Why is Massage Therapy So Expensive?

(update 9/9/13: Reactions I’m getting on Facebook and in the comments here suggest that I haven’t been clear.
The image is making fun of my past self and other idealistic therapists who aren’t good with money. I do not suggest people should charge $25! I had hoped my post would explain why I think that in some areas where the cost of living is high, and office space is at a premium, even $100 would not suffice to cover the cost and a living wage.
Of course the price of a service depends on value for the customer, so I tried to explain this post is not about top-notch manual therapy, it’s about an “average” relaxation massage.
And last… I do value massage therapy highly, and I know of the benefits. I will not edit the post itself, since that would make a lot of the comments look strange, but I think I should have been MUCH clearer.
Please accept my apologies.)                      

 

When I hear “massages are SO expensive!” I just agree. Of all the different ways people can take good care of themselves, getting professional massage therapy is one of the pricier options.

And don’t worry… I will not get into cliches like “you get what you pay for” or “just consider how much you spend on things that aren’t good for you!”. You’ve heard it all before. It’s boring.

Personally, I don’t think people need massages for general health and preventive care. I know that a lot of my colleagues are rolling their eyes at me, but really: I don’t even like massages. For me, massage therapy is a treatment that is sometimes necessary, especially if I haven’t taken good care of myself.

For others, getting a good massage treatment once a month is the kind of maintenance they need, maybe because they have a stressful job that requires them to travel a lot, or they have insomnia, or they just have to spend a lot of time in weird positions.

I work on dentists, surgeons and other medical professionals who often have to spend hours on their feet, leaning forward, arms hovering awkwardly. Of course those people need some work. Some work. Not hours and hours of it. I offer short sessions that are just 20 minutes long, and that usually does the trick. If they have several problem areas, or they show up after years of “pushing through”, a whole series of treatments might be best. And yes, that’s REALLY expensive.

I’m not talking about specialized treatments by manual therapists with an addiction to education. Their work is expected to be expensive.

This post is about the kind of relaxing therapy that usually is a one-hour, full-body routine.

If you wonder “How come Massage Envy charges $49, and others charge double that amount? Are they just greedy?”, then this post is for you.

First: Don’t compare the 50-minute session to a real, full hour. Yes, they do say one-hour-session.. but they only give you 50 minutes of hands-on treatment, and when the hour is up, the next person is on the table. When in doubt, ask!
You have to be honest and calculate the price per minute.

Second: You forget about tips. Independent therapists don’t expect tips, but the chain stores push you very hard to pay an extra $20. So now you’re already at $69 for the 50-minute session at Massage Envy.

Third: $49 (+tip) is a special offer. It’s only good for your very first massage, and then it’s only for members who have committed to a strict agreement.  A lot of independent therapists or businesses like ours offer memberships and package deals that lower the price per session significantly.

So let’s talk more about independent therapists, and forget about the chains. A lot of therapists dream of the day when they start working by themselves.

Massage therapist thinking of a fair price for massage therapy

 

Here are three strategies to determine whether your massage therapist is charging a fair price:

1. Look at what massage therapists in the area are charging

That’s what most of us do, and it works–we just have to be careful not to compare apples and oranges. A business run out of somebody’s house will have a much lower overhead than a professional clinic. So don’t only check the prices you see on websites–know what type of business you’re looking at.

 

2. Estimate the overhead per week, and a living wage

Just roughly… think about rent in the area, business expenses like internet, phone, computer, website, other marketing, supplies, laundry, and divide the result by 20. There are few therapists who can do more than twenty sessions per week, because the time for other tasks adds another twenty hours, and there is the time between sessions, there are cancellations, and very few therapists really get scheduled for twenty sessions per week. Ten is more realistic.
You’ll also need to factor in time and money for continuing education, which makes your massage better, but is also required in most states.

If you figure $1000 per week should cover everything and pay a living wage in that area, a price of $50 per session seems fair. It’s different if the business has administrative staff or is in a high-rent area.

Here’s what I did in my first business:

When I opened my practice for naturopathic medicine, my sessions for bodywork and acupuncture were priced based on what my friends could afford. I asked for twenty Euro to cover a half-hour session, and usually I went past the half hour. Yeah, my boundaries weren’t the greatest, and I left extra time between sessions.

My one-hour sessions were theoretically fifty Euro, but few patients booked those.

I had established a sliding scale: people with little money would get longer sessions, and many of them would pay twenty Euro for the whole hour.

Normally a sliding scale looks more like this:

“My rates are on a sliding scale between $30 and $90 per one-hour session.”

 

Why isn’t the sliding scale a third strategy?

Isn’t it the nice thing to offer? The socially responsible thing?

Unfortunately not. A sliding scale rewards our worst clients, and punishes the best ones.

People picking the lowest price are often not the neediest, but the ones who feel entitled to grab every discount. Those are the ones who assume that massages are too expensive anyway–the ones who tell my staff, “But my therapist only charges $30 per session–don’t you want to beat that price?”

Now think about the kind of people who don’t have much money, but appreciate good work and respect professionalism. They would pick a price in the middle, or maybe even higher. It still would make them feel guilty, so whenever they could, they’d tip. Often they would apologize that they really can’t afford to come in more often.

Those wonderful clients would not choose the lowest price, because they don’t want to take advantage. And they would always feel a little bad (which kind of defeats the purpose of getting therapy in the first place).

 

Here’s the third strategy:

Consider how much massage therapists really work.

How much time is spent on daily tasks like

  • Talking on the phone?
    (This time includes scheduling and question-and-answer interactions with potential clients, as well as time spent on calls to other service providers, troubleshooting, and networking.)
  • Sending and answering emails?
  • Blogging, social media and other online networking?
  • Networking in person?
  • Planning and maintaining the schedule?
  • Sessions with clients?
  • Laundry and cleaning?

And how much time is needed weekly for

  • Organizing the office?
  • Bookkeeping, invoices, insurance billing?
  • Ordering and maintaining supplies?
  • Reading business books and blogs?

Now consider monthly and yearly tasks like paying bills, taxes, continuing education, and more.

What is a fair hourly wage, for an educated professional? A lot of massage therapists have college degrees.

They have to live with very little, even if they charge $100 per massage hour.

Most massage therapists can hardly make minimum wage if we consider all the time they spend working, instead of just the time they spend with clients.

It’s almost funny when I hear clients talk to the receptionist and say things like “Oh, so she only works four days a week? And she leaves at 1pm on Wednesday? Geez. I wish I had those hours.” 

What is your experience in pricing? How much are massage therapy places in your area charging? Do you know what hotel spas and chains like Massage Envy are paying their therapists?

 

I know this is a VERY long post. But if you made it until here, I’d still love a comment.

Thank you.

 

29 thoughts on “Why is Massage Therapy So Expensive?

  1. I have to disagree on some of the information above. I have only been in practice for about 1-1/2 years and my massage practice is extremely profitable. I charge $60/hr and generally average between 20-28 clients/week and make about $1200-1700/week. Some weeks are a little less (a bad week being 17-18 clients) but for the most part I stay very busy. I do not spend very much time at all doing paperwork, filing, networking, or blogging (I don’t even have a website). All I do is advertise in the paper once every 2-6 weeks depending on client flow and I’m booked up. I would say on average I might spend 2-3hrs a week doing “paperwork/random office related work” and most of that is completed between clients. I’m usually only in the office a maximum of 35 hrs a week. I am very curious to hear other therapists experience. Is my level success really that unusual?

    • Congratulations, Crystal! All the best for your continued success. Your situation is indeed the exception rather than the rule. Enjoy it, and may it thrive. :)

      Let me make a few guesses about your business. You don’t bill out insurance, so most of your clientele are probably people who simply enjoy massage on a regular basis and have found a good match with your style and chemistry. You advertise in the paper rather than on the web. This implies a smaller, possibly more rural, community; or a very insular urban or suburban community. Your clients are likely Gen-X or older (assumption based on paper vs. web), with a strong sense of loyalty and of taking care of the people you know personally. They will prefer seeing the same therapist who knows them and knows their problems rather than the next available kid at a national chain spa. They are willing and able to pay a little extra for that personalized attention. However, they are not so old as to be home-bound, as you specify an office rather than a mobile business doing in-home sessions.

      So you landed in an ideal situation of having an excellent and well-received skill set in a tightly knit community that likes to support their people rather than an anonymous CEO in some other city or state.

    • What about laundry? I spend so much time on laundry and cleaning. What about continuing education? I am constantly reading or watching Youtube videos, making notes, etc on massage techniques and modalities. There are so many, you can never know enough, I also like to be different than the majority of my competition. I schedule 30 min between each client and it is barely enough to collect money and tidy up the room and prep and return a call, possibly two. Even listening to voicemails is time consuming. I think if you add up the above, you will be over 40 hours. I also count commuting as work. BTW, I see about 20 – 25 clients a week.

  2. Crystal, thanks so much! I need people to disagree, so I can learn.
    It sounds like you found the kind of career we all dream of.
    Congratulations!
    Where do you work? How are licensing and zoning laws in your area? How about continuing education requirements?
    How do you organize your schedule? How do you avoid spending a lot of time on the phone?
    I’d love to hear more from you–your perspective can show us another way.

    And what kind of ads do you have in the paper? If you can easily start and stop, are they just small classified ads? What age group is your clientele?

    I know I’m asking too many questions, but I found your comment very exciting because yes, it is MUCH different from what I hear elsewhere.

    I’m managing a group on LinkedIn for massage therapists and bodyworker with 10K members, and your business success is amazing. Most of our colleagues have to be in business for more than ten years to get where you are.

    • I work in FL in more of a retirement city/community so my clients are generally retired (55+ years old) and even though I am self employed they usually still tip. They don’t all tip, and I never expect them to, but I am always grateful when they do. As far as continuing education goes its just the standard 24hrs/renewal. Generally MWF I schedule 6 clients each day (3 with 15 mins between each session, then 1-1/2hrs for lunch, then 3 more with 15 mins between each). Then on T and Th I will schedule 4-5 clients back to back with 15 mins between each one. I rent a room from a chiropractor and included in my rent I have use of his receptionist for greeting my clients and giving them my paperwork to fill out. As far as spending time on the phone, I have some days that I get 0-5 phone calls and others where I get 10+. I usually just try to return phone calls between clients and then a couple on my lunch break or after I finish my day. I use my cell for scheduling clients so I can schedule them any day/time so I don’t have a bunch of calls to return after I have been gone all weekend or something (I only work M-F). I don’t really do too much of a phone interview with ppl, it’s more so them just calling and saying they want to schedule a massage and we might briefly talk about what they are looking for and then schedule the session if they are a new client. And if they are a returning client we just quickly schedule when they want to come in so the phone calls are never that lengthy. The ad I run is just a single 2″x3″ ad in the local paper. It runs for 1 day and just has a small headshot pic of myself, lists the types of massage I offer, and lists a “New Client Discount – $40 1-Hour Massage for 1st Visit”. I have found that many people hate spending $60 for a massage if they are unsure if they will even like it. So I do $40 for their 1st session and then if they like me it’s $60 for any additional session after that. I also have a large number of repeat clients that schedule every week, 2 weeks or a month. During the winter is my busiest season where I generally work on 26-28 clients a week and during the summer it slows down a little where I work on usually 20-25 clients a week. Every once in awhile I have slower weeks in the upper teens but for the most part it’s 20+/week. I also do not have that many cancellations. Maybe only a few per month and most of them reschedule for the following week. I am hoping that there are other therapists out there like me and that this isn’t just location based success since I am actually thinking about moving out of Florida to NC. I am a little concerned that if I moved I would become a struggling therapist as you have depicted.

  3. Lu, you value counter opinion, so I’ll offer one. There is no correct price based on cost. Cost (overhead, time, material expenses) should be an awareness in any business, but they have nothing to do with Price. Price is a reflection of the VALUE offered to a customer. And note, this is actually the customer’s decision. It is their perception of your value. A studio like Balance, that offers a differentiated service that includes yoga-savvy bodyworkers, Rolfing, etc. offers a higher value to their clients than does a typical massage therapist, and they should charge more than the “average rates in the area”. I did not gulp paying $120 per session for rolfing the first time I had it, and not the 2nd time with Balance massage. It’s that valuable to me.

  4. This is a great blog post Lu even though I don’t agree with everything.
    I was quite surprised but really happy to read “Personally, I don’t think people need massages for general health and preventive care. I know that a lot of my colleagues are rolling their eyes at me, but really: I don’t even like massages. For me, massage therapy is a treatment that is sometimes necessary, especially if I haven’t taken good care of myself.”
    I thought “this is so spot on” and couldn’t wait to read more.
    Unfortunately, I don’t think you trumped that quote in the rest of the post and I was left wondering and scratching my head when I read your figures for how many massages the average therapist does in a week. I know many therapist struggle to build a career and thriving business, but to suggest that only an exceptional few do over 20 massages a week and for most it’s more like 10. I actually had to re-read that paragraph to make sure I hadn’t read it incorrectly.
    I’m based in the UK, but I don’t think business here for a massage therapist is too much different from the USA. If I was only averaging 10 massages a week, I would seriously be considering what I was doing wrong and if I should change career.
    I run a busy city centre practice and although not fully booked out every week still average 25-30 massages per week. If my numbers fall below 20, I’m straight onto extra marketing, promotions and my website SEO to pull the numbers back up. I know many local therapists and some also have similar figures. Those that don’t are aiming and building towards those numbers.
    I also found it strange that you suggested therapist do at least 20 hours extra work each week. Not only do I have my own practice, I also run a small (3 room) clinic and still don’t do that amount of paperwork or administration. And, I would point out I do the laundry myself!
    Saying all that, I think it’s a great post with loads of useful info. I would just say, please don’t lower therapists expectations down to 10 massages a week, we can all do better than that!

  5. Interesting post. I DO enjoy massage on a very routine basis, even when something is not wrong (am lucky that I am able to access this for free). It seems to me that my clients are nearly always willing to happily pay more when something is actually dysfunctional with their bodies than when they are viewing massage as a “luxury” in the same category with their hair and nails. Those who are seeking therapeutic effort for their frozen shoulder, bulging disc pain, plantar fasciitis or whatever are usually of the mind that whatever is being charged is “worth it” if it works. And I think that’s why the 20-minute treatments are successful. They are working for this spot-on problem. This is old (2007), but as you can see, prices in Florida haven’t really changed all that much and I am guessing not a lot about anything in the survey has changed too much except the sheer number of people practicing in Florida. (I hope that link works.)

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CE4QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.doh.state.fl.us%2Fmqa%2Fmassage%2Finfo_surveyresults.pdf&ei=es0tUqnpNoT49gTs6oCYAw&usg=AFQjCNHMyUBKg-eaJWANx6WMtIJwKE1fxg&sig2=3JTNysIscrVy1J9Hpmr3-Q&bvm=bv.51773540,d.eWU

  6. I think that many people need a reality check about massage being expensive. In the 1960s when massage began its “renaissance” $60.00 was a fairly common price. This was based on the fact that physical therapy which billed in quarter-hour increments was $15.00 per unit. There are not many things in life that can still be purchased at or near the same price we paid 50+ years ago! Most other professionals have seen substantial increases in income over those 50+ years while many massage therapists incomes have not seen the same increases.

  7. Interesting discussion. Personally, I pay $100 a session and see my therapist 2 times a month and have for more than 15 years. I do not make a lot of money and I have only been to a spa therapist 1 time about 16 years ago. I have no major injuries or illnesses. But I find that massage has many health benefits for me and when I have cut back in the past I recognized it. Massage is one component to healthy living for me that includes, diet, exercise, enzyme therapy , medication and personal growth classes. From that I have not been to a “regular” doctor in 10 years at least. I don’t remember the last time I went in fact. If I do get sick, I am well within 24 hours usually. I don’t remember a time in the past 15 years that my kids or I where sick longer than 2 days. Obviously, health is very important to me and I make it a priority but in that massage is a vital component.

    • Thanks so much, Tiffany! Great feedback. It’s always interesting when people ask me about our “target demographic” at Balance Orlando. There are people with high income, sure, who just want to do the best for their health and well-being. But we also have clients who don’t have health insurance and see us before they spend the money to see a doctor. And then there are people like you, probably somewhere in the middle, who are just REALLY smart about prevention.

  8. Some areas of this post are great things to think about. There are several other topics I disagree with because my experience has been much different. I also want to note that just because those who complete school/training in Massage Therapy doesn’t mean they will be good at Massage Therapy. Same goes for any profession; not all doctoral grads become doctors, etc. Even if someone does become a doctor, it also doesn’t mean they will be a good/great/exceptional successful doctor. There is much more to MT than just human anatomy knowledge, even at a clinical level. Every client is different. As every massage therapist is different. So if you’re a therapist who has a more “in/out” style sessions (20min), then you will only attracted those types of people. Which this post mentioned. Not everyone wants that, or they do and want more, or an integrated style session. If you limit your tool box then you will be limiting your clientele (not a bad thing, just a fact). Simple as that. We all manifest what we want, by our thoughts that are repeated in belief. I also believe that educating your clients is huge! Just by having things explained to them about their body, it gives them better tools to take care of themselves outside of a session. It will give them a feeling of gratitude and great appreciation knowing that they paid for something they gained more from. Not just a hands on session. With clients educated, that will spread the word among their friends and family as a positive thing giving this profession a higher standard or than massage therapy is to just relax, rather than something they keep to themselves or just say, “yeah it was good” and that was it. They will have knowledge to share, who doesn’t like that-especially when they paid for it?

    Pricing is tricky. Going off what I was saying about “not everyone will be come a successful MT”, pricing will apply here too. There are a lot of fantastic massage therapist and there are ones who are not. That alone will stand true to the pricing. If someone charges $100 for a session and clients only feel they got a $50 session. Then that will stay with them. They will tell others, “yeah I saw this MT, had a session-it was $100 but didn’t feel like it.” That MT will not be successful, period. But if the MT is honest about their work, quality, etc. and charge an honest price for their quality/style/modality/tool box of work-they then will be successful. Call it target marketing or target demographics or self manifestation. The end goal is the same, the outcome is that which you pull into your life.

    I do apologize if it sound like I’m bashing. I am not intending to.. so if I did, I’m sorry. I’m simply sharing my personal experience and knowledge. I like to share what is true by experience. Reading this post I sense frustrations, big desires but can’t get there and some annoyance. It’s great the net allows us to talk about such things. I am a MT myself, I charge $100/hr. I see about 3-6 clients a day (m-f) depending how much I want to work in my private practice. I also have clients I have been seeing for years, who say the same thing Tiffany mentioned. There are major benefits. If I go on vaca, and my clients miss their session(s), after having them for a period of time, they feel the changes in their bodies and health. I myself get a session one time each week. (4 a month). I know and feel the difference, it makes a difference (granted you find a therapist that’s your fit). I’ll stop the expressing before this gets longer. Thank you for posting this and for reading my response. I wish all MT the best with their practice. Love and Light!

  9. Hi Trevor, does insurance pay for massage therapy in the UK? I’ve noticed that in countries and states where insurance pays that therapists have it much easier.
    Florida seems to be particularly bad, especially in areas like Orlando that are highly competitive.

  10. Hi Les, thanks so much for your comment.
    I’m always happy about feedback, and I know there are a lot of problems with this post. I should have just edited it more to get my points across clearly.
    I just had somebody tell me “It’s like you squished three posts together into one.”. She’s right. But once it became clear that I shouldn’t have published it, I already had received comments, and I didn’t want to delete the comments.. so I just made it an open discussion instead.

    I’m charging $125 for my sessions, they’re an hour, and $175 for 90 minutes.

    In some cases I do short treatments, those are the 20 minute ones.

    I don’t have problems staying booked, but I’m a completely different case compared to most massage therapists I know.

  11. Not everyone needs a massage? Your post is filled with so much negativity, and down playing it is no wonder why you probably are fighting to stay alive. I work in Los Angeles, and have been working for myself for the past five years. I attended a very good school, The Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. One of their foundations is you can charge what you think you are worth, or you can charge what you think you aren’t worth. I am wondering why massage therapists are always having a sale or reducing their prices. I raise mine every year, and it’s not luck, it’s and energetic flow I have created. I now charge 120 per hour for Myotherapy 7 Step Release Method Massage. I usually see 4-5 clients per day, and I never discount. I never have sales, or promotions.. why should I? my brother who is a lawyer never has a sale, my father who was a physician never gave anyone a discount on surgery. I am so tired of everyone expecting to lower themselves to Massage Envy rates and barely even able to pay rent. its disgusting.. Massage therapy is probably the thing that feels the best to most people in the world right? ask anyone and I bet you they would say “God Id love a massage right now” of course a lot of them would want it free of charge..” you know why? because LMTs no longer value themselves. they are willing to work at massage envy for 12 an hour.. its sick.. but if that is what you think you are worth.. that is exactly what the universe will give you.. ask and you shall receive…. of course it does take time to get to a certain level, and it helps if you are in great shape, take care of yourself and look the part.. no one, and i have to mean. but no one wants to get massaged by someone who is out of shape, who eats food in their treatment room (i have heard stories about that one) and women, trim your nails and knock off the showering yourself in essential oils.. most clients prefer unscented lotions and fragrance free rooms.. in my opinion… esp. male clients.. I am also a licensed esthetician which is great because I also offer facial treatments and chemical peels that actually do something for the skin.. no fluff.. anyway… I think the entire industry needs an overhaul, and i really wish therapists would boycott Massage Envy, it has cheapened the practice.

    • I love this post. Your father’s a doctor and your brother’s a lawyer and you’re a licensed esthetician of the healing arts with an energetic flow.

      If we could harness the disappointment at your family’s dining room table, we could power Austin for a month.

      • Wow Adam, that was rude. What makes being a massage therapist a disappointment in ones family as a career choice? My father was a police officer, my brother is an extremely well paid software engineer and I am a very successful self employed massage therapist (I see 5-6 clients per day on average after being in practice for 1-1/2 years) and my family is extremely proud of me and my brother hopes to be self employed like I am one day. Choosing to be an LMT should NEVER be a disappointment as a career choice.

  12. This last comment is almost humorous. Fighting to stay alive??

    Not me.

    Negative?

    Not me.

    I don’t want to get into all the same things I’ve said before… but I will say:
    I’m very sorry that this post was so hard to understand.
    It’s my fault.

  13. Oh, I don’t know… I have 15 yrs as an LMT under my belt, 2 B.S. degrees, live on an exclusive resort island, and charge $100/hr (the least expensive for “deep tissue” where I am). I agree with this post for the most part… okay pretty much all of it. I also work 7 days/week in season, 50-60 sessions/week, for 12-16 weeks out of the year (I used to do more, but I’m getting on in years). Point being, my time is valuable and my prime earning years are numbered. Massage therapy in my career and I will retire from my career when that time comes. I have become a fixer for when people are not properly functioning and I accept that; they pay me for my skills. My skills are clinical and while I encourage people to see me regularly for maintenance, they majority of my clients seek me out after they are out of whack. So be it. So pay me. I’m worth it.

  14. Wow, the replies to this post bring one thing home to me: We understand what we expect. Not necessarily what has been written down. It’s probably easier for me, because I know Lu so well, but I read the core message as “A MT’s time is valuable and 100 $ per hour is not overcharging.” I agree about pricing with Curtis. And one last thing: Go Adam!

  15. I am a professional ballet dancer. I make minimum wage with no benefits for only part of the year from my company. The rest of the year I am waiting tables or whatever crappy seasonal work I can find.

    To get to where I am today required a lifetime of training…I have been “in school” for this job since I was 3. And no my parents did not have money, I have done various things as a kid and teenager, such as do janitorial work or help teach lower level classes so that I could take classes at a reduced rate.

    My job is very very hard on my body. I could really benefit from regular therapeutic massage but I cannot afford to pay someone 6x what I make an hour. It makes me sick that a profession with an average of 619 hours of training (cite: AMTA) can go on about being undervalued. If we add up how many hours I have been dancing throughout my life, it comes out above 50,000. There are many people like me whose hard work is much more grossly undervalued than your ability to press on someone’s back for an hour.

    You can go on about your training and licensing, but I have shelled out a few times for a professional deep tissue or trigger point massage when my pain got really bad (ballerinas are always in pain, so when I say bad I mean excruciating). And guess what? It was good, but really anyone with a brain and a little determination can do it. Me and my roommate (dancer also in the company) figured out we could replicate it ourselves for free. We picked up a trigger point therapy book and practiced on each other. After a month or two, I can get a better massage from my roommate than the snotty professional down the street. IT REALLY IS NOT THAT HARD. It is so ridiculous that you guys compare yourselves to doctors and lawyers just because you have to learn some basic anatomy, pressure techniques, and a few concepts like referred pain.

    If we’re going to compare training time and level of difficulty, I can do things with my body that 99.9% can’t even fathom (go attempt to do a quad pirouette in pointe shoes…in fact I’ll give you five years to attempt that…you still won’t be able to do it)…and yet I’ve never had the audacity to say that I should be paid like a surgeon.

    Your profession is overvalued, partially due to licensing restrictions that means anyone with the same skill as you–but not a pretty piece of paper to show for it–will be arrested for giving massages at a more realistic price. Enjoy it while it lasts.

    • Hi Kara!
      Actually, I agree with a lot what you say. In Germany, where I’m from, there is no massage license requirement, and everybody can decide to charge for massage services. Because, like you say, it’s not rocket science. Massage therapists who want to be reimbursed by insurance companies, on the other hand, have to have education that’s similar to PTs here in the US.

      Of course the therapists who get only 620 hours of school get out of there knowing less than you and your colleagues. I’m sure you can give much better massages than most of them! That’s why a lot of us get more and more education after being licensed.
      I’m not even a “real massage therapist”–I’m a physician in Germany, and of course all I know informs my treatments here, so I try to teach people what they need to know so they don’t have to pay for so many treatments.

      Regarding minimum wage: I was just trying to make the point that a lot of therapists never make more than that, either. Of course, for the client it looks as if they do… but if you count all the hours that are spent not seeing clients, and the kind of overhead a business requires, there is not much left over.

      Most massage therapists have other jobs, as well.

      It’s a very difficult industry to make a living in.

      I’m sorry my post is so confusing. It’s just too long.

      I know how much dancers suffer, I know you’re in constant pain. I actually work with several ballet dancers and dance teachers.
      What you and your roommate are doing is exactly what I often suggest to them. I like to show them how they can work on each other in free consultations.

      Best of success for your career!

      Friendly regards

      Lu

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