Bargain Priced Massages Can be Good for Your Body and Wallet

by Guest Contributor · 7 comments

Many people view massage as a luxury, but it doesn’t have to be. Aside from the fact that massage provides a number of important physical benefits, such as lowered blood pressure, greater range of motion, and an immune system that works better, it feels great. Still, some places charge $100 for an hour of basic massage, and that can be very hard to justify on a limited budget.

Yet, if you know the systems, you can get good massage for a lot less. Here is how.

Find Schools

No matter where you live, massage therapists must get some education to hang their shingle. Pull out the Yellow Pages, open a browser, and find out where the schools are in your neighborhood. Call the schools and find out if they have a student clinic; chances are they do.

Students are required to document a certain number of hours in a clinic before they graduate their program, and only the “senior” students work in the clinic under normal circumstances. The best part is that you will usually pay less than half the going rate for a professional massage.

Of course, there will be some variability between massages, even though all the students learn the same techniques, but if you find a student you like, you can stick with them until they finish their clinic hours.

Search for Promotions

New massage therapists often advertise their services in local money saver magazines. This is a way for them to build their business. They offer discounted massages as a way to get you in their office in the hopes that you will return later and pay full price. How much can you save this way? It varies. Some will offer a few dollars off, others as much as half off.

You should also ask if a therapist offers promotional discounts if you purchase several massages at once. It is fairly common to give a discounted price if someone pays upfront for three or more massages. You may not save as much as if you jump from promo to promo, but you will get more consistent treatment.


Many massage therapists will barter their services. If you have a service you perform, for example if you design websites, business cards, or any of a number of other options, you may be able to barter your services for massages. I have a friend in the business that has had a deck put on her house and her basement finished and is now working off some landscaping all for her massages. Everyone walks away happy, and all you give up is some time.

Silent Auctions

Many therapists donate a massage or two to fundraisers. The catch with silent auctions is that massage is often a very coveted item, which can drive the price up. This takes a bit of finesse and knowledge of the market, but these fundraisers are definitely a great way to score a few massages for less than retail.

In my town the average massage goes for about $55, but in my parents’ town it goes for $80. Paying more than about 60% of the face value is not really much of a bargain, even if the money is going to a good cause.

With a little creativity, some good bargain hunting skills, and a willingness to be a guinea pig for a student, you can find well-priced massage just about anywhere.

This is, again, from the How to Save Money on Everything ebook. Take your free copy today by getting on the frugal newsletter email list.

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  • Mano says:

    Yes, cheap massages. nothing can be more relaxing. But yes, I agree, YUou can have it free. But it has a different feeling when you are being massaged by an expert 🙂

  • Witty Artist says:

    Great tips. One that really worked for me in a similar situation (my dentist) is the students. They are indeed cheaper and open-minded, friendly and if they see you become a regular client they’ll definitely make some discount.
    Of course I prefer the cheapest and also pleasure offering method, that is I trade massages with my partner.

  • Brad Jobs says:

    Well, massages can be done for free. Get your wife, girlfriend, or daughter and let them give you a massage. I personally let my two daughters age 5 and 6 to walk on the back. lol Gets you a lot closer to your children as well.

  • Jamie Thompson, LMT says:

    I’m a state-licensed massage therapist in Boston, and I offer a special pay-what-you-can rate for low-income clients, along with generous discounts to full-time students, senior citizens, fellow bodyworkers, and others. Many of my colleagues in the health and wellness field also offer sliding fee scales and various discounts, because we are committed to making our services available to people from all income levels and walks of life.

    I personally do not consider massage therapy a luxury, and research has proven that professional massage therapy can be of benefit to many, many people, whether suffering from everyday stress, chronic migraines, back pain, depression, repetitive stress injuries, etc.

    I agree that student clinics, Groupon and LivingSocial deals, etc. can be good ways to obtain a massage at an affordable price, but, for best results, it’s better to see the same therapist over time. Just as many people become loyal to their hair stylists or physicians, having multiple sessions with a massage therapist you know and trust allows her or him to customize your sessions and tailor them to your unique needs and preferences.

    It’s true that you get what you pay for – while student clinics serve an important need, you’ll receive a treatment in a room full of other people, with cheap linens, scratchy towels, and (at least in my alma mater’s clinic) cold, dirty floors.

    Compare that to a serene, private treatment room, with luxurious linens and organic massage cream, a heated table with fleece padding, plenty of blankets, and complimentary tea and other refreshments, with a massage from someone who has already received a license and has over 100 hours of continuing education. Yet my prices are not that much more than those charged by the local student clinic, because I want everyone to experience the benefits of massage.

    People who think that massage is a luxury only for the rich are doing themselves and the massage therapy industry a grave disservice, in my opinion. Everyone deserves and can benefit from massage.

  • stef says: is a great place to find local deals on everything you can think of.

    they have lots of massage deals on there and trubates was the first thing that came to mind when i read this post.

  • Ginger says:

    I get most of my massages through living social/groupon. That allows me to get the massages for half price, much easier on the budget. Normally I am able to get a massage one a month or so and it helps my back and neck so much.

  • retirebyforty says:

    Ask your significant other to give you massage. 🙂 Or better yet, trade massages with him/her.
    I don’t like paying for massage since I think it’s a huge luxury. My tip is to sign up for emails at nearby massage/spa. They usually have some kind of sale or last minute deals.

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