You have to let your guard down to get a massage. You’re relaxed and often at least partially naked. So you need to be able to trust that your massage therapist won’t make you uncomfortable—or (much) worse, sexually assault you. But it happens, as 180 Massage Envy clients told Buzzfeed recently. So let’s talk about what to expect when you get a massage.
Any massage should start with a conversation with the therapist, and that conversation should include where you do and don’t want to be touched, Elizabeth Yuko reports at SheKnows. If you’re discussing a “full body” massage, that includes your butt, but no your breasts or genital area. And you can still declare any body part you like to be off-limits. Maybe you would feel uncomfortable with your therapist touching your butt, or maybe your feet are just really ticklish. It’s totally normal to say so.
You don’t have to be totally naked, and some places may even require that you keep your underwear on. Whatever body area isn’t being massaged will be kept covered by a sheet, either tightly wrapped or loosely draped.
So how do you know when your therapist is out of line? It’s anytime you don’t feel comfortable with what’s going on. If you ask them not to touch your butt, and they insist on touching it anyway, that’s not okay. If they refuse to have a conversation about comfort zones, or if they try to pressure you into doing things you don’t want to do, you’re within your rights to say, no thanks, we’re not doing this today. You siempre have the option of walking out in the middle of your massage if you don’t feel comfortable.
At that point, you’ll probably want to talk to the manager about what happened, and ask for a different therapist next time. But what if things got more serious? The Massage Envy clients who spoke to Buzzfeed said that they didn’t know what to do after they were assaulted. You can consider any or all of these options: speaking to the manager, going to the police, or reporting the therapist to your state’s massage board. Massage therapists are licensed in 46 states and you can find the state boards’ contact information here.
What’s Normal—& Not Normal—During a Massage? | SheKnows