If you're planning to get a massage you may be wondering if you should take it all off or leave some clothes on.

The question is one that I've been grappling with since receiving a gift certificate for a local spa in the Hudson Valley for Father's Day. This isn't the first massage I've received, but the first one I've had locally.

Usually, when I get a massage I'm on vacation. Enjoying a spa experience in some nice hotel or resort while having tropical drinks is a much different experience than going to the local strip mall. While the massage itself is basically the same, it's a very different environment.

At the spas I've been to it's been the norm to disrobe and just have a sheet covering you as you go, but the more I talk to people who've received massages locally, leaving your underwear on seems to be expected. Or is it?

So what's the right thing to do?

The last thing you want is to do something that makes you or the massage therapist uncomfortable. If stripping down is the norm you don't want to be like that guy who wears a shirt in the pool. However, if you're expected to keep some clothes on you don't want to just let it all hang out with no warning.

According to the experts, it's perfectly acceptable to strip down. In fact, depending on what kind of massage you're getting it's actually easier if you don't have on any underwear.  Massage therapists are professionals and will make sure you don't feel exposed or uncomfortable. A sheet is always carefully placed to keep things hidden and, at the end of the day, it's nothing they haven't seen before anyway.

Michelle Trigona-Gaine, a licensed massage therapist in the Hudson Valley spoke about this very issue with Women's Health magazine and confirms that underwear is optional.

You may be offered disposable underwear to avoid any oil stains, which you can accept or reject based on personal preference. Keep in mind that if you want to wear your skivvies but are getting any gluteal work done, thong underwear is ideal.

Bottom line

At the end of the day, experts agree that you should do whatever makes you feel comfortable. The massage experience is supposed to be a relaxing one. If you're anxious about what to do, simply ask the masseuse their preference. Most likely they won't care either way.

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