Awkward Moments from the Massage Table

Thursday, February 10, 2022, 12:10 PM

Why Drooling, Snoring, and Growling Stomachs Are Nothing to be Embarrassed About

Many of us have had what feels like an embarrassing moment during a holistic health treatment. From a growling stomach to snoring on the table, massage therapists and other holistic health practitioners have heard and seen it all! 

Whether you are new to holistic health care or a regular client, these "embarrassing" moments can happen to anyone.

We spoke with our members and Candace Pichonsky, Practice Competency Manager at the NHPC, to discover commonly asked questions from clients, and how to break free of these common myths and misconceptions.

I forgot to shave

"Sorry, I didn't shave my legs/underarms!" says a flustered client.

"Let's skip legs today because I didn't shave," says another.

Don't worry. Practitioners do not expect you to apologize for the natural state of your body.

My stomach won't stop growling or gurgling

In many holistic health treatments, you are in a position to rest and digest. In many cases, a gurgling stomach simply confirms that you are truly relaxed.

A noisy stomach is a normal bodily function and is nothing to be embarrassed about.

I'm on my period, or I just gave birth

If you are worried about your period or have just given birth and are breastfeeding, we encourage you to let your practitioner know so they can help you feel comfortable.

Choose the level of undress that you're most comfortable with or simply ask for an extra layer of towels.

If you're breastfeeding, you may prefer to stay on your back during treatment or use a pregnancy bolster to avoid discomfort.

Many practitioners use heating pads or a table warmer, which can help with cramps or other period pains.

Further, Candace assures that you should not feel embarrassed speaking about these topics with a male therapist. "They have been trained in all aspects of the body's physiology," she explains.

I broke wind during treatment!

Yes — this happens.

In a state of relaxation, your parasympathetic nervous system goes to work. This causes a completely normal shift in your body and gastrointestinal tract, allowing gas to move around more readily.

Don't worry; practitioners understand it happens. Simply excuse yourself and carry on.

Should I talk during treatment?

Unsure if you should talk with your therapist during your treatment? Your practitioner will take your lead.

Some clients feel most comfortable to talk a bit before they relax, while others doze off right away. "We've experienced it all, and it's all fine," Candace says.

While it may feel awkward for some to remain quiet during treatment, it is not unusual to embrace the silence to truly relax into your treatment.

I had an involuntary erection

A common worry from male clients is that they will experience an involuntary erection during treatment.

Massage therapists are educated in the body's physiology, and they understand that this can happen. If you're comfortable, address it by asking for additional draping or requesting to lay on your stomach instead of your back.

Your therapist can tell if you are well-intentioned, so don't be embarrassed about this sometimes-uncontrollable bodily reaction.

I can't stop giggling

Ticklish? Many people are, especially on the feet. Feel free to tell your practitioner to avoid a certain area or go ahead and giggle if you need to.

I dozed off during treatment

You are truly at rest if you are falling asleep during treatment! Your practitioner will continue to work out any knots and stress in your muscles while you take this time to rest.

Don't look at my feet!

Feet are a "touchy" topic — pardon the pun! While showering before your treatment is a courtesy, you don't need to go running to the nail salon. Your practitioner doesn't care how pretty your toenails are!

So, what does my massage therapist actually care about?

Remember, your practitioner is a professional. During a treatment, your therapist is focused on:

  • the way your body reacts to treatment
  • maintaining open communication with you
  • meeting your health goals


NHPC practitioners are committed to their profession and treat clients with respect, dignity, and compassion at all times.

As a client, your role is to relax and to give your therapist honest, frequent feedback, including any concerns you have.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that bodily functions are natural and human, and they are nothing to be embarrassed about.

Have more questions? Send our practice management team an email at

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