I discuss how I would like for the client to get prepared for our session during my intake process. This is usually the very last thing I say to the client . I then leave the session space to allow them privacy. The conversation goes something like the following:
Me: In todays session we will focus on <insert specific complaint area>, and I will be doing a <insert massage style> massage (Swedish, Synergistic, Cupping, etc). Do you agree with this plan of action for today’s session?
Client: Yes that sounds great! (Of course if there is something else the client wishes for me to work on, we will discuss that. We then come to a verbal agreement for our session).
Me: Great! Can you please get dressed down to your comfort level? Once done, can you get on the table under the top sheet faced down. I will knock, and you can indicate if you are ready for me to enter. There is no need for you to get off the table when I knock.
The assumption is that I will be working directly on your skin if oil will be used. Clients are always completely covered by the top layer of sheet, and only the part that is being worked on at that time is exposed. It wasn’t until a discussion with other therapists that I have realized that my last statement before leaving the session room can be confusing!
Where is the confusion?
The confusion seems to stem from people having different levels of comfort. Some clients may dress down to nothing under the sheet, while others may not feel comfortable undressing at all. The conversation point amongst most of the other therapists was that we should all just tell everyone to dress down to nothing, and leave only underwear on, then get under the top layer of sheet. This approach seemed too forceful for my liking, and I don’t think my clients who are not comfortable removing their clothes would appreciate me telling them to do so.
Thankfully I offer at least 2 types of massages that don’t require clients to undress at all! Tui Na and Thai Massages can both be done while the client is fully clothed. They are both very therapeutic and effective! If I make any changes to my initial statement, I will state that the type of massage that I plan on utilizing does require the use of oil, which means I have to have access to skin. I can then inquire if the client is comfortable with that. If not, I can just as easily adjust my plan, and we agree on one that doesn’t involve removal of any items of clothing.
To answer the original question, dressed down to your comfort level means taking off or keeping on what every article of clothing that keeps you comfortable. I can adjust our treatment plan to meet your needs. I am here to help my clients, and so I make the necessary accommodations as is feasible for the treatment plan.