If you’re going for your first Thai massage, I’m sure you’re nervous about what to do or not to do.
There’s no need to worry, I’m sure your massage therapist will talk you through what to expect.
In addition to what to expect, here is important Thai massage etiquette to be aware of.
Thai Massage Etiquette
Always Be on Time
First and foremost, please be on time for your appointment.
Thai massages are usually an hour long, but the therapist may need to set up beforehand or do paperwork afterwards.
If you’re more than 15 minutes late, your therapist may not be able to give you the full massage.
It’s just common courtesy to be on time, not look rushed like you’ve had to run there, and you’re relaxed.
Related – More on cruise ship massage etiquette and hotel swimming pool etiquette here.
Be Prepared to De-robe
During a Thai massage, you will often be fully clothed.
However, your therapist will ask you to remove your shoes and any jewelry before getting on the table.
They may also ask you to remove other clothing, but this is usually only if the article of clothing is too tight or bulky to enable them to perform the massage.
Wear loose-fitting clothes, if you’re in doubt about what to wear, ring ahead first and ask.
This isn’t a requirement, but it’s best if you shower before your massage.
You want to be clean for your therapist, plus it will help you feel more relaxed.
Basic hygiene is always a good idea when the therapist is going to be putting their hands on you.
Ask Any Questions Beforehand
If you have any questions, please ask them before the massage starts.
Your therapist will be more than happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
This is especially important if you’re pregnant or have any injuries so that your therapist knows how to adjust the massage for you.
It’s not ideal to ask questions during the massage, although of course, that’s fine if something comes up or you’re not comfortable in any way.
If you had a good experience and enjoyed your massage, it’s customary to tip your therapist.
A good rule of thumb is to tip 15%-20% of the cost of the massage.
So, if your massage was $80, a 15% tip would be $12 and a 20% tip would be $16.
This is discretionary though, you should only tip an amount you’re comfortable with.
Turn Off Your Cell Phone
This should go without saying, but please turn off your cell phone before getting on the massage table.
You don’t want it going off in the middle of your massage and disrupting the relaxation.
Your therapist may even ask you to leave it outside or in a locker so that you’re not tempted to check it or can’t hear it if it does go off.
Don’t Turn up If You’re Feeling Sick
It’s not fair to your therapist if you turn up for your massage feeling sick.
They don’t want to catch whatever it is you have, and it’s just common courtesy.
If you’re feeling even a little bit off, please reschedule your appointment.
Thai massages are meant to be relaxing and enjoyable, you’re not going to get the most out of it if you’re not feeling well and it may even make your symptoms worse.
Don’t Wear Strong Artificial Fragrances
This goes for any type of massage, not just Thai.
Please don’t wear strong artificial fragrances, such as perfume or cologne.
Many people are sensitive to these smells and they can be quite overwhelming in a small space.
In addition, your therapist will be close to you during the massage and the last thing they want is to deal with the smell (no matter how nice you think it is) and transfer the scent to themselves.
Never Make Lewd Comments
This should go without saying, but please don’t make any lewd comments or gestures during your massage.
Your therapist is there to give you a professional massage and nothing more.
Any type of harassment will not be tolerated and you will be asked to leave immediately.
No matter what you’ve seen on TV or heard, it’s not funny and it’s certainly not appreciated by the therapists.
Related – A look at Swedish massage vs Thai massage and what to wear to your first massage.
Don’t Try to ‘Help’ The Therapist
A lot of patients try to move body parts or ask the therapist if they want them to change positions etc.
That’s not part of your role, your therapist will ask if they need you to move otherwise they really don’t want you to.
All you have to do is lay back and relax and let the therapist do their job!
That’s it, all of the unspoken rules and subtle etiquette rules that you need to know if you’re going to have a Thai massage, good luck and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the benefits of this wonderful type of massage!
Header Photo by Conscious Design on Unsplash
I’m a MA, (CMT) Certified Massage Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and Reiki Master — I’m a licensed massage therapist with over 10 years of experience in the industry.