Please do not worry, do not let this week’s title fool you. I am not a one man ‘Trinny & Susannah‘ helping the nation dress well and I have no intention of lecturing one and all on sartorial elegance. I am well aware that a man who thinks proper fashion ended in nineteen fifty-nine has no place telling people what clothes they ought to buy. No. Instead of fashion tips, I would like to share a few things about what to wear, or what to expect when having health or beauty treatments. If you are visiting an osteopath or a masseur for the first time and you are even remotely concerned about what clothing is appropriate, or what the experience might entail, then this is for you my lovely.
There are a few simple points I thought I would share. An easy way to rest your mind is to do a little bit of research so the prospect is less daunting. I have had many a client turn up for reflexology who had no idea that I was going to touch their feet and they were mortified at the prospect of having someone see them without their socks on. Conversely, I have left the room to get a glass of water for a client, only to return to find them lying naked on the couch. They blushed all over when I gently informed them I only needed exposed feet. Had either of them just put the word ‘Reflexology’ into Google, they may well have come slightly more prepared. Not that us practitioners mind. We have seen all sorts, trust me. A little bit of flesh will not embarrass the person you are seeing.
Doing some research might help you, but there are other simple factors to consider. Whatever treatment you may be interested in, please think of the practitioner. Do not wear heavy scents. You might think that walking through a haze of your new Lady Gaga perfume before leaving the house is a marvellous idea, but not everyone will. Working in a small space all day inhaling strong perfumes or deodorants can bring on migraines for some people. So go easy on the smellies. Also, wear clothing that is loose and comfortable, not your Sunday best. That way you won’t mind if you get a bit of oil or cream on it. And ladies, never turn up for any type of treatment with salon-fresh hair. Your masseur, osteopath or chiropractor might want to get in there and massage your scalp. This will undoubtedly leave you walking out the door looking like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards. Not great.
If you are not sure what to expect, you can always ask in advance. And never be afraid to ask for what you would like. It is your treatment, you are paying for it. So if you want to lie there in silence, feel free. Just inform the practitioner that is your preference first, just in case they think you are being rude. And how many layers of clothes you are willing to take off is entirely your choice. I have deep tissue massage regularly for an inflamed piriformis (look it up) and in order for the masseur to work it properly, I remove my underwear at the beginning of the session. This is never a requirement, so please do not remove any article of clothing you do not feel like taking off. More often than not there will be a sign saying the removal of underwear is optional. If they insist, leave. For those of you who are slightly nervous at the thought of being naked, let me reassure you. Masseurs are taught the art of using towels to protect modesty at all times. So you are never actually naked in front of them. Once you get used to that fact, it is much easier to relax. And my personal belief is that relaxation is key to helping any treatment work more effectively.
Finally. Do not try too hard. My dear friend Emma* once told me a wonderful story about her mother. Hyacinth* had an appointment with her gynaecologist and was rather apprehensive. She asked Emma* if she had any feminine hygiene spray she could borrow. She found some in the bathroom, where Emma* said it would be and went happily on her way. On Hyancith’s* return, Emma* asked her how it went. Her mother said the spray must have worked, as her gynaecologist cheerily commented “You really didn’t need to go to that much trouble”. While undressing for bed later that evening, Hyacinth* realised that in the bathroom earlier she had found her daughter’s glitter spray, not her downstairs deodorant. A lesson to us all, no?
*All names have been changed in order to protect innocent parties from mortification.