Flatulence & Massage. It happens.

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Or- More room on the outside, than in!


Flatulence happens. To everyone. We have to eat to survive, right? Gas is a naturally occurring, unavoidable body function. If you’ve been a massage therapist for even a short time you’ve likely encountered a client who has passed a little gas. During the early years you might get embarrassed or feel the urge to laugh. You may even be gasping on the inside and thinking “Oh, how rude!”

Girl blushing

Image courtesy of Michal Marcol

Eventually you learn to just get over it. We “relax” people. Clients lie flat on their stomach and are encouraged to “let go.” It is perfectly natural for a little toot to pass every now and then. If someone is asleep there’s no stopping it. Just don’t even acknowledge it. If your client doesn’t bring attention to it you shouldn’t either. After all, they felt it, they know they did it. They probably couldn’t control it and are incredibly embarrassed. If they apologize and say excuse me, accept it and try not to make a big deal. Give them a little A&P lesson about the digestive system and relaxation then move right along.

Gastrointestinal problems can make it difficult for someone to hold gas in. Sometimes one a client will drop a bomb and smell really bad. That’s one reason why I love aromatherapy! If the client starts apologizing for the scent simply pull out your favorite essential oil and say something like, “That’s why we have aromatherapy! Which do you prefer, peppermint or lavender?” Make it light and don’t act like you are grossed out. Don’t let a little poot ruin a great massage.

But what if YOU have gas? Do you know how hard it is to apply more pressure while holding in a toot?! Awkward! Funny faces, changing stances and fierce, painful concentration seem funny after the fact, but in the moment it’s just awful. But it happens. Some people have gastrointestinal issues and gas cannot be avoided. There are medications available to help with the discomfort. If you know certain foods upset your stomach don’t eat them for lunch. If possible, schedule lunch with a little time for digestion. Eat frequent snacks instead of a large meal.

Obviously we should try our absolute HARDEST not to expel gas. But if one slips out? Well, if no one hears it… (kidding), just apologize and try not to make a big deal about it. Your client may be so relaxed he doesn’t hear it. Or she may be too embarrassed to ask you about it. Don’t be the rude “crop duster,” if you stink up the room, apologize. My dad’s favorite line is, “Sorry, I stepped on a frog!” Again, reach for the aromatherapy. Then move on.

Chances are it will be forgotten by the end anyway. The incident could start you both laughing, which isn’t really a bad thing. Everyone needs a good laugh session occasionally!

It’s hard when life throws a wrench into our serene set-up. I strive to have the perfect session each and every time. When something messes that up I get upset. But life happens. We are human just like our clients who are amazing, understanding people. They can handle it if they see our “human” side.

Have you ever had a funny flatulent moment? Please share with us!

Tracy Bradley is a Licensed Massage Therapist working in Paris, AR. She celebrates her 10th year in the profession this year!

Image courtesy of Michal Marcol/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  • Whitney Phipps-samaniego

    I agree, it happeneds but is natural and something everyone does from time to time. cant always control it. I try to not make a big deal about it, they are here to relax and that what happened.

    • Tracy Bradley

      Yeah, it’s natural, normal and not a big deal. But people get embarrassed anyway! I just tell them it’s not big deal.