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So from what I gather, draping is really a state thing first and then based on the state's code of ethics, a client-therapist consideration.

With that said, I believe TX's current regulations states: draping will be used during the session, unless otherwise agreed to by both the client and the licensee

I read this to say that draping is NOT a state requirement but a client-therapist consideration. This may explain why I get a lot of requests for non draping sessions.

Just yesterday I got a request from someone looking for a professional massage but states that he does not like draping. He also offered to pay more if I would allow this.

My first instinct with all these clients is that no draping request = wanting something extra than a professional massage. However the state regulations says contrary.

So am I foolish for turning down a session because of this? I know I must follow my intuition, so I have already written him a note thanking him for the interest but letting him know that it would make me too uncomfortable. I explained that this was not how I was taught or how I practice, and therefore doing such a session would not be giving him the best I could give.

But I am curious as to other's thoughts and practices with regards to draping. Do you get a lot of requests to exclude it? What are your state's regulations? Have you ever worked on someone who wasn't draped?

Let the dialog begin...


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i agree. i feel it would be a bit of a distraction. and even more so if he's cute. ;)

i am curious to hear from those that have done sessions without draping to get a sense of how that felt.
I have done undraped sessions before, maybe a hand full in the 11 years of being a therapist. Most of the time whether they are draped or not, my eyes are closed so as I can get a sence of what the body wants. The only session that I have never done one on is my Thai sessions. I have never had a problem with anyone undraped wanting anythng extra. I have had a few, more than 1 hand, that when draped wanting something extra, but never undraped. Now whether my state says so one way or the other about draping, I haven't a clue.
Mostly I find the majority of men hate draping especially with a sheet. Perhaps we can take a poll. The majority of women love to be bundled. Again these are generalities and perhaps we could have a poll. I have had both that absolutely did not want draping. I do not require draping while face down. We use towels to drape and almost everyone is draped with a 30 x 60 towel that seems to be fine with everyone. We do have Orthodox Jewish clients and Muslims who are massaged fully clothed. If someone requests no draping, they are told that it is fine but while face up the genitals will be draped with a towel. If they object to that then we advise them to look elsewhere. A few Europeans have commented, "it is good to find a therapist who is not an uptight American". Most Asians remain fully dressed. So attitudes vary by culture as well.

As to regulations the Los Angeles vice found this acceptable.

I don't think most men asking for minimal draping are looking for anything beyond a good massage. They might ask to see if more is available but most accept a simple "no". Minimal draping to me is more relaxing and allows for fluid foot to shoulder strokes with forearms such as in lomi lomi.

This said I believe when it comes to massage both client and therapist must be within their comfort level. There must be a match. This is what really makes a massage that you come back for.
Actually rather than distracting I would say it just makes it more pleasant. Isn't that true whether draped or not?
As for where to look my focus remains the same. If you don't get distracted by the form of the sheet, why be distracted by the body you are working on?

Lisa said:
i agree. i feel it would be a bit of a distraction. and even more so if he's cute. ;)

i am curious to hear from those that have done sessions without draping to get a sense of how that felt.
My state requires draping at all times and breast massage is a special certification. When I first started practicing on clients in school, I had two women who had never had a massage draped and weren't all that happy about being covered up, but allowed it just the same. In thinking about the possibility of massaging them undraped, I think I would have been too uncomfortable with it to focus on what I was doing. I am very happy that I don't have to make that decision, it is made for me. I do sometimes undrape the side of the body for better flow and that works just fine. I did work at a massage office where the owner suggested towels instead of sheets for the male clients. I tried it a couple of times but they fidget and don't really care if the towel slips, so after that I asked the men if they minded a sheet when they saw me instead of the owner and they always agreed. No problem. Do what you are comfortable with. I'm sure there are enough clients in your area who don't mind being covered or even prefer it.
We must drape in WI. and I must admit, I'm pretty happy about that!!
Sounds like you handled the situation the best you could, by explaining your feelings. He can look for someone who is happy to oblige assuming your state allows. No one wants to 'turn away' business but as you already stated...if you are not comfortable, you won't be doing your best work.
It really is as simple as that in any situation. If something has made a client uncomfortable they won't be happy and if WE are uncomfortable we aren't doing the best we can for that client.
Clients choose different therapists for different reasons and having to pick because of draping, or not, is just another choice they have. You'll have PLENTY of clients that pick you because it is a standard that you set for yourself.
That's just my 2 cents!!!
I think you size it up well.

Rhonda Koch said:
We must drape in WI. and I must admit, I'm pretty happy about that!!
Sounds like you handled the situation the best you could, by explaining your feelings. He can look for someone who is happy to oblige assuming your state allows. No one wants to 'turn away' business but as you already stated...if you are not comfortable, you won't be doing your best work.
It really is as simple as that in any situation. If something has made a client uncomfortable they won't be happy and if WE are uncomfortable we aren't doing the best we can for that client.
Clients choose different therapists for different reasons and having to pick because of draping, or not, is just another choice they have. You'll have PLENTY of clients that pick you because it is a standard that you set for yourself.
That's just my 2 cents!!!
I'm just surprised by all the people who don't know what the draping law is in their own state.

Whether it is the law or not, I wouldn't do massage without a drape. I normally use sheet draping, although I have used towels for people who complain about being too warm covered with a sheet.

As for being distracting, what if the (cute, or not) man in question was the most well-endowed person you've ever seen? Are you going to avoid looking at that? Don't ask for trouble.
the "cute thing" was just a joke...just for the record. :)

Laura Allen said:
I'm just surprised by all the people who don't know what the draping law is in their own state.

Whether it is the law or not, I wouldn't do massage without a drape. I normally use sheet draping, although I have used towels for people who complain about being too warm covered with a sheet.

As for being distracting, what if the (cute, or not) man in question was the most well-endowed person you've ever seen? Are you going to avoid looking at that? Don't ask for trouble.
I would require draping in my business whether the state of Texas allowed it or not. It is my personal preference and I will stick with it. We have posted a sign that draping is required. I work in a small town near San Antonio; we have had many men passing through town who upon seeing our sign, stop in expecting to have undraped massages, giving us many quips about reasons they need to be undraped and we have absolutely refused. My reply to them was that there were many massage therapists who may allow that and they could look in the SA Current for their ads. I have no interest in seeing male or female genitalia and as a LMT who works hard to provide a great massage, working on undraped individuals does not interest me in the least.
But again, if a massage therapist is comfortable with giving a client that option, they should at least be aware of the consequences and be prepared for amusing and or embarrassing results. Personally, draping allows a great massage to be given while protecting the LMT's right to dignity.

Lisa said:
the "cute thing" was just a joke...just for the record. :)

Laura Allen said:
I'm just surprised by all the people who don't know what the draping law is in their own state.

Whether it is the law or not, I wouldn't do massage without a drape. I normally use sheet draping, although I have used towels for people who complain about being too warm covered with a sheet.

As for being distracting, what if the (cute, or not) man in question was the most well-endowed person you've ever seen? Are you going to avoid looking at that? Don't ask for trouble.
Well, here in Texas as Lisa said is not mandatory, but if I ever do one with NO DRAPING, you bet I will make what I call a "diaper" a towel folded around their privates, I just don't see the point with closing my eyes so I won't see, they are more than welcome to be un-draped but I will still put a towel.
I never do un-draped. If they don't like the sheet, I use a towel.
There's nothing I need to work on that is covered by that towel, so why would it need be exposed?
I've had a few ask for undraped and when I told them I do draped massage, some were ok with the towel, some didn't show or call back. And some of those that were ok with the towel, still tried to suggest extra services.
And one even left the towel off when I left the room for him to change, and I came back in to a naked man. I politely covered him with a towel and he left it on...but, then, when I was thru, he propositioned me and asked for me to let him massage me. I of course declined and left quick as I could get out of there.
After that, I don't even take clients that ask for un-draped, EVEN if they say they are cool with being draped once I tell them I do draped only.

I believe only uncover what's going to be worked on, no mis-understandings if things are kept that way.

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