thing and make use of it.

  11. -

     /  March 24, 2015

    can I wear spaghetti top for chair or bed massage?

    • Sure, a top with spaghetti straps is fine. It will allow you to be covered but still make it easy to work on your neck and shoulders. Typically in chair massage people remain fully clothed. People just take off an outside layer, like a sweater over their top. For table massage, really anything you want to wear is OK. The point is for you to be relaxed, which you can’t be if you are thinking about clothes. Thanks for reading and I hope this is helpful.

  12. Make-up is better warm with your Massage..ojj..thx..pki”

  13. how much do you charge per hour for a disabled person on a fixed income to come once a week and where are you?

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