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Effortless Draping for Thai Massage on the Floor

Draping for Thai massage uses a large towel or sheet to allow the client to be nude during a Thai Oil or Cupping treatment and still feel safe, warm and unexposed.

Most traditional modalities of Thai massage do not require draping as the client is fully dressed. However, some hybrids of Thai massage, like Thai oil massage, require the client to undress. 

If you visit a spa in Thailand, the practitioners are usually good for draping and modesty. You may or may not receive disposable underwear so your own doesn’t get oily, but you will be covered with towels, sheets or sarongs. 

If you visit one of the many cheaper clinics in Thailand, you will experience all levels of draping and modesty. You may be covered by a sheet and properly draped. But in many cases, you may only be covered by a small towel, which may or may not cover you throughout the session.

Most North American provinces and states have some regulatory agency that establishes the specific requirements to practice bodywork professionally and governs all massage modalities. There is no regulation of Thai massage outside of these massage laws.

In Canada, according to the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada Code of Ethics, practitioners must provide secure draping technique options to the client to facilitate the utmost sense of comfort and safety, including the option to work through a clothing or sheet barrier.

Draping For Thai Massage at Sirius Health

Draping for Thai massage abdominal work requires two towels or sheets

When you visit Sirius Health for a Thai oil or Thai cupping massage, we require you to undress to your comfort level, as we will work directly on your skin. Draping for Thai massage protects your privacy so that you feel covered, warm and comfortable.

When you arrive for your massage, instead of having you change into massage clothes, we provide you with a bathrobe to wear once you undress. After foot washing, we will take you to the treatment room and leave so you can remove the bathrobe and get between the fitted and top sheets. 

Once you tell us you are ready, we will reenter the treatment room and begin the treatment. During your massage, we will uncover the body part we are working on and then recover your body when we finish.  We will only work on one body part at a time and never under the sheets.

How to Drape for Thai Massage on the Floor

Posterior Leg

Gather the drape at the top of the thigh and the ankle.
Fold the bottom end of the drape at an angle across the opposite leg while holding the drape at the top of the thigh as a pivot point.
Use your lower hand to grab the fold of the drape and tuck it under the opposite thigh.
Fold the top section of the drape across the back, exposing the gluteal.

Anterior Leg

Gather the drape at the anterior superior iliac spine (ACIS) and the ankle.
Fold the bottom section of the drape at an angle across the opposite leg using the upper hand to hold the drape at the ASIS as a pivot point.
With the lower hand, grab the fold of the drape and tuck it under the opposite thigh.
Fold the top section of the drape across the belly, exposing the ASIS.

Breast Drape

Align the top edge of the main drape with the bottom edge of a hand towel or pillowcase.
As you pull down the main drape is pulled down, the hand towel or pillowcase becomes a breast drape and takes its place.

Anterior Pelvic Drape

After the breast drape is in place, continue to pull down the main drape until you uncover the abdominal muscles.
Align the fold of the main drape with the bottom edge of a hand towel or pillowcase.
Pull down the main drape and use the hand towel or pillowcase as the pelvic drape.
Tuck the bottom section of the pelvic drape between the legs, leaving a safe distance between the tucking hand and the genitals.

Turban Drape

Bring a bath towel over the client’s head to cover the forehead or the eyes.
Using the hand as a wedge on each side of the drape, bring the side portions around the neck and tuck them into the top of the body drape.

Gluteal Drape

Uncover the back and fold the drape down to the gluteal cleft.
Grasp the folded edge of the main drape and the bottom edge of the hand towel or pillowcase.
As you pull down the main drape to expose the gluteal, the hand towel or pillowcase replaces it.
Tuck the bottom of the gluteal drape between the legs, leaving a safe distance between the tucking hand and the genitals.
Fold the edges of the gluteal drape to create clean lines.

Four Tips for Draping for Thai Massage

1. Less Is More

The more tucks you make, the more you might make the client uncomfortable. So, think through your technique to make as few tucks as possible. And if possible, reduce each technique to one or two quick tucks. 

2. Fold, Don’t Crinkle

Crinkling takes too much time. Grab one edge of the sheet and swiftly put it into place. Here is where practice comes in handy again!

3. Don’t Underexpose

Though you might be uncomforable around sensitive areas, the iliac crest, the hip flexors, and the glutes are important areas where clients need work.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice

When you first learn to drape, you might expose too much or not enough of your client. So, find someone you are comfortable with to practice on and practice each tuck until you are confident with the technique.

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