Sooooooooo… What do I wear during a massage?

It’s the question everyone has and no one wants to ask.

The generic answer we were taught to say in massage school is, “Dress down to your comfort level.” Well folks, this is the midwest. You show too much ankle and you get dirty stares. Modesty is hardwired into us, so that statement really tells you nothing.

Here is what you need to know to feel prepared for what to wear to your next massage:

You can wear what you want

I do mean that. Personally, I don’t wear anything when I get a massage (I said GET not GIVE. This industry has a dark history, so I wanted to be sure to reiterate that).

Some clients keep underwear on, some wear compression shorts, and everything in between. I give massages to clients who are fully clothed. Whatever you are going to feel comfortable with is the best thing that you can wear (or not wear) to a massage.

You won’t be exposed

First things first, massage therapists have laws that we need to abide by and a state board to answer to. In the state of North Dakota, it is illegal to expose breast tissue, genitals, or the gluteal crease (aka the butt crack). It’s as simple as that.

Only Licensed Massage Therapists (LMTs) can practice in the state of North Dakota. That means they had to go through an approval process from the ND Board of Massage Therapy. Laws and policies are in place to keep YOU protected and make your massage experience that much more comfortable.

The sheets aren’t going anywhere

Covering the client, or draping, is a skill that massage therapists spend a lot of time developing. We only open the areas that we are working on so you don’t feel as vulnerable.

Working on sensitive areas such as glutes, pects, and hip flexors is discussed before the massage so you can consent to the work or ask any questions.

If it’s going to be a session with active stretching, I may tell you to bring shorts and a tank top to wear ahead of time to make sure you stay covered. You’ll always be covered, and there won’t be any surprises.

You won’t make US feel uncomfortable

You aren’t going to embarrass your massage therapist. It’s just anatomy, and quite frankly, we are pretty desensitized to it.

To put things into perspective, my entire class watched as my teacher taught them how to massage glutes. Fast forward a couple of weeks and the class was drawing on my butt with marker as we traced the glute muscles for our upcoming deep tissue massage final. I even let people take pictures of me to help them study. (For all I know, my graffitied ass could be someone’s screen saver right now).

Long story short, you don’t need to worry about being modest for our sake. We’ve seen it all.

You have a choice!

When I got my first massage, the LMT sold me, “The less you wear, the easier it is for me to work.” Yes, fewer straps and less fabric mean that much less to move around or get caught on, but my first job is to make you feel comfortable.


Ultimately, a good massage therapist should give you the power to choose. You can say no to a treatment, and you shouldn’t feel rude by doing so. If you don’t like how something feels, tell us. It’s that simple. You have the power in session and you should never feel otherwise.

So, now you have everything you need to make your choice on what to wear to your next massage. Underwear or commando or a onesie, feel confident when choosing your next outfit!