How Much Should You Tip A Massage Therapist?

Why Do We Tip To Begin With?

Welcome back to yet another post. You guys keep asking the questions, so I make these posts to provide answers based on my personal experiences and thoughts.

Today tipping is very much a commonality. We do it everywhere: coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, bars, taxis, food deliveries, the list is endless really! Here’s an interesting fact I bet you didn’t know:

 Tipping isn’t something new, it’s been around for hundreds of years! 

Wiki has a good write up on the history of gratuity; Here’s a link to the article if you’re interested to read. But I encourage you to ponder: why do we tip to begin with? Is it because it almost seems customary to do so, and if you don’t then you’re kinda not following what’s considered norm?

Ever Thought Why You Tip To Begin With?
Ever Thought Why You Tip To Begin With?


I Tip Only When I Am Satisfied With The Services Provided

I only tip when I am satisfied with the services provided. It’s really as simple as that.

 I don’t feel obliged to cough up cash when the service is poor and a tip undeserving. 

And you shouldn’t either. Here’s 5 massage related examples of when I wouldn’t tip:

    • Lack Of Cleanliness—If linens are unchanged and dirty, and overall shop cleanliness is lacking.
    • Lack Of Respect—This one’s pretty obvious. You wouldn’t tip someone who lacks common courtesy!
    • When What I Paid For Isn’t What I Got—If I paid for a deep tissue massage, then that’s what I expect to get, period!
    • When My Time Is Taken For Granted—Delays happen, I get that. However, if they magically happen every time I have an appointment, then we have a bit of a problem!
    • When A Therapist Is Disinterested—Had this happen to me when I was vacationing in Malaysia couple years back. The therapist massaging me seemed more interested in her phone and the TV. Needless to say she wasn’t too pleased when I left!
Only When I'm Satisfied!
Only When I’m Satisfied!

Now I know some people will disagree with this stance, mostly because to them you should tip no matter what. I disagree with this approach, but that’s just my take. Tipping is objective (and even personal to some extent!), so everyone has and is entitled to their own opinion.

 While you don’t have to agree with, you should still respect others opinion on the matter! 

But what about when the service is good, and a tip is deserved? And how much should you tip a massage therapist specifically?


When Deserved, How Much Should You Tip A Massage Therapist?

Before I tell you what I usually tip, I should tell you there’s really no right or wrong here. There isn’t a magic number that works for all situations.

 Tip what you feel is deserved! 

Here’s 5 massage related examples of when I would tip:

    • There’s A Sense Of Courtesy & Care—Respect is the word I am looking for. Show some to get some!
    • When I’m Not Shortchanged—If I paid for a 90 minute session, I expect a full 90 minute session!
    • When I’m Happy With The Results—Massage is either effective or ineffective, not in between. If it’s the former, I will gladly tip!
    • If A Therapist Goes Over & Beyond—Although this isn’t necessary, it’s definitely something I would reward. Last time I went in for a deep tissue massage, my therapist spent some time talking to me about cupping and even tried it out on me. Do you think I tipped her? Hehe!
    • When My Privacy Is Respected—Massage does not equal sexual services. Don’t ask me if I would like “additional services”. Be professional, respect my privacy, and help me with my back pain!

That being said, i’ll tell you what I usually tip since you’re probably itching to know.

 As far as massage is concerned, 10% is what I typically go with. 

This Is What I Feel Is Right To Tip. You Don't Have To Follow Suit!
This Is What I Feel Is Right To Tip. You Don’t Have To Follow Suit!

So if a session costs $90, i’ll usually tip about $10 give or take. This is if I am completely satisfied with the service provided, so much so that i’d consider going back again. Too little, too much? That’s up to you to decide!


You’ll Know When & When Not To!

When it comes to massage, tipping is not something I have to think about too much. To me it’s pretty clear when a tip is deserved, and when it’s not. My advice to you:

  • Don’t overthink it!
  • Don’t copy what other people do!
  • Don’t be obliged to do so if you feel it’s undeserved!
  • Don’t feel guilty for not tipping!

That last point is especially important. Most people feel a sense of guilt whenever they don’t leave a “big enough” tip. As far as massage therapy is concerned, your tips will not make or break their business!

If It's Undeserved, You Shouldn't Feel Guilty For Not Tipping!
If It’s Undeserved, You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty For Not Tipping!

There are establishments with good, hardworking, skilled therapists that deserve more tips, just as there are crappy businesses with therapists who couldn’t massage to save their lives! The latter in my opinion do not deserve anything. In a way not choosing to tip them should provide some sort of hint that the service they offer is below par. Maybe then an honest, self reflective assessment could spur change!


I Hope You Enjoyed Reading, But Before You Leave….

Before you leave, how much do you tip a massage therapist usually? Leave it in the comments and don’t be shy! Let’s get some discussion going!

If you enjoyed reading, please consider sharing this post on the socials!

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About Eve

Just an average bloke intrigued by massage and its incredible benefits. Oh, did I mention I also own a massage chair? More on that in the blog posts!

2 thoughts on “How Much Should You Tip A Massage Therapist?

  1. I liked that you pointed out that you will know when and when not to tip a massage therapist. I wonder if you need to tip when you go to a chiropractors office for the massage. It seems like something to consider before going.

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment Penelope! Same thing applies at the chiropractors. If they deserve a tip, then sure why not!

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