A Tipping Conversation for Massage Therapists & Bodyworkers

A Tipping Conversation for Massage Therapists & Bodyworkers

Many massage therapists and bodyworkers see their service as healthcare practice, and tipping is not normal in most medical settings.  This creates a lot of debate whether massage therapists should accept gratuities.

To answer the question of accepting tips, ask yourself:  do you consider massage to be healthcare or service?  Most therapists will find it is both.  Massage is often provided as a personal healthcare service.  This places massage in two separate categories where tipping is accepted in service but not practiced in healthcare. So what’s a therapist to do seeing the healthcare and service industries have opposite tipping practices?

I probably would not accept tips if I worked in a medical setting where I applied bodywork on clients of my choice at my office, weekdays only, Monday through Friday, between 9 am to 5 pm during normal business hours.  But, most massage therapists do not operate within this healthcare business standard.  Most massage therapists accommodate their clients with selfless acts of service. 

The following are some questions to help determine the level of service being provided for massage appointments. The more you answer yes to these questions, the greater level of service you are likely providing:

  • Do you often work outside of regular business hours, sometimes providing appointments as late as 9 pm or later at night and most weekends, giving up valuable personal time with your friends and family to serve your customers' wishes and needs?
  • Do you accommodate last minute emergencies, making a choice to cancel your plans to care for someone else's?  Massage therapists often serve their client's needs first because they recognize that their client reciprocally pays for their plans.
  • Have you worked in temperatures or spaces that you would not find comfortable, to keep a client comfortable?
  • Have you hauled massage stones or acquired other equipment to provide better service without charging extra for it?
  • Do you provide whatever type of appointment a client wishes over the type of bodywork that you would prefer for that client?

Our massage therapy service standard usually places a client's personal wishes and directions first. That in itself is service. And it’s the service industry where tipping is normal practice. 

I personally accept tips because of the level of service that I provide for my massage appointments. One way a client cab show their appreciation for my level of service is through gratuities. Their gratuity seems like a fair exchange to compensate for the level of service that I provide when the massage is entirely facilitated at their direction.

Now ask yourself, does your massage practice lean towards healthcare or service? These questions have been provided to help inspire thoughts to create your own tipping policies.

Tipping policies are a personal decision that each therapist must make for themselves. There is no massage industry tipping standard nor should there be one. If you work for an employer, hopefully your attitude regarding tipping matches theirs.  And just know that there is no wrong or right answer about accepting tips.  This is a personal decision that must be made in a manner that aligns with your practice and best serves you.

To learn more, please register for quality, affordable, professional training at: https://ceinstitute.com/




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