The short answer is “No. Absolutely not.”
But the long answer is, well, much longer. This is one of the most frequently asked questions about massage and deserves some discussion.
In massage school it was suggested we say to clients, “Undress to your comfort level.” I found that’s way too vague, and doesn’t really answer the questions. Heck, I’m not even sure what that means.
At some point I started becoming more specific, “In a second I’ll leave the room so you can undress, you can place all your stuff on that big comfy chair. Undress to your comfort level, which really just means however you’ll feel most comfortable on the table is fine with me. Most people get undressed all the way, while some people leave their underwear on. Sometimes clients don’t want to get undressed at all, and that’s all okay. As long as you’re feeling comfortable,” That’s been working okay, but…it just feels like a mouthful, don’t you think?
First, no matter what, you’ll always be covered (draped) with a sheet and a blanket. You’ll never be left feeling exposed or chilly. When I work on an arm, I fold the sheet back and tuck it under your arm so it’s secure. (No drafts, my friends.) I follow the same protocol for the leg.
When I work on the full back, I fold the drape down at the hips. If you’re wearing underwear I’ll gently tuck the sheet around the waistband, to protect your clothes from massage oil. If you’re wearing a bra, I’ll work around it. If you’re wearing a t-shirt or tank top or space suit, I’ll work through it. I know plenty of very effective massage techniques that can be administered over clothing. If I feel I can’t effectively treat your issue through the clothing you’ve chosen to wear, I’ll tell you, and we’ll figure out another approach.
I don’t care, and I’m not judging you. This massage is about you and it’s important you feel comfortable. For some people that means leaving some clothing on. For others, it means taking it all off. There is no right or wrong, this is your massage.
Enjoy your next massage!