How to Do a Sugar Scrub on a Massage Table

by Ramona French ; Updated September 28, 2017

Supplies and table set-up for a sugar scrub.

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A sugar scrub is an exfoliating procedure, offered as a body treatment in spas. It smooths your skin, removes the outer, dead layers of skin cells revealing younger healthier cells underneath. You can use any kind of sugar, including ordinary table sugar, brown sugar, muscovado sugar, date sugar or a combination of sugars. Sugar is combined with a liquid which can be water, an herbal tea or massage oil to dampen the crystals.

Cover the massage table with a flat cotton sheet. Top that with a plastic sheet and cover the plastic with a fitted sheet and a top sheet. Have a bolster handy, and two bath towels.

Wet with hot water and wring out the washcloths and four hand towels. Roll them up and put them in the hot towel cabinet. If you don't have a hot towel cabinet, roll up the dry washcloths and hand towels and arrange them in a basin. Have enough hot water to cover the cloths and towels on hand.

Ask the client to lie down on the massage table, face down, under the top sheet. Place a bolster under the client's ankles. Place a bath towel over the client's back and legs and remove the top sheet. Put it aside for later.

Mix 1/2 cup of sugar with sufficient warm -- not hot -- liquid to make a slurry of sugar that you can squeeze into lumps. Uncover the client's back and use about 1/3 of the damp sugar to lightly scrub the back in large circles. Add more oil or water if the mixture seems too dry.

Uncover one leg, up to the waist. Gently scrub with another third of the damp sugar. Uncover the other leg and scrub it also. By now, the towel is only covering the center of the buttocks and between the legs.

Use hot damp washcloths to remove the sugar from the back and the legs. If you mixed the sugar with shower gel and a little water, it may take more effort to remove. Use a damp hot hand towel to remove the last traces of the sugar mixture. Cover your client with the towel, brush any loose sugar off the sheet and assist your client to turn over.

Cover the breast area with a dry hand towel and pull the towel down to cover the abdomen and legs. Mix 2/3 cup of sugar with liquid to make it damp enough to squeeze into lumps. Scrub the arms, abdomen and legs one at a time.

Remove the sugar mixture from the front of the body, using the hot washcloths and hand towels. As the client to sit up, holding on to the towel in front. Roll the fitted sheet and plastic sheet as far as you can under your client's hips. Ask the client to lie down. Pull the plastic sheet and fitted sheet completely off the table. Place the top sheet over the client and remove the bath towel and hand towel. Brush any sugar crystals off the clean sheets.

Apply a layer of massage oil or massage lotion over your client's skin, front and back, to prevent dryness and itching.


  • Don't add so much liquid that you dissolve the sugar. A coarse sugar like muscovado or brown sugar doesn't melt as fast as fine table sugar and gives a better scrub. Add a teaspoonful of ground herbs or spices to the mix for more texture. Add two to four drops of essential oil to the sugar when you mix it for a natural fragrance. Soothing music and a quiet room add to the overall ambiance and your client will enjoy them.

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About the Author

Ramona French owned a massage school and taught massage for 28 years. In that time she wrote textbooks on Swedish, acupressure, deep tissue and lymph drainage massage. She is the author of "Introduction to Lymph Drainage Massage" and "Milady's Guide to Lymph Drainage Massage." Her book, "The Complete Guide to Lymph Drainage Massage," published by Milady, was released in October 2011.