Massage draping is an art form. It is used to protect the clients modesty during a full body massage. There are several variations of draping used by massage therapists. A sheet is the standard draping material used during a massage, with a large towel being the other
preferred method. Some therapists will also use a smaller towel or even allow the client to be completely un-draped during a massage. It is always best to ask the massage therapist what type of draping is used, or if you are less modest, what type of draping alternatives can be used.
Massage draping is used to allow the client to be fully unclothed (nude) during a massage without being “exposed” to the massage therapist. When a client is completely unclothed, it allows the therapist to use any and all massage strokes/ techniques they desire.
This is very important if certain therapeutic work is being done. It is equally important for a general relaxation massage if you want to experience long full body strokes that can be very soothing.
How Massage Draping Works:
We will start with the massage industry standard of sheets being used for draping. The sheet is used during most massage’s so the modest client will be comfortable in getting completely undressed for their massage. You will be left alone in the massage room to undress and get on the massage table. Usually you will be face down at the beginning
of your massage.
The back, neck, and shoulders is where clients have the most problems, and it is the usual starting point of a massage. The sheet is pulled down and the back is exposed for the therapist. After all the massage work is completed, the therapist will re-drape the back and move to the glutes (buttocks) to start the next phase of a full body massage.
Only one half of the glutes (butt) are massage at a time. The sheet is tucked under the leg, on the side that is being massaged. The drape is folded back exposing the glute muscles. Done in this manner, the gluteal cleft (butt crack) nor the genitals are ever exposed. This is
a big concern for modest clients, but rest assured the art of draping will protect your modesty. You need not be afraid of being naked during your massage. As the therapist works down the legs, each area will be re-draped. The same procedure will be repeated for the other side of your body.
Receiving a full body massage means the client will have to turn over during the massage. This is easily achieved by the therapist holding the massage drape while the client slides down on the massage table and turns over. The client remains covered during this whole process. This client has turned over, and is in the process of sliding down to
a comfortable position; where the second half of the massage take place.
Draping the client while they are laying on their back is similar to the same methods used while they are laying on their stomach. The sheet is tucked under the leg that is being un-draped. It is folded back exposing the entire leg all while keeping the genital area covered. After each leg is massaged and re-draped, the arms are exposed one at a time; in a similar fashion.
A full body massage requires the stomach being massaged also. To protect the female clients modesty while un-draping the stomach, a pillow case or towel is first placed on top of the sheet over the breasts.
The sheet is then carefully removed from beneath the smaller breast drape. The therapist will secure the smaller drape, to prevent the breasts from being exposed by an accidental slip. This technique is very simple and a skilled massage therapist will perform it flawlessly
The drape is pulled down far enough to expose the stomach completely for massage. The stomach work not only helps the abdomen muscles; it is great for the digestive system also. As a client you should not worry about any imperfections you may perceive about yourself. Your therapist is only concerned with helping you feel better. Once the stomach massage is complete; it is a simple matter of reversing the entire process to re-drape the client.
Alternate Forms Of Massage Draping:
Some massage therapists allow, and provide, alternate forms of massage draping. This can be anything from a large towel, a small towel (or towels), to allowing the un-modest client to receive a completely un-draped massage. If you are not concerned with modesty, and desire an alternate form of draping, you can ask your therapist what is allowed and not allowed. Draping is provided for the clients modesty as well as the massage therapists modesty. Modesty is an individual matter, while you may not be very modest, your therapist might be; and visa-versa. If you have a draping preference other than what is
typically offered by most therapists, talk to your therapist BEFORE your massage begins. Never assume that your therapist will allow alternate forms of draping. If you and your massage therapist agree to alternate forms of draping, your massage experience can be greatly enhanced. If your therapist does not allow alternate styles of draping, you should respect the therapists preferences, just as your therapist will respect yours if allowed.
The use of a large towel is very similar to the sheet. It will cover you just as completely, but allows for more freedom of movement. The towel can be slid into different positions so you remain covered, but is less restrictive than a sheet during your massage. It is also great if you are “hot-blooded” meaning it will allow for a little more air flow around your body to help prevent you from over-heating during your massage.
The process of turning over while using a towel for the massage draping material is just as easy as when using a sheet. The only difference is that you should turn toward the therapist to ensure that if the towel moves with you, you will remain covered. When using a sheet, there is ample material allowing you to turn in any direction. You may feel like you are exposed slightly during this manuever. In actuality you are not exposed, as the therapist cannot see over or around the towel.
Draping of the legs, with a large towel works the same way as it did with the sheet; both while laying on the back and the stomach. The techniques for exposing a female clients stomach are exactly the same also. I would like to note here, if a male client is on the table, the towel will usually be placed horizontal, rather than vertical as it is with a female client.
Chattanooga Massage & Bodyworks provides sheets as our standard draping material but will use towels as an alternate style of draping upon request. Remember, never assume anything regarding massage draping procedures, always talk to your therapist before your massage to see if your particular draping preference is allowed. This will help to avoid any embarrassment for you and the massage therapist.