How much to tip massage therapist?

When it comes to tipping, some people find it difficult to determine the amount they should give. However, they still want to know the right etiquette for a massage therapist.

The etiquette varies depending on the type of service you receive and where it is performed. For example, it is less appropriate to tip if the massage is conducted in a medical setting.

Paying with cash

If you choose to tip your massage therapist with cash, make sure to bring the right amount of money. You may want to leave a small amount to cover the cost of the massage or pay a larger amount to express your appreciation for a particularly good session.

In the United States, it’s common to tip a massage therapist when you receive treatment from a professional. These people often work privately, at spas or as part of medical facilities. They often aren’t getting all of the money you pay for a treatment, so tips can make a difference to how much they bring home at the end of the day.

Many therapists accept tips, and some places have tipping envelopes at the cash register. If they don’t, you can discreetly hand them cash at the end of the treatment.

There are also places that don’t formally accept tips, but they still prefer it when you do. These include some hotels and resorts, which have “all-inclusive” policies that don’t require you to tip service workers like a massage therapist. In these cases, it’s customary to tip $5 to $10, says Rose.

Another place that doesn’t formally accept tips is some all-inclusive spas, where the gratuity is already included in the price of your treatment or automatically added to your final bill. It’s best to always check the bill for any tips, says Schweitzer.

If your health insurance policy covers therapeutic massage, you can ask your therapist to file a claim for reimbursement, if necessary. This will allow you to avoid paying out-of-pocket expenses, which can add up over time.

You can also save on massage therapy by enrolling in a health savings account (HSA), which lets you set aside pre-tax money for health and medical costs. Some employers also offer flexible spending accounts (FSAs), which let you put pre-tax money into your account to use for certain types of medical expenses, including wellness expenses, such as therapeutic massage.

If your employer doesn’t offer an HSA or FSA, you can still save on your massage therapy sessions by using a coupon. These can be found on the Internet or printed at your local pharmacy, grocery store, or other retailer.


When you tip your massage therapist, it’s a simple way to show that you appreciate their services. It’s also a way to thank them for going above and beyond, as it shows that you value their expertise and skills.

Typically, a tip of 15-20% of the total cost of the service is recommended. However, the amount you tip will depend on a number of factors, including your experience and the type of massage you receive.

You should tip your therapist even if you paid through a discount, such as a gift certificate or coupon. The therapist should still be expected to give you the same level of service that they would if you had paid for it at full price, according to tipster and massage instructor Jessica Sokolosky.

She recommends giving your therapist $20 for every $100 you spend on a massage. You can also add in a small amount for other special occasions, such as holidays or if you’ve been getting regular treatments with the same therapist.

Another good idea is to pay cash instead of using a credit card, which makes it easier for the therapist to get their tips immediately. Plus, you’ll save on the processing fees that credit cards charge.

Many spas, salons and resorts have envelopes where you can put your cash tip. Simply write your therapist’s name on the front and include a note that it was from you.

If your therapist doesn’t have an envelope, you can always write their name on the receipt and slip it in their pocket or in their robe, says Michelle Schweitzer, owner of The Swann School of Protocol in Carlsbad, California. This can be an especially nice gesture if your therapist is very well-liked or you have been getting massages regularly with them.

If you feel like you are not able to tip enough, consider skipping it. That way, you won’t leave your therapist with a negative feeling and they will be more motivated to provide better service next time. Or, you can give a small, personal gift, such as a book or a thank-you note.

Credit cards

A credit card is a type of loan that allows you to borrow money and use it as you need it. It’s a good way to pay for things you might not otherwise be able to afford, but it should be used wisely to help you avoid long-term credit card debt.

If you’re using a credit card to tip a massage therapist, it’s best to use a cash payment instead. That way, your therapist doesn’t have to wait for your tip to be added to their paycheck and then cashed out, which means they can spend the money right away.

Some spas allow you to tip your therapist directly with your credit card, but it’s best not to do this, says Lizbeth Romo, a licensed massage therapist at Massage Envy in Phoenix. The problem with that is that your tip could end up being paid to the credit card company, which means they might take a chunk out of it for processing fees and taxes.

Another option is to pay for your massage with a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA). HSAs and FSAs are tax-advantaged accounts that allow you to save money pre-tax for qualified expenses like medical treatments, including massage therapy.

A health insurance plan might also offer coverage for massage therapy. Ask your health insurance company for details about massage as a covered treatment and whether or not it will be included in your policy.

You can also pay for your massage with a gift certificate, coupon, Groupon, or discount voucher. However, you should still tip based on the original price of the service, not the discounted rate.

In fact, it’s a good idea to use the whole value of the voucher or certificate, because that will ensure that you are tipping the full amount on the total cost of your treatment.

Some therapists offer a sliding scale for tips, so you can always tip a bit more if you feel that your experience was especially great. If you can’t afford to tip on a regular basis, consider leaving a small, personal gift. Those are often less expensive than a full tip, says Elaine Swann, founder of the Swann School of Protocol, based in Carlsbad, California.


One of the best ways to drive new massage clients is by using referrals. This is an easy, free and effective way to increase your clientele list. It’s a great marketing tool that also helps to boost your reputation in your community and raise your brand awareness.

To get started with a referral program, start by designing a simple referral card. This can be the size of a business card or gift certificate and will highlight your offer to new clients. It should include your location, contact information and a space for existing clients to write in their names.

You can then print 250-500 cards on high-quality paper and distribute them to your existing clients. This will help to remind them about your referral program and provide you with a chance to track who is making the most referrals and earning rewards!

Another great way to get the word out about your clinic is by offering a referral discount or coupon. This is an inexpensive and effective marketing tool that can boost your clientele list and help to elevate your reputation in your community.

A good referral program can be the difference between growing your clinic or not, especially if you are struggling with attracting new patients. This is because people will often ask around for referrals from friends or family members.

If you have existing clients that are satisfied with your service, ask them to refer their family and friends to you for a massage. You can also send a thank you email to each of them after they have sent in their referrals. This will help to strengthen the relationship and make it easier to maintain a consistent flow of referrals to your clinic.

For many massage therapists, tips are necessary in order to cover their costs and pay for their personal expenses. This is why it’s important to tip your therapist according to their standard rate (about 20 percent).

In addition to a massage therapist’s rate, some spas also charge an extra fee for services performed by an esthetician. In these situations, a spa’s management may include a tip in the bill, so it’s usually not necessary to tip the therapist separately.



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