massage and bodywork professionals

a community of practitioners

For the past 3 years I have seen more and more massage schools teach that a man's chest must remain covered. The draping is taught as being the same for men and women. Does anyone know where it comes from? I don't find it in any regulations. I have been told that Massage Envy requires this. Are they now determining how massage is taught?


I would really like to know where this comes from. Seems silly to use a towel over a man's face when at the end of the massage he can pull off the towel, pull on his pants and walk outside shirtless. And since some states (Texas & New York) have equality laws allowing a woman to be topless wherever acceptable for a man, are both now required to be top covered for massage to avoid allowing women to not be top covered?


I hope someone can explain this. I am really perplexed.

Views: 4473

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion



If it was related to Title IX, then I think they got it backwards.  Title IX doesn't allow women to be restricted from activities men get. So what that would mean is that since men are allowed to have their chests undraped during a massage, then women should be allowed the same freedom.


In general response to the OP topic, I guess I try to ignore the trends that get promoted out there in popular, corporate-driven culture.  It can make you crazy.


Ezekiel OBrien said:

My school the Desert Institute of the Healing Arts (Now Cortiva) taught draping of a mans chest 14 years ago.  It was sold a Title 9esque thing.

When I was in massage school in Nashville TN 13 yrs ago, we were also taught to drape a man's chest. For some time now, when the male client turns over, I let him fix the sheet on his upper body how he wants. I only tuck a drape for the woman's chest. Although I will say, I've had male clients over the years tuck their own chests over, so that must have made them feel more comfortable. But most men don't seem to care.


You know, it's all about the nipples. Nipples are considered a sexual part of the body. It doesn't make sense, I don't expect it ever will why some places may require draping of a man's chest. Look at tiny bikinis on women, as long as the woman's nipples are covered, they can walk around in public, but if they were to expose the nipple, I'm sure they would be arrested.

So does TN prohibit public breast feeding? 

So far it seems men's nipples may be taboo in the massage room but not outside in public. At least women's serve a nonsexual purpose while men's no real purpose at all.

Very interesting.... but not funny (as Arte Johnson used to say).

I don't know what the laws are now, I haven't lived there since completing massage school. I do know that many people do not like to see breastfeeding in public, including women. Personally, I have no problems with it or nudity. I've gone swimming before in the buff and had the sheriff called on me once in Northern CA by another woman who was there with her kid. They were the only other people there and not even that close where me & my friends were swimming.


There's a few things that seems to be sexualized by law when it comes to the massage room. For one thing, there are several cities here in Southern CA that require a venereal disease test as part of the massage licensing process (not the state certification process, but individual cities). That creates the idea of sex by the very nature of the request, same with requiring a man's chest to be draped. Some businesses here in CA have in their massage contracts that the therapist must maintain a 3 inch space between them and the table while working.


I don't agree with it either, but there it is.

That three inch rule is unbelievable. Does that mean I can put my knee on their back or thigh but not my hand pressing down on the arm since it is not 3 inches thick? Poorly written laws waste our tax dollars, time & energy.
Oh, the 3 inch rule isn't a law-- but when I moved out here looking for work, I noticed it was written in the contracts of a couple massage places.
I C, more of the ridiculous in order to show they control prostitution. If you must stand 3" from the table while working on someone you would have no problem collecting workers comp or disability as you obviously would have developed back and shoulder problems as a direct result of following contractual requirements of the employer. How can you take some of this stuff seriously?
I havent read all the comments on this thread.. However,  In the 27 years Ive been a full time massage therapist, working in clinics and spas.  Its never been an issue?  Ive worked in Hawaii, New Zealand, and Alaska.  Seems ridicules to me? If it is a real issue in some states...Thats sad...

My early training included: don't touch the side of the table, don't brush against the client, and never sit on the table. Now though I consider the table to be my "friend" : I lean against it for support, I use it to provide a base for leverage, I sit on it.......and occasionally get up on it! 

Whatever it takes to get the best angle for whatever move I'm trying to make, I want to do it so I can give my client my best massage.

Gosh I was initially trained as a Shiatsu Therapist..We had a lot of body contact with our clients and even sat on them for certain techniques..Like the Thai Massage people..Even today, 27 years later...I climb on the table with almost every client..I also use the table to lean on for support, in order to stay relaxed.  Give me a break...I cant believe people even think of these rules? lol...

Reply to Discussion


© 2018   Created by Lara Evans Bracciante.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service