How much to tip a massage therapist can be a confusing thing. On one hand you have the spa massage therapist that can be put in the same group as nail technicians and hair stylists. Another group is sports massage therapists and medical massage therapists. Typically people in the medical profession don’t receive tips for their services. Lastly, what if you are not from the United States? Different countries have different customs. For example, Canada reimburses its citizens for massage, thus massage is seen more as medical service versus a pampering service.
Below are listed the basic rules of how to tip a massage therapist:Table Massage Tips Basic Rules
Massage therapist in a spa or outcall massage (at your location) – 10-20% of the total bill.
Massage therapist in a medical environment, such as Chiropractor, etc. – normally no tipping*.
Chair Massage Tips Basic Rules
Chair massage that is paid by the customer – 10-20% of the total bill
Chair massage paid by an employer or trade show – normally no tipping*.
*If you do want to tip, ask what the hong kong massage establishment’s guidelines are. Tipping may be against the company’s policies or they might not mind. Each situation is different.
What if you don’t want to tip?
An exception to all of the above is when a customer doesn’t want to tip and it’s not a reflection on the services they received. Customers have a right to not tip because tipping is a courtesy. Many massage therapists I know are grateful for tips and don’t expect them. Tipping, and how much, is ultimately the decision of the customer.
Beware Hidden Tips
Lastly, a word of caution; in many tourist areas, a spa or salon will add a tip to the bill for the customer – without asking! This is an automatic process at many places. Then, because the customer is not aware of this, the customer will add a tip to the bill not realizing they’re double tipping! This is an unfortunate reality that massage customers need to protect themselves from.