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What to expect from a professional massage

Whether it's your first time getting a massage or your 20th, it's useful to know what to expect from a professional service.

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Towels hang side by side in London apartment in preparation for a couples massage


Getting undressed and what to wear

Your massage therapist should always give you privacy to get undressed to your underwear. Lower-half underwear (boxers, briefs or knickers) should stay on at all times. If you normally wear a bra it's up to you whether to keep it on or take it off so your therapist can more easily work on your back.

Your therapist should leave the room and ask you to get changed. Once you're undressed, position yourself face-down on the massage table and cover yourself with a towel. They should then knock on the door to check it's okay to enter.


Turning over during your massage

When you turn over during your treatment, your therapist should keep you covered the whole time. That includes raising the towel to give you room to move, and giving you a moment to get comfortable, then covering you up again.

Demonstrating a technique used in Urban's sculpting massage on glutes


Working on your glutes

If your therapist is working on your glutes as part of your treatment, they should always ask whether you’d prefer to keep them covered. Therapists can always treat glutes by working through the towel. Or, if you’re happy for them to work on your glutes directly, they should always ask for you consent first, and uncover one side at a time, leaving as much of you covered as possible while they work. They also won’t move your underwear without your permission


Keeping professional distance

Your therapist should know not to get too close if you’re lying on your back. While they’re working on your shoulders and chest, their face should stay at least 50 centimetres away from yours. Their hips should stay away from the table while they work.


Working around your neck and chest area

When you’re lying on your back, the line of your towel shows exactly where your therapist should treat. Therapists are trained to go right up to that towel line, but never under it.


Conversational boundaries

A professional massage therapist should know to keep just to the facts when they talk to you. So they might comment on a muscle being really tight, or let you know if they can help with your posture. But they should never compliment or critique your body in any way, or share their opinions on your lifestyle.

Remember: any massage treatment should make you feel safe and comfortable from start to finish. It’s your therapist’s job to put you at ease, and to make sure they’re not crossing any of your personal boundaries.

Learn more about safety on Urban

Urban is the easy way to book a massage, beauty or physical wellbeing treatment at home. We partner with professionals who can prove they are qualified and insured in every service they want to offer. Check out how we screen therapists and our safety measures pages to learn more.