How Much to Tip a Massage Therapist and 5 Helpful Questions

How much to tip a massage

What is Massage 09th Feb, 2022

image of how much to tip a massage with massage candle

Do you tip a massage therapist?

The first question, before working out how much to tip a massage therapist, is whether to tip in the first place. If you are in an all-inclusive hotel (which typically has a strict no-tip policy) then you simply shouldn’t tip.

If you are in a part of the world, or a premises where taking out too much money can attract unwanted attention, then you need to keep transactions quick, small, or not at all.

If you are seeking to find a massage yourself though, either in your own home or going to their spa or home, then before giving a tip you need to ask yourself one important question …

Did the massage deserve it?

A tip is not something that you should simply give because you feel obligated to. If someone charges a fair price, or even a higher price than the usual, and does a fair job, then you are not obligated to tip that person.

If the masseur, or masseuse, goes beyond your expectations and puts in the work to make your experience special, then there is no reason not to give a tip, to demonstrate your satisfaction with the job.

You might want to try a calculator or base it on your own mood.

How much you tip for a massage should depend on how amazed you were. A 10% tip if you felt it was pretty good. 20% is the standard if you thought it was great, but there is no reason to stop there.

Tip up to 30% if you were amazed, and even up to 40% or 50% if it was the best massage you have ever had.

The caveat being that if the price for the massage in the first place was lower than typical, then you can bump up those numbers even more, or tone them down if it was already expensive.

If you make this a regular thing, then you can tip less, as over time you are showing your favour by giving your masseur or masseuse frequent business. You can still tip if you want to, but maybe it would be better to max the tip at 20 – 30%.

If you are at a spa or clinic just place the money in the envelope with the therapist’s name on it.

If there are no envelopes, then make sure you hand over the money in cash directly to the therapist. If this seems like it could get them in trouble, try at reception (just be aware, not all the money may make it to them).

For massages in a medical or clinical environment, tips may not be expected or even accepted.

If you’re unsure, ask the clinic receptionist or massage therapist whether tipping is customary. If you don’t want to ask in person, call ahead to ask.

How much clothing


A massage therapist will usually ask you to be as naked as comfortably possible. A massage therapist sees many different kinds of bodies, all in various levels of undress, and are somewhat desensitised to nakedness. So, if you are thinking of keeping something on, you are not doing it for them, you are doing it for you.

Even if you remove all your clothes, they may offer a loin cloth or a towel regardless, to cover up your most private of areas.

Some prefer to keep underwear on, others prefer to be nude.

Women will typically remove their bras, or at least undo it at the back, so the massage therapist can work on the entire back without a strap or ties in the way. It also prevents getting massage oil or lotion on the bra.

Prior to the beginning of the massage, the therapist will leave the room so you can take off what it comfortable and then lie on the massage table. They will then knock when they are ready to re-enter.

If you are getting a Shiatsu or Thai massage, seek your therapist’s guidance, as these are normally done with clothes on.

What if you get an erection?


Getting an erection during a massage is neither uncommon nor something to be embarrassed about. Having certain parts of your body, especially towards the groin, stimulated or rubbed can be more than enough to cause visible arousal.

If your massage therapist is attractive to you as well, then it doesn’t take a huge leap for this to happen.

In the case it does, if you are with a professional massage therapist they will most likely ignore it. If they do then you should too as you get yourself back under control.

FAQ

What if you cant afford to tip?

If you can’t afford to tip, don’t worry about it. There is no need to explain your situation, and no obligation. Just have your massage, and say thank you.

Yes it is good to say thank you with your money but sometimes its good enough to say thank you with your words.

Show sincerity, this is worth as much as money sometimes.

And if you really can’t afford to tip, maybe you can’t really afford a massage either. In which case it’s always ok to get your partner to massage at home.

What if you need the bathroom or to pass wind?

If you need to, then you should let it go. You should not contract the glute muscles so tightly during a massage or be anything other than relaxed.

If you absolutely need to go and also really don’t want to in front of the therapist then simply say you need to use the restroom. This is the same for needing to go to the bathroom.

What if you are unhappy with your massage?

If you are unhappy with your massage then it is better to say something earlier during the massage than just suffer in silence slowing being filled with poison.

By communicating what feels good or what doesn’t the therapist will be able to adapt to your body and give you something you are happy with.

If no matter what the therapist still can’t make you happy, then it is ok to suggest bringing the massage to an end. They might apologise and you will most likely not have to pay.

If this comes at the end, it is better to let your therapist know it wasn’t great. If they still expect payment and you didn’t say anything till this point then you should pay – but don’t tip.

It is a therapists job to give you a good massage but it’s your job to let them know if they aren’t.

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