How Much Do You Tip a Massage Therapist?

by William McCoy
Tipping your massage therapist shows your appreciation for her care.

Tipping your massage therapist shows your appreciation for her care.

Visiting a massage therapist can help you rehab from an injury or relax, but you shouldn't get so relaxed that you forget to tip. Tipping 15 to 20 percent after you've enjoyed your massage is proper etiquette, although the setting in which you enjoy your massage dictates whether or not this gratuity is necessary. If you're in doubt, contact the clinic before your appointment to ask if tipping is appropriate.

Tip 15 to 20 Percent

The Emily Post Institute, a nationally recognized authority on matters relating to etiquette, recommends that you tip 15 to 20 percent for a massage. This amount is appropriate whether you're having a massage on your own or are being treated as part of a couple's massage -- in the latter case, tip the two massage therapists individually. Factors that influence the exact amount of your tip include the massage therapist's overall demeanor, attentiveness to your needs and the length of your session. For example, if you've booked a 60-minute treatment but she gives you an extra 10 minutes, tip accordingly,

Don't Tip at Medical Clinics

Tipping your massage therapist isn't necessary in every setting. In a salon or spa, it's appropriate to tip -- just as you would tip after getting your hair styled or your nails manicured. Tipping isn't necessary when you visit a massage therapist's private practice. It's also unnecessary when you receive a treatment at a health clinic, just as you wouldn't tip a physical therapist helping you rehabilitate from an injury.

Tip With Cash

Regardless of your preferred method of payment for the massage, it's easiest to tip with cash -- and many massage therapists will appreciate this form of tip. This approach holds true in several settings, as it's quick and simple. Before your treatment, confirm the cost of the session and carry the appropriate amount of cash to give a tip between 15 and 20 percent.

Tip Around the Holidays

If you visit the same massage therapist frequently, it's appropriate to give a larger tip around the holidays, according to The Emily Post Institute. The organization recommends tipping up to the cost of one session. If you'd rather give a gift, doing so is also appropriate. Homemade items, such as baking, or a gift based on the massage therapist's interests -- which you've likely gleaned over the course of the year -- are suitable gift ideas.

About the Author

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.

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