In Florida, the law requires a massage therapist to clearly explain their draping techniques to each client, and requires a client choosing not to be draped to sign an informed written consent that waives the draping.
It also states that appropriate draping of a client shall include draping of the buttocks and genitalia of all clients, and breasts of female clients, unless the client gives specific informed consent to be undraped.
In addition to state law, organizations like the Florida State Massage Therapy Association (FSMTA) and the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) have professional standards for massage therapists to adhere to.
Before a client removes any clothing, the practitioner should indicate exactly how they should lie on the massage table and how the draping should cover them. Undressing should only occur when the practitioner is out of the room, and the therapist should ask if the client is covered before reentering.
A client’s comfort level is very important, and they do not need to be nude underneath their draping. Other clients, however, are comfortable with more of their body being exposed. Either way, draping must be used whether a client partially or completely undresses or remains fully clothed.
A person may ask why a client would need to be undraped.
The answer is that sometimes the effectiveness of performing a massage is typically increased when applied directly over the tissue, without draping. Also, people from other parts of the world may be used to little or no draping during a massage.
Why would someone work on the female breast anyway?
A female client may require massage to the breast for example, as indicated in a plan of care to break up scar tissue associated with breast augmentation, injury, or even breast removal from cancer. Breast massage can also help alleviate pain associated with pregnancy, congestion, edema, and lymphedema.
A therapist performing a massage on an area such as the breasts, gluteal region, or groin area must respect the client’s right to continue, modify or discontinue massage therapy at any time and respect the client’s choice.
Massage techniques for those areas can still be safely provided directly through the draping of a client with wonderful benefits.
Whether receiving a massage, herbal wrap, exfoliating scrub, or other massage service; remember that it is usually the best practice to provide treatment that ensures the safety, comfort, and privacy of the client.
For a look at Florida laws and rules, please visit