My question is this....how do you approach the client with massaging the glutes?
In class, we were taught that we first ask permission (when they are already on the table, right before you do it), and then tell them to lower their underwear halfway, if they are wearing any (in our school, it's the rule to wear undies).
But then I had another teacher for an elective, who said she hates breaking up the continuity of the massage by saying "lower your underwear" and in fact, thinks it jars the person back to reality that they are laying there half naked, etc....and she said the phrase just makes her cringe (maybe because the MT is in a position of power?). So she said, if the person wears underwear, she'll just go over it. And she doesn't do any special draping (as we were taught) and just goes under or over the sheet.
Quite frankly, I hate the idea of telling someone to lower their underwear during a massage. I thought about asking them before the session (while they are still dressed) if they want glute work, get their permission then, and tell them when they disrobe to lower their underwear under the sheets. This wouldn't be a problem if they could all just be naked lol Anyhoo...another student told me this was a bad idea cuz most people would not agree to glute work before the session...but once you had them on the table all relaxed...they would. argh.
In March I'll be starting clinic...and I don't want to be awkward about this...or avoid doing glutes altogether. So what have been your experiences? Thanks!
Me and how everyone that has ever massaged my gluts does so while working on my legs. I take the sheets if they have underwear on tuck the sheet a little bit in and push their underwear back pretty much giving them a wedgie. If they have none on then I just fold the sheet back to expose the gluts, never exposing the gluteal cleavage. Men with boxers...I don't even bother trying to work on the gluts. I do some work over the sheets but that is it.
As far as asking people if they want me too, I have never asked anyone. I never had a person stop me mid massage. Newbies to massage I explain to them what I will be massaging and they too have never objected.
But PLEASE DO NOT skip over the gluts!!! That is my favorite part to get massaged!! I get mad if its skipped on me!
We were taught to go into the glutes right after the back. They taught us this tricky draping technique which ends making the end of the sheet a triangular shape that is covering the cleft. The legs would still be covered. This is why we were instructed to command the lowering of the undies. In fact, one of my teachers says she just yanks them down herself. It just doesn't seem right to me. Your way just seems so natural to me.
The couple times I've had my glutes professionally massaged, I wasn't asked...and I'm kinda glad I wasn't. During a massage, I just want to relax and forget the world. But then again, I wouldn't want to make anyone uncomfortable. So from what I understand, you bring this up before they disrobe?
Again, I like your way better. I may try this outside of class. Not sure I can get away with it in class or clinic. Thanks Shannon!
Anyway, the way she does it from the lower back I thought was quite smooth. She simply asks as she turns the sheet back so she can massage your back, if she can tuck the sheet into the waist of your undies a little, this helps provide a little more "glute" to massage while also protecting the clients underwear from getting oil on it.
I still remember the first time someone showed up on my table with thong underwear... wow was I impressed! Total gluteal access!
I do that too! one of my instructors in school taught us that. I stop right at the start of the cleavage.Anyway, the way she does it from the lower back I thought was quite smooth. She simply asks as she turns the sheet back so she can massage your back, if she can tuck the sheet into the waist of your undies a little, this helps provide a little more "glute" to massage while also protecting the clients underwear from getting oil on it.
Honestly, I would feel dang awkward asking someone to drop their drawers a bit.
part." --Shirley MacLaine
With new clients, I will always explain to them what I am going to do before the massage. I ask if there is anything they would prefer I NOT massage or an area that they would like me to spend a little extra time. I also explain the disrobing thing "Undress to your comfort level. If you are comfortable with your panties (skivvies if it's a guy) off, that's great, but if you prefer them on, that's fine too). If they leave the underwear on, I will then work their glutes over the sheet.
Occasionally, I will get someone who I feel is a little nervous about the whole massage. Maybe they are uneasy about the underwear thing. Or they just seem very modest. If this is the case, I will err on the side of caution and not work on the glutes the first session.
I agree that asking permission in the middle of the massage is disruptive. In addition, I think that by that time, the client is unclothed and relaxed and you are standing over them as they are laying down. This puts us in a position of power and asking them permission or asking them to lower their underwear is not fair. They may feel that it is a command, rather than a question. If you review your second posting, you actually did use the phrase "command the lowering of the undies." Perhaps this is part of what is making you feel uncomfortable about the whole thing if your instructor is making you feel as if you are "commanding" your client.
I also agree that asking that in the middle of the massage makes it feel like there is something special or unusual about this body part. The clients take their cues from us. If we treat the glutes as an extension of the leg, then they are more likely to think of it that way too. When I approach the legs and I'm doing the first few glides, I make sure to start at the ankle and make one giant sweep all the way up to the glutes. Of course, if they are wearing underwear, this presents a problem. In that case, I will usually do it as an extension of the back. Not as smooth in my opinion, but it works. While I'm working one side of the back, I will then work the glutes through the sheet, then come back up into the back before moving on to the other side of the back. The client then feels that I'm not making an "event" out of their glutes.
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When I start compressions on the back I "cat paw" my way down the back on eigther side of the spine, ending with a nice stretch at the sacrum. I "cat paw" my way back up the back and then compress down one side. All the way down into the gluts. I use me fists or the "butt" of my hand. Then I usually do a bit of petrassage using both of my fists. It feels very good! Then when I'm ready if the client is wearing undies I tuck the sheet into them a little (pulling the undies down a bit if I need to, unless it is a thong!) and flip it down and tuck it under the sides.
Then when I start work on the legs I compress the whole leg, gluts to heel. It's durring this part of the massage that I do the deep work on the gluts. I just flip and tuck the sheet under the clients leg and tuck under the hip as well. If this restricts my access to the gluts I pull out the hip tuck and work away. If undies or boxers make it hard to do this I work over the sheet.
I've never had anyone say they don't want their gluts done. I usually hear comments about how they didn't realize how good it feels the have their gluts done. And I usually say "Well, there's nothing like a good butt massage". Because, it's true!
I think saying "Please lower your underwear" would interupt the flow of your massage. If anything needs moving, move it! If no one will be in the treatment room with you and you're clients don't worry about it. If your instructor will be in the room then I'd talk to her now about it. Tell her your thoughts and feelings on the matter. Talk with your classmates. It's possible there are others who feel the same way. If you all come to your instructor with it she might change her mind.
Bottom line, if it makes you uncomfortable or you think it will make your client uncomfortable you don't have to do it.
I have found too that the more at ease with working the area in a matter of fact way, the more quickly your client will be at ease also. Be mindfull too that before you start on the client you should tell them that if at any time you are working on them and they feel uncomfortable in any way, they should tell you. From that perspective, its on them if you start and they are uncomfortable, they should tell you no. That will help eliminate the decision on who pulls the underwear down and when. Hope that helps. Good luck in clinic!
But must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it." Albert Schweitzer
It's not only my instructor that does it this way, but all the instructors because they were trained by the person who runs the school, and that is how she does it (It's not only in the book we follow, where she is doing it this way, but in her tapes that are for sale). So you see, I can't very well go to them about this. This is how it is and that's that!
But it still doesn't feel right to me. I'll do it in class their way but on my own (and of course after I graduate), I'll be doing how you all do. It makes more sense to me and seems easier. Not sure what I'll do when clinic comes around. I wonder if I'd get in trouble doing it the "wrong way"? *shrugs* Oh well. Hey thanks again. I'm so glad this forum is around for times like these. You guys had NO problem understanding my dilemma and I really appreciate that!
if the client is wearing a thong then, glutes are available.
i always tuck the drape into the undergarment to avoid lube contact.
i had a male client that had severe lumbar issues and after the 2nd appt, ~wearing his boxers~ i felt his glutes needed more focused work to help relieve his lumbar areas. i sensed he was more comfortable with me, so i asked him before his third appt if he would be interested in allowing me to massage glutes inencombered. he was okay with it.
the only other time i ask the client to remove all clothing is to perform certain spa services (wet environment or messy product).
asking permission to do something in the middle of the session is a little out of text, but an example of a common thing is when a more modest lady wears her bra to the table. again, it is a boundry. supine, i ask if it's okay to slip the straps down the arm to massage sub-clav and shoulder, and when she's prone, i lean and whisper to her that if it's alright, i'm going to unhook her. when you're ready to rehoook, i whisper again i'm going to, so that she can make sure it all goes back where it is supposed to
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DITTO, almost to the letter.KneadedMassage wrote: With new clients, I will always explain to them what I am going to do before the massage. I ask if there is anything they would prefer I NOT massage or an area that they would like me to spend a little extra time. I also explain the disrobing thing "Undress to your comfort level. If they leave the underwear on, I will then work their glutes over the sheet.
BEFORE the massage ever begins they are given the rundown so they know what to expect. Now, when I was in clinic I made a nono mistake. Worked out well and looking back,,,whoa what a stupid thing to do.
We had a few regulars in clinic. I knew he was one from his rapport in the waiting room as well as his chart. Anyhow, I did the rundown and left the curtained area(hated those, would have preferred rooms with walls and doors)...and he was under the sheet with his underwear on. I don't remember if I started the massage or did this when I got to his leg. I saw his underwear on and told him to take it off....I'm actually laughing as I type but I was terrified then. As soon as I made the request I wanted to shove the words back in my mouth..but how in the world could I do a massage with his underwear on(this I was thinking in my head).
I left, he toook them off, I finished the massage. I actually had him as a client several times after that.
That's what clinic is for. Making your goof ups... I'll tell you one day about how clingy new jersey knit sheets are.
If I was the one on my table I would have said 'are you out of your mind?"
Live and learn.
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She may be wearing undies because of her choice of feminine hygiene product. (or maybe that was all that was left in the bathroom cupboard 5 minutes after she was supposed to have left the house for her massage)
This has happened to me both as a giver and receiver of massage.
heehee, it is better just to ask, because a woman is probably more likely to tell you: yes, she wants her glutes massaged, not that she just got her period and all she had in the house was a granny pad, and that is why she is wearing underwear.
I do agree with the poster above that just because a woman keeps her underwear on doesnt always mean she doesn't want her glutes done. I've always kept my undies on for massages (never knew I could take them off) but have never been opposed to getting my glutes done.
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Instead, I added a section to my intake form, where I have a little chart, a list of all the body parts I massage, and off to the side are little blank boxes. On the form, I ask them to either initial or put an "X" or a check in those boxes to indicate that they are giving consent for those areas to be massaged. I also state that they may leave ANY box blank, and that that/those area(s) will not be massaged. Basically, it's a way of quickly and easily finding out if they'd rather their scalp, glutes, abs, pecs, adductors, etc, not be worked on, or even if they have an injured ankle or arm that's healing that they forgot to ask be avoided. It makes them think about each & every body part specifically, even if it's just for a moment. That way, too, I'm not saying too much at the beginning when they're trying to get relaxed and I'm not interrupting any flow.
And if they have underwear on and indicate that they'd like, or are comfy with, glute work, then I just work through the sheet, doing compression, vibration, or cat-pawing
Just my thoughts...Any comments?
I'm currently studying massage and reading this topic I found it very interesting as it seems most people worked out their own way.
On the course I attend we are taught to work the whole back in one go. Which means starting from the low low back and including the gluteal muscles. Therefore, we tuck the towel under someones underwear and then slip it about 1/3 down (so that we get to the sacrum area). In this way we are getting kind of exposed client right before the massage starts (though, of course, not the whole gluteal muscle is exposed).
I myself can't imagine doing someone's back without starting right from the beginning, that's to say sacrum (I guess that's because the way I'm being taught). And to do so you need to get the buttocks exposed to certain degree.
However, I do acknowledge the issue. And I do agree with some posters that the worst thing you can do is to ask clients for such a thing when they already lay prone on the table. Also, breaking contact with the client to uncover those areas, to put an oil (unless you use talc) is not the best thing when you are halfway through and the client is just about to doze off.
I could ask them before massage. But by doing this I do kind of make an issue out of it. Clients might think, since I'm asking them about it, that this is SOMETHING they should be concerned about. I've tried that and it just dosen't feel right. Because how I'm gonna ask about it? Cassualy like if I were asking whether s/he likes vanilla ice-cream? Or maybe make a concerned face and ask as if I were asking about life threatening issue? Neither of them seems right. "Casually" dosen't do the justice to the matter and the "concerned" one makes a big thing out of nothing. What's more, the new client (especially new to the massage, but as someone has noticed, not every massage is the same) will have no real time to think it over, will be under pressure to give a reply (as therapist waits for the reply), will suddennly realize that therapist IS GOING to touch his/her buttocks (which most likely is not an issue, but since therapist ask...), will
be trying to make up his/her mind whether s/he likes to have glueal muscles done (most likely having no idea why s/he should have or should'n have it done). Imagine ahving to think over all this in a matter of few seconds...
And to makes things clear - If I were asked whether there are any areas I'd rather not have done, I would most likely say no. But how I'm gonna know what this therapist is going to do? Taking it literally, I would have to answer - "The groins, please do not massage the groins... and wait, testicles, testicles please do not massage, too."
The underwear, as it was said before, is no indication either. I myself wear tight fitting boxer (and some of them are longer than others) and it dosen't mean I don't want my glutes done. In this way I would have to put strings on to indicate a desire for buttock massage. And I'm sure not every single woman who wears strings says by this 'it's ok to expose my buttocks'.
In our school we are not taught the only right way to deal with this issue as there isn't such a thing. They rather signalize it and explained some problems we might face with client's modesty. In my case on top of that comes the fact I'm male.
All in all, I think there is a need for a flexibility and good empathy skill. Because sometimes you don't even have to ask client to know to better not to touch those areas. And to remember that, whether client is or is not on the table it only slightly changes our supreme position.
I think I like the best jyoti's way. If I were his/her (sorry, I'm not good at foreing names) client and had this little chart asking me about some areas, and buttocks were mentioned along things like scalp, face, feet, I would most probably think of my gluteus muscles as a quite normal part of massage. It wouldn't arise any special concerns (as it's usually the case when asked about them separately) but would give me a fair chance to say no if I really do feel uncomfortable about them or any other area.
And it would probably be even less concerning for the client if s/he was given a little chart with a human body shape and asked to mark any areas of pain/discomfort. For me that would be perfect... hang on, there suppoused not to be the only right way
What I'm doing myself? Well, I'm a student and I still learn. I started from having a model on the table and lowering his underwear without warning. At the present moment I do explain what back massage involve and try to see if a model feels something uneasy. As with most things, I'm just waiting when I'll get myself in the situation after which I will be honest with myself saying "You idiot!"
However I'm quite sure I'll work out my way basing on jyoti's way.
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Just a suggestion for when you get out on your own after graduation. I include a diagram of the front and back of the body on my intake forms (like the SOAP note diagrams). I ask the clients to mark the areas they want extra attention on with a circle and areas that they would like me to avoid with an X. It has worked great because if I see an X, I can clarify that area and the reason for avoiding it before we begin the session. It can also help jog a client's memory when it comes to mentioning prior injuries.
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I then begin the treatment, and if doing legs and can get at them I usually do the glutes too. If there is feedback requesting I ease off then I naturally respect that.
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Asking client for permission prior to start of massage:
With new clients, as part of the intake process, I ask them a number of preference questions: 1.Would they like unscented or scented massage oil 2. Would they prefer to begin their massage face-up or face down. 3. What level of pressure do they prefer? 4. Are there any areas of the body more tense or sore than another, and therefore in need of special focus during the session? 5. Lastly, I mention that some clients like to have their hips and abs included as part of the massage and others don’t. I ask them their preference, stating that either way is fine with me. At this point, if they’ve never had their hips or abs massaged before, they’ll ask about the benefits. It’s a great opportunity to educate and relate it to any problems they noted on their intake form (i.e. low back pain, constipation , etc.) As part of a conversation on preferences, this question seems very natural. Also, there’s no pressure for the client to answer one way or the other. For those of you who might wonder why I say “hips” instead of “gluteals”, I find that to the layperson, “hips” and “gluteals” mean the same thing. Also, for some of my older clients, they don’t know what “gluteals” means.
Technique for working over the sheet:
If a client is wearing underwear, I choose to work the glutes through the sheet. My reason: I believe you can do equally effective work to these muscles through the sheet as you can directly on the skin. I begin with some compression/cat paw and gentle rocking to the gluteal muscles. I then move into specific trigger point therapy work around the greater trochanter, iliac crest, sacral border, and muscle belly. I follow up with some more compression/cat paw and rocking to soothe the muscles (trigger point therapy can be intense). I repeat this technique for the other side. I then stand on a footstool next to the table, beside the hips. Facing the feet, I place one hand on each glute, the heels of my hands along each side of the sacrum. I then do alternating deep compression to one glute and then the other. I move my hands outward toward the greater trochanter and then back again to the sacral border. Next, I place my hands (one on top of the other) directly on the sacrum and compress down. Holding the compression, I move my hands in a slow circle, first clockwise and then counterclockwise. This massages all the borders of the sacrum, warms the sacral fascia and stimulates the cranial-sacral fluid flow. You can experiment with various sacral compression techniques here – alternating pressure on one side of the sacrum and then the other. You can also hit the acupressure points (on either side of the sacrum and in the sacral fossa). Finish with steady pressure on the center of the sacrum again, and then lift your hand until there’s barely any pressure and gently begin rocking your hand. The rocking motion will first move the client's sacrum and hips and usually your whole client’s body will follow in a rocking motion. I use this technique at the end of the prone portion of the massage session. Clients love it! (If you want more training in techniques through the sheets for the whole body, take either a chair massage class or shiatsu. Both teach fully clothed techniques that can be adapted when necessary for table massage).
I don't ask to perform work on the gluts. I definitely don't ask the client to move their underware. I just do what is needed.
In the initial intake, I have found clients will let me know if they don't want something specific, but I do a pretty thorough intake.
The only time I don't do much glut work is when they are wearing jeans. I do have a few clients who only get upper body, and always leave their jeans on. However, I will work the sacrum through the jeans on these clients. For these particular clients I do not press the issue, as I feel they will eventually let me know when they are ready for more work.
I may perform glut work in a number of ways, but here are my most common:
Usually my clients are fully unclothed and draped. I do have a few that wear their undergarments though.
For those that wear their undergarments, I tuck into the waistband and pull the underware down specifically so that I can get low into the lower back. I then re-arrange the waistband to it's natural fall and re-drape the back working through the sheet into the gluts and sacral region.
Many clients who are unclothed will also recieve the over the sheet method, as I do usually get pretty deep in this region for a number of people.
For those who are not wearing undergarments and I am working directly on the skin: I usually undrape the leg and work up into the gluts. See comment here. Sometimes however, I will undrape the entire gluteal area and just cover the cleft. Other times I work from the lower back into the glut, by triangular draping of the sheet downward to expose the glut from the superior to inferior and keeping the cleft covered.
Hope that helps.
We are learning in school here, that you do one side first and then move to the posterior leg, or go to the other side and redrape for glute works.
I just want to clarify the two hand glut thing, your not cupping the glutes are you???
We are taught from day one that you NEVER ask permission to do glut, ab or pec work while your client is on the table...never. The reasoning is because when laying on a table in their underwear, or less, your client is in a position of vulnerability and you are in a position of authority over them. Not great conditions for asking anyone about sensitive areas or issues.
We are told to sit down, at eye level, with out clients BEFORE they get undressed or get onto the table and discuss every detail of what they expect, what areas they want done, what areas they prefer not to have done..and it is at that time that these specific areas should be brought up...when you and your client on are even ground.
As for draping and technique ( we have no choice in the matter in class...everything gets massaged on us if we're comfortable or not )....we are taught to always drape down to the gluteal cleft and to tuck the top of the sheet into the top of the underwear. If their underwear covers the top of the gluteal cleft, it is discreetly pulled down and tucked in so that just the top of the cleft is visible. The upper fibers of the glutes and top of the iliac crest are included in the back sequence.
The rest of the glutes are done while working on the leg...bringing your drape up, tucking it into the bottom of the underwear and pulling them high enough to expose the muscle ( wedgie ), then tucking it under the leg you are working on to completely cover the cleft and groin area. Thank god for those who wear thongs!
I have been lucky enough to be able to do most of my practice hours on our Jr hockey team...and since they over use their hip flexors and glutes so much they have no reservations at all about having their glutes done. Now...if I could convince them to wear thongs instead of boxers we'd be in business !
The one drawback is that it is impossible to keep the sheet at the top of the gluteal cleft with the overdeveloped glute muscles these guys all have...gets very frustrating having to keep pulling the sheet and their underwear/shorts back down all the time. Since they are all 17-20 years old...they are a little uncomfortable with the idea of going without anything on under the drape.