Ballpark Estimate: $75 to $90 an hour plus tip (more and less expensive options available)
If you’ve ever received an informal massage from a friend or a partner, then you know how great it can feel. And a professional massage can take this wonderful experience to new heights, since a massage therapist or masseuse is specially trained in this art and knows exactly where and how to touch you for the best results. When this technique is performed correctly, it also offers a host of benefits, including relieving fatigue and promoting relaxation, loosening tight muscles, helping to relieve the pain from an injury, curing insomnia and even adding a boost to your immune system.
What’s the Rub?
The practice of massage, which is also sometimes referred to as bodywork, is an ancient healing art and dates back more than 3,000 years. Today, it is used to treat a variety of chronic conditions, such as back pain, arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, infertility and depression. In addition, it’s also an effective way to lessen some of the tension and stress that can be caused by life’s every day pressures.
Generally, a basic massage consists of applying pressure to your muscular system and the surrounding soft tissue areas. Some of the typical approaches that a massage therapist may use include stroking, kneading, tapping, rocking, friction, and different forms of pressure to specific areas. In addition, some therapists may choose to use oils or lotions that will help avoid irritating the skin.
It is interesting to note that there are as many as 250 or even more different massage techniques that exist. When choosing what style to explore, a lot depends on what your goals are for your treatment and who is performing the process.
Benefits You Can Expect
A masseuse understands how stress can affect your body and your muscles. This is key, since the body and mind are so closely related. Therefore, when you undergo professional massage therapy, not only will you feel more relaxed but you may also experience a variety of health benefits. Further, massage therapy can be used as a tool to effectively address and treat specific physical ailments.
Some of the numerous benefits clients can receive from a massage include increased blood flow, lowered blood pressure, the elimination of toxins from your blood, improved athletic performance, reduced anxiety and nervous tension, improved energy and experiencing an overall relaxed state.
Massage techniques can also be used to alleviate some of the symptoms and discomforts women experience during pregnancy and also as a way to bring couples closer together during couples’ sessions.
What the Masseuse Brings to the Table
With so many different types of massages available, the range of professional massage therapists is also large. Some people work informally from their homes, while others will travel with a portable table to you. Still other therapists work in sports clinics, health clubs, chiropractors’ offices and spas. In addition, you may want a full body massage, or you may want only certain areas of your body to be touched.
When selecting a massage therapist, you will want to take into account the outcome you want and also the setting where you will feel most comfortable. In addition, many people unrobe for a massage, so the sex of the person who will be working on you may make a difference in helping you to feel more comfortable. Some people prefer to choose a therapist who is the same sex, while others very strongly prefer the opposite sex. It is a very personal, but important, choice, to find someone who meets all of the criteria that will enable you to get the most from your session.
The Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals website, which is called Massagetherapy.com, suggests that before visiting a new massage therapist, you might want to call and learn more about the person’s background, education and areas of expertise, as well as their overall wellness philosophy and find out more how their style will work with your needs and your goals.
You will also want to inquire about the person’s professional training in the field, since this is what you are paying for. You should ask the person if he or she is licensed to practice in your state, since many (but not all) states regulate the field of massage therapy. You can also find out if they belong to the American Massage Therapy Association and are nationally certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. These affiliations ensure they have met the educational requirements and credentials.
What It Costs for a Massage
How much you can expect to spend on a massage varies a great deal, depending on the length (they can vary from 30 to 90 minutes, but one hour is most typical), and the expertise and training the masseuse has undergone. In addition, the technique and setting can make a difference in the cost. Keep in mind that getting a massage done at a massage school is one of the most affordable options, since they typically offer discounted rates so the students can practice their technique, while high-end spas will charge a great deal more. In return, you can expect to work with a more experience masseuse and to be treated to a relaxing ambiance.
In addition to differences in training and setting, it is important to note that different types of massage come at different price points as well, even when offered by the same therapist. Here is a breakdown of some of the more popular massage techniques that are performed, with reasonable estimates of what you might expect to pay for each:
- Hot/Cold stone massage – $75 to $150 with an average around $85/hour
- Swedish massage – $60 to $100 with an average around $75/hour
- Shiatsu/Acupressure massage – $60 to $115 with an average around $75/hour
- Deep Tissue/Sports massage – $70 $140 with an average around $90/hour
- Chair massage – (often seen at airports and health fairs) $15 to $25 for 15 minutes
- Couples massage – (usually include soft music, candlelight and is romantically oriented) $175 and $300 with an average around $250
It is also worth mentioning that a new type of massage location is emerging: the franchise. Franchises will sign up customers in a monthly massage program that encourages return visits with lower prices. The monthly fee is about $50, which usually includes an initial hour long massage with subsequent massages around $40 each for the remainder of the month.
Thanks for the Tip!
One of the main questions clients have with a massage is how much to tip for the service. This can also vary a lot, depending on where you go. As a general rule of thumb, most private practices and health care facilities do not anticipate tipping (and some health care offices strictly forbid tipping) while resorts/spas do expect tips. The amount is up to you, but a 15 to 20 percent tip would be customary, similar to what you’d tip a server at a restaurant or a hair dresser at a salon.
Will My Insurance Cover It?
Finally, some massage techniques may be covered by your insurance provider. If you are seeking a massage for physical or health reasons, or because of a chronic condition or injury, check with your physician or osteopath to see if he or she will refer you to a qualified masseuse and then ask your insurance company if they will cover all, or at least part, of this service.