What Percent Do You Tip Your Massage Therapist

massage therapy

After a relaxing hour or two, it comes time to leave your message, and you suddenly realize that you are unsure of how much to tip your therapist. You were prepared to pay for the massage, but what about the tip? What is the right amount, and should you do it for all massages?


Tipping can feel complicated for those who are not used to doing it, and if this is your first massage, then you may be at a loss entirely. Fortunately, it is not as complicated as it may feel, so here is a quick guide.

Why Should You Tip?

Despite the price you may pay for your massage, your therapist is not getting all of it. Most therapists are paid an hourly wage which, contrary to the often high costs of a massage, is usually not that high. In some cases, massage therapists may double or even triple their hourly income through tips.


Tipping is the best way to show your therapist that you appreciate their work. It’s a way to say thank you for their work. As a labor-intensive job, therapists appreciate the extra recognition for their services and will be even more eager to accommodate you the next time you come by for a massage.


Also, consider how an effective massage can help you feel great for weeks. For some people, it might even mean that they do not have to bear with significant pain for a few weeks, allowing them to have a better quality of life. Whether it is your professional, social or personal life, an overall sense of wellness will definitely benefit you. In view of that, you should see tipping as a way of honoring and appreciating your massage therapist whose work is so integral to your health.

What Percent Should You Tip?

According to experts we spoke to, you should tip between 15% and 20%. 20% is a generous amount, but it is also much easier math which is why most people choose to go this route when tipping.


For a 20% tip, all you need to do is figure out what 10% of the massage cost is and double it. It is easy math, and your massage therapist will appreciate the extra cash.


You can also ask yourself some questions to guide you along. Think about how much effort your therapist put in and how much your wellness is worth to you. Ask yourself how good you feel and how much of a tip you think that is worth.

Does Tipping Apply to All Massage Therapists?

At spas and resorts, the massage you receive will typically be for relaxation. For these types of massages, you should anticipate tipping your therapist. 


If you get a medicinal massage, however, then tipping generally is not expected. Just like you would not tip your doctor, your therapist in these therapeutic settings would not expect me. Massages that take place in chiropractic clinics, physical therapy centers, and wellness facilities will typically follow this same expectation. In general, you do not need to tip if the massage is for medical or therapeutic reasons.

What To Do If You Are Unhappy With Your Massage?

In some cases, you may not be happy with your massage. Whether the pressure was too much or too little or the therapist acted unprofessionally, there are several reasons why you might walk away from your massage disappointed.


It can be tempting not to tip if you’re unhappy, but this is not the best practice. Unless your therapist was truly terrible and you did not feel like they were a professional at all, you should still tip.


If you are unhappy, you can always choose to tip only 15%. You should also let your therapist know what you did or did not like and how you would like the massage to go the next time. Sometimes, the therapist was just learning a new technique and had not quite mastered it yet. Other times, the therapist may have been unaware of what you were expecting.


Ultimately, it is up to your own discretion. If the therapist was unprofessionally late or extremely rude, you can always make your own decision as to whether you want to tip them.

Is It Alright If You Cannot Afford to Tip?

We get it: Sometimes, a massage is a splurge and not something you can otherwise afford. Paying an additional 15% to 20% may just not be in the cards for some people, especially if the massage costs upwards of $150.


If you cannot afford a tip, your therapist will understand. Instead of simply paying and walking out, though, make sure to tell your therapist thank you and maybe even offer them a thank you card. If the therapist is someone you see regularly, then offering a small gift is something that you can do as well. A small token of appreciation will work well yet cost you less than a 15% to 20% tip.


Overall, though, the best practice is to always set aside tip money for a massage. It is certainly ideal to include your tip in your budget as part of your expenses for your well-being.



Massages are a great way to treat yourself and relax after a stressful week, but it’s important to remember that they are very labor-intensive for your therapist. Your therapist works hard so that you can feel happier and healthier and the best way to thank them is through a generous tip. If you were looking for a range of how much to tip, stick with 15% to 20%, and you will be on the right track.

Related: What Should You Not Do During A Massage



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