Massage Etiquette 101 | From Stripping to Tipping

Getting a massage should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience; but for some first timers it can be a bit stressful with questioning what to do, and how to act.

Here are some helpful tips for anyone questioning proper etiquette for a massage.

Massage Etiquette 101


When you book your massage appointment be sure to keep track of the time it is booked, you’ll want to arrive at least 10-15 minutes early. Allow yourself time to unwind and relax before you even begin your massage. You are also most likely going to have to fill out some sort of intake form or information, so you’ll want to allow time for that as well. Please understand that your therapist works off an appointment based schedule and if you are running behind they may not be able to accommodate your full massage time. If you know you cannot make your appointment use common courtesy to contact and cancel your appointment. No-showing for an appointment may incur a fee at certain places.


This should be a common courtesy for everyday life, but you want to make sure you are showered and clean before your massage, it is respectful to the therapist, who is about to be rubbing their hands all over your (now clean) body.


This massage session is about you and your needs as well as your comfortability. The therapist is going to consult with you about your needs and your desired results from the massage, but they cannot address something if you don’t tell them. If at any time you feel the pressure is not enough or even too much, speak up and ask your therapist to adjust. If anything else comes into your mind that you might want to ask about or have addressed, speak up! As therapists we can only address what we are made aware of.


This is probably the most common area where most massage clients get the most anxiety. Don’t let the thoughts of “what do I wear, do I wear anything?” get you in a frenzy. As I mentioned before a massage is about you and your comfortability and needs. Your therapist will probably tell you to disrobe to your comfort level, and that is exactly what you should do! If you feel comfortable fully disrobing then do so, if you feel more comfortable leaving your underwear on, then do so! You will be under a sheet the entire time, and only the body part that is being worked on will be uncovered. Please note, sometimes undergarments can hinder work on certain areas of the body.


“Am I supposed to talk, or be silent?” Again, another anxiety causing worry, which can be related back to… Yep, you guessed it, your comfort level. A professional massage therapist will remain quiet during the massage, giving you the opportunity to relax. If you want to talk to your therapist that is perfectly fine, but their responses may be short and quick, as to not control the conversation. Several people can relax better if they carry on a conversation with their therapist while others prefer to remain silent and even fall asleep. (Yes, falling asleep is perfectly fine, and quite common too)


After your massage session is complete your therapist will leave the room allowing you to redress. You will want to take a moment and get up slowly, but avoid lingering in the room for too long. Your therapist will most likely be waiting for you outside the door and they probably have another client after you so they need to get the linens changed and get the room ready for the next lucky person!


This depends on the spa. In day spas, 15-20% is typical. If you’d like to give them something extra for exceptional service, you can. If you were given agift certificate, ask if the tip was included.

I hope these tips help make your first massage experience, and every one after that enjoyable! Just remember the massage is about YOU and YOUR comfort!!

25 thoughts on “Massage Etiquette 101 | From Stripping to Tipping”

  1. All therapists AND clients wonder about some (if not all) the topics you covered at some point in time! Thank you for a great collection of helpful information, Derek!!!

  2. Very good information. I’m naturally a nervous talker, so this will also help me to know what I need to do as a therapist.

  3. I wish I saw this before my first massage experience. It would have made things a lot better. would be great to have this infor for future clients. Very well put!

  4. I wish I had known this information before I received my first massage. I was nervous, and I had no idea how far to undress. I will definitely keep a copy of this for my new clients to read over. Hopefully they will find it as informative as I have.

  5. Great information, I pinned it to my pinterest to use at a later time for clients. This information allows me to provide information to new clients that may be unsure of what to expect before, during, and after their massage experience.

  6. Very helpful tips! This is a great flyer to have for new clients who have never had a massage before. My first massage I had no idea what to expect. This would have made me feel more comfortable.

  7. This will be helpful to give to clients that have never had a massage before. I’d love to borrow this to post on my business Facebook page!

  8. This answers so many questions that the first time clients may have but too shy to ask. I will share this blog.

  9. I love all these tips and they will definitely come in handy when speaking with clients when they book the appointments.

  10. The blog gives me understanding of what to expect from first time clients and how to make them confortable during their visit.

  11. Always cracks me up when I come back into the room and the client is still fully clothed on the table, reminds me that not everyone’s knowledge and experience with massage is the same.

  12. Some things like common curtesy also seem like common sense but then the other things are things that I didn’t know till I started the class. Very helpful thank you.

  13. Being only a couple weeks into massage this blog has answered a few questions I was concerned about. The more informed I am about how the massage experience should be from a client perspective, the more I will be able to accommodate a more relaxing and comfortable environment for them. Thank you!

  14. Thank you for sharing this information. I am going to get my first massage next week. I hadn’t thought about trying to relax before the massage even starts. Do you have good recommendations of how to do that?

  15. That is a good point you made about punctuality. Being on time means getting the full massage you need. And, if you’re studying to be a masseuse, punctuality is also important.