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Don’t be a crackhead…

I realize we have a record number of wonderful people going thru massage school at record speeds right now. Demand for talented, okay, at least proficient, massage therapists is at an all time high. This is one of the things than can go wrong with an undertrained, but certified, massage therapist. Got this question via email:

“…My company is hiring a new massage therapist. My boss wanted me to be the client for the therapist to do a practical on.
The therapist asked if I wanted my gluts done. I said yes. I was wearing underwear. The therapist lowered my underwear to the gluteal fold exposing my entire gluteal cleft. I thought the proper way to drape the gluts is to drape the leg, exposing the gluts while still covering the gluteal cleft. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.”

Seriously? My response:

“…Im sorry you were exposed during your session. Yah, you are 100% right. Exposing the gluteal cleft is 99% of the time a HUGE mistake. By huge I mean grounds for a bad online review, client never coming back and worst case scenario an official complaint to the Nursing Board.
A) I would ask, where did this CMT learn that technique? The only place I know of that may still teach this is Esalen Institute.
B) Your boss needs to be aware of the risk of this type of technique. Overall, if the rest of the massage had appropriate, secure draping then the CMT could be made aware of the risks and the appropriate glut draping technique used for a more professional session. Include the important point of: the sheet can be moved around the underwear, but as a massage professional we do not move underwear ‘out of the way’. All techniques can be performed OVER the clothing that the client has chosen to leave on. Clients choose to leave on certain articles of clothing for their own comfort level. A professional therapist, especially on the very first visit, must respect those decisions.
Hope this helps frame in the most professional draping techniques. Techniques that allow all clients to feel respected and fully enjoy their massage session.”

I decided to post this to remind readers of the importance of respecting our clients’ boundaries. Hold yourself to the highest ethical standards of our profession. By doing so we will bring out the best in ourselves and others.


  1. Naomi says:

    Wonderful site you have here but I was curious about if you knew
    of any discussion boards that cover the same topics discussed in this article?
    I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get feed-back from
    other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Many thanks!

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