Draping policies

topic posted Fri, February 29, 2008 - 6:05 AM by  Unsubscribed
I was wondering what peoples draping policies are with their client. I use either sheet or towel draping. Often times just the genital areas are covered in order for me to do more effective and longer strokes. They are never nude however. I was curious because many of my clients prefer less draping, not sure if it's sexual thing or they feel less stuffy.
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  • I always drape, usually with sheets and blankets and sometimes towels. It's hellacold in SF and it saves electricity to use blankets. I have one friend I'll do nude massage on (at his place, with his electric bill), but I usually have a sarong or something. We're very close friends, though....
    • Unsu...
      Hellucold... are kidding? New England is like a walk in freezer. I always have to use my space heater. I was wondering Molly do your women like to be draped more than your men?
      • Yes, most men don't care and tend to get frustrated if I fuss with the draping too much. Women MUST be covered at all times- no air in there!
        • Unsu...
          Why do you think that is?
          • I think women are just more neurotic in general. This is socialized into us by our puritanical culture (I've had European women undress during the interview). Maybe too many Barbies to compare your body to....who knows?
            • Unsu...
              Ha ha yea. I tell all my clients they are beautiful the way they are. The media really mind fucks lots of people into feeling insecure. Some people are meant to be big and some small. If all art was the same, it'd be boring. I think when women stop competing with each other, they'll relax more.
  • Hi Joy,
    I alway let my clients decide on the level of draping. The vast majority request their massage with no draping. Only about 2% have requested some level of draping. I personally think I give a better massage when my client is not draped because I do use a lot of the longer Escalon type strokes. It's funny because when I went through massage school, I was taught that draping was legally required in the state of Texas but upon reading the regulations myself, I found out that the level can be verbally agreed to between the masseuse and the client.
    • Unsu...
      What exactly is "Escalon" type massage. I assumed that it was some sort of typo or that you were thinking of Esalen and didn't know the correct name but I saw that you referenced Escalon massage on your web site too...

      Is using the term Escalon just a way to save you from any legal hassles over trademark violations because you're not authorized to use the Esalen name, or is it an honest mistake?
    • Unsu...
      Yea I use very minimal draping. Pretty much a towel folded three ways to cover genitals. I do sometimes think about how it gets in the way though. It actually is quite frustrating fussing with it. I'm just not comfortable with my clients being totally nude, maybe one day. Baby steps.
  • One thing I forgot to mention that I've found to be very important for a client's comfort when no draping is involved....the table should be heated. I use one of the electrically heated fleece table covers and set it at 160 degree F. That sounds like it might be too hot but it's just prefect when the room temperature is kept around 70. A cool room temperature keeps me comfortable even with my physical effort while the very warm table keeps my client comfortable. I even recently added a heated mattress cover to my Tatami bed and found that to be quit luxurious feeling.
    • It's a lot warmer in TX than SF....I had to stop doing massage out of my old 1908 Victorian studio in Haight Ashbury from Nov-spring because even with drapes, blankets, and 2 space heaters I still had clients complain about the cold. Fortunately, my new space is a lot warmer!
      I have to drape at the healing center to follow their policies. I often wish there could be less blankets, etc...especially with side-lying, it often becomes a jumbled mess!
  • Unless asked otherwise my clients are covered neck to toe with a warm, clean blanket. Not because of some "OMG Nudity!", but because it makes them feel safe, secure and protected, allowing them to fully relax. Men almost always ask for no draping, which I gladly comply with, and women usually appreciate it. I also find that fellow body workers prefer not to be draped or be minimally draped, but then again we're a different bunch ;).
    I'll make concessions to any client and match his/her level of desired draping, be it heavy or none, but as a rule I drape, sometimes using 2 blankets, one for each hemisphere. With practice and skill, the draping never gets in the way, and no matter how long my strokes get, they remain fluid.
  • Many of my clients don't wear underwear, so I keep them draped at all times with a sheet and blanket.
    I will massage the buttocks without the sheet, but I will just bring it to the side and under the leg so that nothing is showing except the outter leg, buttocks, and back. If they ask me to work further in they are usually just perves.
    • Unsu...
      I was wondering for those who drape nude how you felt at first? I find I can get done everything I need to with tri-fold towel draping. I think choosing to be nude can be an act of voyeurism. I do not wish to be voyeuristic with those whom I'm not close with. Now when the practitioner and client are nude that really changes everything. I think it then becomes a sexual and spiritual experience. I have one client who really wants to trade and keeps hoping for nude, but I'm uncomfortable with it. Also it seems he's really not getting that extra TLC on the homefront with his partner, so perhaps he's trying somewhere else. I guess I just wonder sometimes the intentions behind nudity. At first I thought to myself, "now am I not honoring the whole body by not allowing nudity?" I have realized that of course I do, but it takes time and trust before I decide on letting go of those boundaries. I guess for me massage is a relationship. It is built on openness, trust, and respect for other peoples space. I perform and receive nude massage with two of my women practitioner friends, and partner. That is it. I suppose I'm at where I'm supposed to be right now.
      • Unsu...
        Lol...Oh by "drape nude"(oxymoron), I mean no draping on the client.
        • Unsu...
          Oh yea i wanted to add that even when I give/receive nude we start off with draping. Sometimes it leads to nude and other times not. Sometimes spirit is so strong, we just go with whatever. It is cold on the east coast so draping can be comforting at times. Anyways one of my friends has such a nurturing touch that you feel as though you're in the womb naked, safe, and loved. I do not feel that often with people, or many practitioners. However the universe is slowly bringing me to those who come from that deep heart space.
          • I think some people are just more comfortable with nudity because of their environment. Most Europeans for example are accustomed to no drape and clothing optional beaches are very common. Nudity in North America tends to be associated with sex. I do, on occasion, get the opportunity to visit nudist resorts and find the experience freeing, not sexual. The first time I went to one, it felt a little funny because it was so different from the way I was raised but I discovered that I loved the feeling of freedom it brought. When everyone is running around with no clothing, it just feels like your free and connected to nature.

            I've been surprised that so many of my clients prefer no draping. Before I started, I would have expected more, like at least 10%, to express a desire for some draping. I do between 12 and 20 massages a week and I typically only have 1 or 2 requests per month for draping.

            In any case, I agree that you have to do what you are comfortable with. If you find no draping to be a distraction from focusing on your bodywork (sexual thoughts can be very distracting, lol), then continue to use at least a minimal drape until you feel otherwise.
  • Hi
    I am new here and was curious as to massage and the draping issues...I have read the other replys and agree with most. I think people need to do what is comfy for them. I am not a massage therapist but have had a few and find it relaxing. I know it is a societal thing here in the states where many people feel nudity equals sex. I grew up in a nudist lifestyle since a young age and I would much prefer not being draped for a massage but have always been fearful to ask as to how they may think or feel about it....also I am in Wa state and not sure about guidelines. I see about the post of the caller and that sounds like there are wrong intentions....I would not want to come across as a perv and I enjoy massage draped or not although I think undraped would be a much more relaxed and comforting feeling....anyone else with thoughts on this? thanks
    • Unsu...
      Well when you are a practitioner you are still human, and may carry different reasons that may cause you to choose draping or non draping. It is a good thing there are plenty of practitioners and we are all unique and offer different things. Once the door is closed you can do as you wish regardless of laws. I just hope that besides the draping bit, practitioners are ethical and take their profession seriously. We've worked very hard to be seen as a legit profession. I choose to drape and maybe someday may decide differently.
      • Unsu...
        Can I be in the nude?
        Of course. I believe that massage should be about comfort and connection. Wear what makes you feel comfortable and connected.

        thats my policy from my website. I have heard howls before of that is illegal. Had my website e-mailed to vice squads (or so the goofball puritan said) But I am not submitting myself or my clients to the portions of the United States that is a cumbersome nanny state and I have always felt that if I got charged for civil disobedience that I would be in some pretty good company. But 10 years into my bodywork practice from Denver to Tucson to SF to Boise. . . I have yet to get charged----
        I agree with many of the comments men prefer no drape, women do---I believe that comfort/discomfort for a client often arises from what is going on internally for the practitioner ---- if you want to make clients feel "draped" in comfort and healing (which is far more important then a thin sheet of cotton) then never stop working on yourself and keeping yourself happy and your intentions clear. . .
        • Unsu...
          Well..that is just straight up lame trying to report or "say" they reported you. How can someone take your intentions the wrong way Zeke? Youa area gentle creature of love and true healing. Just in the short discussions you seem so aware, caring, and confident about your work. I would receive from you in a heart beat if you were closer. Plus I'd love to learns ome Esalen Masage. For me I am still processing the male energy that comes to me. I have a few clients that I'm completely comfortable with and perhaps one day if intuition calls allow non draping. I still have lots of work on myself to come to that place however. I have come a long way in three years though. Had to learn and unlearn lots of programming done by the institution I got my training from. I admire those who've come to a place where they are comfortable offering nude massage. Like i said when the door is closed the law should be left outside. It should only be about you and cleints needs. If I felt strongly about something, I would never back down or submit to those who feel it's wrong. In the end it is our truth that matters. I wish you all success, strength, and love for what you do...
  • Hi Joy,

    I come here as an explorer--one who has journeyed for several years. Guess I am in search of the holy grail of therapists. For some reason, many therapists believe undraped sessions are illegal. It's not the "non-draping" that is illegal. It's the act of prostitution that is. If a therapist accepts money for a sexual act, it is considered prostitution. Simply observing a nude body in a private location such as a therapists office does not constitute a sexual act.
    So we are left with the comfort factor of the patient and the therapist. If both are comfortable with nudity, what is the problem? If either is uncomfortable, then come to a mutually agreeable solution and get on with life. If a mutually agreeable solution cannot be met, find another therapist/find another patient.
    Genitals are a natural part of every human being....and every human has emotions, desires, and needs. Genitals are natural anatomical parts that are connected to each of us....through our minds, hearts, spirits....and interplay with the rest of our body. One mission of the therapist is to provide a trusting care to the patient's body. With this trust, the patient allows the therapist to penetrate the mind and emotions. The mutual trust melds the body and spirit into a eucharist session. In a sense, the holy grail.
    Is it right that a therapist who insists on draping be referred to as a "healer"?? A free thinker?? Or is the therapist simply a muscle worker.
    In my search for a therapist, I have found many muscle-workers. It is a shame they want to assume the name of therapist.
    Perhaps the holy grail lies on a heated table covered with a sheet.............
    • Unsu...
      I am most definately a muscle worker, but a healer too. My draping is so minimal I question why I bother at times, but draping does not make my session less effective, or void of a spiritual experience . My intention is only to give relaxation and pure intented and guided love. Most do not want healing, only the physical piece, it's just reality. I have only a few clients I would massage nude, but I see no reason to unless draping was inhibiting me to effectively treat an area. It does not mean I do not honor the genitals. Anyone who has experienced a session with me would know this. I feel there is no "holy grail" of therapists my friend, because each person likes different things. I am an artist, you either enjoy my art or not. Either way is ok to me. Good thing the world is full of other artists. It's all a preference.
      • Unsu...
        More times than none men always want a nude experience and women don't ,so explain that? This is why I am apprehensive. I would love to believe everyone is good and has pure intentions. Unfortunately it is not like that...humans have swayed to far from ONE, so in saying that... I will always gage what feels right, and what feels wrong to me. You are right in that there definately needs to be a mutual agreement or else it becomes uncomfortable, unbeneficial, or abusive if someone does something they do not like. I find it very abusive when men passively hint that they want to be undraped several times during a session or they try to convince me why it's ok. It should never feel like a control thing, or either party should not feel uncomfortable, it's a partnership. I state how it is in the beginning. Now if I gave an option that would be different. I sort of find it upsetting that you question whether a person is not a "healer" if they choose draping. Reiki is very effective and you are fully clothed during the sessions. In the end all this is only my opinion, but I always stand firm to what I believe in.
        • Unsu...
          I feel terrible this girl on my craigslist is getting taunted and threatened about non draping. It's really none of anyones business once the door closes. Back to that mutual agreement thing and how important it is, geez.... It's to bad others feel the need to interfere with other therapists beliefs instead of worrying about themselves. This whole license bit has started to separate the bodyworkers due to our undereducated society.
        • Please don't be upset. I speak from my perspective (as you do from yours) and on that basis complete healing takes place in a totally unrestictive environment. I view draping as a roadblock/diversion to the complete therapuetic process. A drape has both a physical and emotional ramifications. From the physical standpoint, a therapist who requires draping effectively says to the patient that they do not consider genitals as being part of the human anatomy. Many therapists indicate they are offended by seeing genitalia. I question the therapist's true ability to work the body and provide healing. Emotionally, the patient who sincerely wants a full and open healing session, may well feel restricted during the session. The patient who truly is in search of full and open healing (and not a sexcapade) is left feeling that genitals are "dirty" or "illegal" when draping is used. In my opinion, the use of draping is inhibiting. The use of so-called light draping often times fosters a sexual feeling. The practice of no draping completes the therapuetic experience. Similar to a woman wearing unkempt, frumpy clothes--not very stimulating. Put her in a see-thru neglige and she becomes sexually attractive. Remove her clothes and she becomes similar to 51% of the world's population.
          The American standards are dissappointing, inhibitive and misguided. Too bad a few bad apples have to interfere with life's jourmey for all.
          • Unsu...
            I think the issue about draping that Joy raises is interesting and explainable. I believe that women's preference for draping has to do with body image and safety issues. Some women no matter how attractive they may be in reality have body image issues that haunt them throughout life. Hence a drape provides cover for softer and more emotionally sensitive areas. Then, of course there are the issues of rampant abuse and a drape provides safety and comfort. I always lay two sheets on my table (with both men and women). I say "undress to your level of comfort and I will be back in a couple of minutes." I then wash my hands and return. As I said up thread I find most men on top of the sheets and most women under the sheet when I return. Sure. . . it is more laundry but it provides a choice and a level of safety from which healing can begin. I believe that to push a client in one direction or the other on the draping issue (especially in the direction of no-draping) is tragic and un-therapeutic.

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