How Much Do You Tip For a Massage?

In today's technologically advanced times, our lives are run over by busy, yet, monotonous work schedules, which can quite often leave the anatomy feeling extremely tiresome and strained. Therefore, the therapeutic massage chair industry is ever-booming, according to statistical researches. If you are not looking into opting for a massage chair, then Massage Spas or even private professional masseuse is an ideal option for you.

When I was relatively new with exploring different kinds of massages, as well as pampering my body and soul with a professional massage session, being a highly-cautious person that I am, I was more occupied about how much of a tip I was supposed to give a masseuse than enjoying the massage itself.

how much to tip for a massage

At that point in life, I had no one to guide me regarding such matters, and to avoid any awkward interactions or to leave the masseuse feeling disappointed; I would go through the trouble of tipping much more than I should have.

If you, in case are new towards indulging yourself in the relaxing experience of a professional masseuse regardless of whether at a spa, or home and feel the same reservations when it comes to deciding on how to tip, then, my friend, you have come to the right place. This post will not only comprehensively discuss on how generously to tip a masseuse, whether at the spa or the home-space, but it will go a step further and distinguish between how to tip when receiving different massage types.

Let's get to the core of the post then, shall we!

The usual rate around the market sphere when it comes to tipping is an average of 10% of the overall massage cost; therefore, in case your total experience bills up to $200, then the minimum tip rate would be $20.

how much do you tip a massage therapist

Having said that, it does not strictly mean that you should stick to the 10% rule, depending upon the place where you are receiving the massage experience from, as well as the type of massage you have opted for, can have a significant effect upon the tipping rate. Keep on reading then, to avoid any awkward situations while billing out.

Categorization Between Massage Types

The type of massage you may be opting for, regardless of whether via a private practitioner or even the Spa can play a significant role in altering the usual 10% rule for you. Depending upon the type of massage you have chosen, the tipping price may vary since massages such as the prenatal massage, hot stone massage, and even the sports massage may run higher in pricing.

With the massage industry booming, the market sphere at an aggregate may consist of more than a 100 massage variation types, within this post; however, I will specifically be discussing the main massage categories, including but not entirely limited to those mentioned below, let get to it then, shall we!

Swedish Massage

swedish massage time period

A Swedish massage experience is relatively known to be a more holistically therapeutic massage experience which incorporates a variety of massage motions including rolling, kneading, stretching as well as tapping.

The average massage session timing may consist between 30 minutes to 45 minutes; therefore, in case it is a Swedish Massage you are opting for, then the 20% tip rule ensures not only the satisfaction of your wallet but also the respective masseuse, according to specialists.

Hot Stone Massage

hot stone massage

A Hot Stone Massage experience goes a heap further from a regular massage experience by utilizing the help of heated stones alongside hand-massage motions for the effective loosening of tensed muscles within the receiver's body. Utilizing hot stones also increases the overall cost of the massage experience, directly proportional to which is the tipping rate.

Thus, if it is low tipping rates you are seeking, then, opting for frequent hot-stone massages at a well-known therapeutic spa is not something I would preferably recommend.

Couple Massage

A couple-massage is an exquisite experience of its type, which allows two individuals to enjoy a therapeutic massage experience of their own choice within the same room. The most often massage types offered or availed include; but are not entirely limited to a Swedish or even a hot-stone massage experience. Further additional offerings such as aromatherapy, can also be provided via the masseuse.

The massage session timings, along with the kind of environment are flexible per the couple’s mood. With the additional amount of effort placed in ensuring the delivery of an optimal level massage experience, it is best advised to tip the masseuse relatively more generously as a form of good-will.

Switching towards the secondary form of categorization of the post, let's shift our focus to how tipping rates may fluctuate depending upon the location of where the massage service is being availed. It is also to be kept in mind, that while certain therapists, as well as the masseuse, will be expecting a 20% or more, tipping rate, there may be places you might come across that do not accept or approve of gratuity.

Private Masseuse or Practitioner

communication with the massage therapist

An individual practitioner or a masseuse are often those whom of which are not affiliated with providing their services limited to a spa or a massage center. Private masseuse are not only professionally certified but are also able to offer their services at flexible locations.

In my prior experience, a private masseuse, that too a professionally certified practitioner most often are expecting a tipping rate of no less than 20% of the overall cost of the massage experience. However; in case of being unsure, you can always feel free to directly ask the masseuse of their desired tipping rate before fixing an appointment.

Spa/Hotels & Resorts

shiatsu massage

When opting for a relaxing massage experience at a Spa, it is always advised to carefully read the bill presented following a massage experience for determining whether the billing was all-inclusive or whether a separate gratuity will be necessary. 

In case the billing is all-inclusive, a fully defined section in the bill pertaining to gratuity featuring the pre-defined policy rates will be mentioned. When; however, that is not the case, then the most feasible way to avoiding an awkward encounter by tipping below the expectation can be to ask regarding the tipping policy as per the desired massage session before-hand.

Aside from the categorizations mentioned above, what I believe to be the easiest trick of tipping when the gratuity is not pre-defined via a bill is with the aid of your personal experience.

If you feel to have exceptionally enjoyed the massage experience delivered to you, then it is only fair to tip above the 15-20% standard tipping rate. While in cases, where you may have considered the massage experience to be of a relatively average standard, then a 15% tip of the overall bill will sufficiently suffice.  

My last; yet, the most important advice, enjoy your massage experience to the fullest.



A geek at heart, 5'7, 22 years old, single, expert in psychological science and massage therapy. I am a fun loving girl and love to travel and explore the world. I hope you find my blog useful. Leave a message :)

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