Yes. (villalobos108) wrote in massagetherpy,

Men "more comfortable" without being draped

I get one of these emails through my website every week or so:

2 questions I see you worked in a spa do you offer any type of body scrub or polish along with massage. Secondly I do not like any draping during my massage. I'm just more comfortable this way. I have not had a massage draped in 7 years. Most are ok with it but I always ask up front.



I am very much interested in scheduling a one hour swedish massage but have a question about the draping. Do I need to be draped? I feel more comfortable not being draped. Please understand that I am not asking for anything other than being comfortable during my massage. I understand if you are not ok with this. Thank you.

Never does a woman ask if she needs to be draped because she'd be "more comfortable" if she was not. I don't get it. I really don't see how a sheet makes someone uncomfortable. I work in NY and there is a specific ethics portion of our licensing that demands draping. But for those of you who work in other states, do you massage without draping? Would the gender of the client matter to you?

I fear that I'm coming across as prudish to these men, but every shred of instinct I have says that they need to be draped.


edit May 27 2010:

I just received this email from my school:

"Hello alumni,

It has been brought to our attention that some spas—here in New York—are offering treatments in which the client has the option of being fully undraped, genitals included. Also, for some vichy water treatments, the therapist is being required by the spa to wear a bikini or bathing suit.

Neither of these things is necessary for vichy treatments. Based on our experience and research, most vichy treatments have the client draped with a towel or other appropriate covering. The therapist often wears a water-proof apron and flip-flops, clogs, or other water-proof shoes. These things are true even for vichy treatments offered in states that don’t have the strict regulations that NYS does.

FLSM has always taught appropriate dress and draping, in accordance with NYS Law. As a reminder, here are the NYS Guidelines, which reflect the Regents Rules, which are law:

Immoral Conduct Massage of genital areas and massage of a patient/client who is not properly draped for massage shall be considered immoral conduct. The practice of massage by a massage therapist who is not properly dressed shall be considered immoral conduct. Draping includes methods used by a massage therapist to protect modesty, privacy, warmth and/or comfort of a patient/client by the use of sheets, towels, blankets or any item that serves this purpose.

The NYS Education Department Office of Professions has let us know that, “Any licensed massage therapist who practices massage therapy without being properly dressed, or does not drape a client during the provision of massage therapy, may be charged with unprofessional conduct and may be subject to disciplinary action.”

We believe that such violations demean the profession, and worse, feel disrespectful and unsafe for you, our graduates. (Or as many on staff have commented, it really kicks in their “momma bear” instinct to protect you.) We want you to know that any business reported to the Office of Professional Discipline will be investigated, along with any therapists who are offering these treatments.

We also understand that as a therapist—happy to be working in your field of training and without years of experience under your belt—it could feel very challenging to question the instructions of your employers. Please contact us here at the school if you need guidance approaching your employers on this or any other ethical issue. Feel free to print this letter and present it to your employers if that helps. They are, after all, running a business, and most likely would want to do what they could to avoid a criminal investigation. They may not even be LMTs themselves, and may not know that they are breaking the law."

EDIT: Since this continues to be a debate, here are some other threads to read.
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