On several occasions I have had people ask me about our rates, especially compared to chain membership massage places and by other therapist or places that charge less than we do. So I decided to go to one of the chain places to see what exactly their massage was like. Up to this point I have never been to one of these place as I feel their style of business devalues the profession of massage (imho, they are basically the Walmart of massage), but that as an entire different discussion.
However, I decided that instead of basing my opinion of the quality of massage on feedback from other people, that I would try it for myself. Overall, I can say that I was not very surprised with the massage. It was very relaxing and I almost fell asleep, but that could have been just from being tired. Aside from that, it pretty much confirmed my ‘you get what you pay for’ with massage. It was worth about $40 and that is it. The length of time, the pressure used and the overall massage were pretty much exactly what I was expecting to get for that price. Here is a breakdown of that massage:
- The massage itself was just shy of 50 minutes long.
- The techniques the therapist used were very limited and she spent a fair amount of time doing the exact same stroke over and over (about 6 times or more) in areas that did not really need that much attention.
- The work itself was not detailed at all. She only worked about mid thigh and down and did very little work on my glutes. She also did no work on my head, face or feet.
- The overall pressure was medium to light, even though I had medium to firm. I did not saying anything about the pressure to her but she also never asked either. I am not opposed to the use of lighter pressure, as there are times when it is very useful, and if the right techniques are used then that is all the pressure you need, but this was not one of those times.
- I also heard the receptionist telling another person that they are raising their monthly membership rate (for new clients) to $69.99. So unless you have had a membership for years you are really not saving that much money. For most people, in the long run, they end up paying more per massage, because they only get two – six massages a year. Even though you can save unused massages and use them another time or transfer them to someone else, when do you really think you will find the time to use them all (they are hoping never). Some people have a tendency to forget about things, especially if they were not overly happy with the place of business. Sometimes it is best to cut your loses and move on. Also, if you cancel your membership there is usually a time limit on the remaining credits, which they are counting on running out before you use all the credits.
- If I was to go in again, and because I did not sign up for a membership, the rate they charge is pretty much double their introductory rate. So unless you want to be locked into a monthly charge whether you get a massage or not, I would suggest thinking twice.
I do know that on occasion people have been able to find a massage therapist at places like those that provide an overall great massage, so it is possible to do. However, they are usually booked weeks in advance. They are usually worked so much that some of them burn out or injure themselves and they do not stay there very long. There are exceptions to everything so I am sure there are a few that stay around for a while, but that is not the norm from what I have been told.
Also, a few years ago I went to discount massage place that charges a little less than the chain membership place. One of my neighbors kept telling me about how much cheap this place was. So I decided to try them out one time, it was barely worth the discounted rate.
With that place I was completely disappointed with for the following reason: I had told the therapist that I wanted deep tissue work done especially on my upper back and I don’t think she even got to medium pressure. She used St Ives lotion (filled with all kinds of chemicals, including alcohol which caused a burning sensation on my legs). And their prices board has all these amounts that you never pay because they “give” you a membership card. Some places will do this to make you think you are getting a discount, when their real prices are the rate they charge you. Another reason some places do this “discount” marketing is they hope that you will give their staff a bigger tip. A fair amount of people believe you should tip on the original rate and not on the discounted rate, but when the discount rate is the real rate what are you supposed to do?
If you want a massage that really works the areas that need it, with the pressure that you want (not just light pressure) and is a thorough massage finding a qualified massage therapist may take a little longer and cost a little bit more. But, in the end it will be worth it. Also, saving a few dollars may leave you very disappointed and without the relief that you need or want. Every person is different when it comes to the type of massage they like, need, and/or want, and so different places are better for different people.