Your Right to Bare All! Nudity in the Spa

Last week we covered the good spagoer practices that will show your appreciation to the spa and your therapist – so you’re all set when it comes to tipping. But what about the more, um, sensitive parts of spagoing? We’re referring to the delicate question of exactly how much you should let hang out in the spa. While in most other business transactions, you keep all your clothes on to enhance the experience – after all, it’d be a terrible idea to head to a restaurant in the buff, because what if you spill soup on your lap? – most spas expect very few or no clothes to be worn during treatments.

Back in February, we asked you how much skin you usually bare at the spa and got a variety of responses. Well, just in time for Spa Week, Well+Good NYC came up with a great how-to guide for stripping down in the spa. Worry no more about what to wear when!

WHAT TO WEAR DURING… (courtesy Well+Good NYC)

Body treatments
You really don’t want anything between you and your body wrap or salt scrub, unless (truly horrid) disposable panties are proffered by the spa. That’s because clothes get in the way of the head-to-toe slathering of products—e.g., you can’t pull your g-string out of your butt when your arms are pinned in a wrap, and your tush needs the scrub or wrap ingredients more than any other body part. Plus your Malia Mills suit will be forever stained by mud or seaweed.

Swedish or Deep Tissue Massage
At a bargain place, keep your kit on. At a Four Seasons, drop trou. Therapists drape you in sheets or towels so you never feel exposed or cold. The good ones generally work low back, glutes, and the attachments around the hip joint, so not wearing skivvies makes it easier for them to reach these areas.

Thai Massage
Little known fact: This is a great massage for the spa shy. Spas often play wardrobe department, lending you loose-fitting clothes to wear during this treatment, which is based on loads of yoga-style stretching—it would be impossible to keep you covered with sheet during some of these moves. If the spa doesn’t have a traditional Thai fisherman’s-style outfit for you (some do!), they’ll recommend at booking that you bring your own comfy apparel.

Facials
You strip down to your underwear, don the provided facial half robe that looks like a towel but velcros in place under your armpits, or just take it all off. Why? Your bra gets in the way of the décolleté massage, plus if you’re cosseted in white Egyptian towels and duvets, it’s way more comfortable. This rule does apply at Mimi’s or the like, where your privacy is compromised and you should cling to your garments like holy vestments.

Sauna, hot tub, communal bathing area
In a co-ed setting, wear your swimsuit—with the notable exception of northern California’s hot springs where men and women soak naked together as if it were still 1968. In a single gender environment, like the lavish women’s area at the Mandarin Oriental Spa, wear whatever makes you most comfortable. Not sure what that is? Start with a two-piece, which you can easily remove after a dip in the vitality pool and before a spell in the amethyst crystal steam room.