Should I Tip My Massage Therapist?

Jermaine Delgado Massage 1 Comment

Yesterday I was having a business breakfast with Nelson Diaz at the famous Lighthouse Restaurant. He along with his wife Erinn are the founders of First in Flight Entertainment and Letters From Home, a Patriotic 1940s Jazz duo honoring Veterans. We have known them as dear friends and wonderful business people to work with. On this occasion I talked with Nelson about life, health, diet, exercise, and discipline of the mind. Hey extolled the time he went on a 27 day water only cleansing and how his mind was sharp by the end of his meditative seclusion.

Naturally since we were at the Lighthouse Restaurant, he explained this over a healthy helping of corned-beef-hash, toast and coffee. I have to admit there is no place in town than makes it better than Nick’s place which happens to be just yards from the front door of 6ths Sense Health and Wellness on Brookstown Ave. When the meal was over I saw him do something that I have rarely seen. He gave a tip to his server.You say that’s not all that extraordinary? Well yes it is, when you notice that he did not place it on the table and walk away. He placed it gently in her hand like a precious bird and simply said this is for you,Thank you.

Many times in our office we get asked is it appropriate to tip your first line healthcare practitioner? There really is no simple answer for this question. It is truly up to the individual. We have clients that have been with us for 10 plus years that have come regularly once a month, on time with very few words. They do not tip except during special occasions. One that comes to mind, has only missed one massage session over the past decade and this was because she was away on a mission trip.

On the other hand we have another very athletic client that has been coming for just as long and in fact comes nearly 15-30 mins early and has missed a few session because of trips out of town and almost like it is a simple as drinking water, he adds a tip on to every session just to say thank you for helping keep his daily pains at bay.

The fact of the matter is massage therapists are in a unique spot. We serve you like someone in the restaurant listening to your likes, dislikes, and giving extraordinary service. If the temperature in the room is not to your liking it can be adjusted. If you prefer a particular technique, we adjust. If you have a particular area of the body that needs more focus, the therapist is there to serve. On the other hand the therapist serves as your front line medical care practitioner. Like doctors, they have to go to school, test, become certified, licensed, and have a code of conduct that includes “do no harm”.

Also as medicine becomes more focused on less contact with patients, the therapist is one of the few healthcare people that you will spend the most time with. Think about that for a moment. Medical doctors spend on average less than 10 mins with a person.That aside, massage therapists are not doctors but do work with doctors to help you stay healthy. They can spot problems up close because they see you more frequently and can sometimes detect these minute changes in your health.

However do you ever tip your doctor? Chances are the answer is no, yet you appreciate what they do for you.So whether you tip or not its up to the individual. I will say for the new therapists, they love tips. It’s an acknowledgement that they gave you amazing healing care, were attentive to your needs, and most importantly helped you with your wellness needs.

Nike Roach,MS, CPT, LMBT

6th Sense Wellness Group


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