We’ve all been there. You’ve got a kink in your neck, probably from sleeping wrong and you’re days away from payday. Or maybe the budget is tight but you can’t stand the pain in your shoulders any longer! What’s a girl to do? Well, if you’re like many women in this position, you may resort to one of those $20 hour shops that are popping up all over our communities. You may enjoy it, you may not but as far as you know, its gotta help,right? If you’re lucky it will help and you will walk away uninjured and feeling better than when you came in. But what if you’re one of the many unlucky people who do get injured? Hold that thought-we’ll come back to that in a minute. Now, I want you to think about your provider. Have you ever wondered how its possible to pay just $20 for an entire hour of service? Have you ever wondered what your provider is paid for that hour of intense labor? I ask these questions not to chastise anyone, but instead to help you consider what exactly is the real cost of a cheap massage.

First, let’s talk safety. Its easy to dismiss Massage Therapy as harmless. It feels good when my hubby does it and I’m OK, what could possibly go wrong? I hate to break to ya, but a lot can go wrong. You may or may not realize this but, Massage Therapy is incredibly powerful! It can ease pain, increase range of motion and flexibility, improve performance, reduce Cortisol (the stress hormone), improve circulation, reduce inflammation, improve sleep quality…the list goes on and on. With all the wonderful benefits of massage, can it really be dangerous? Yes. It really can. Even trained professionals can unintentionally cause injuries. The chances of injuries go up when you are “treated” by someone who isn’t properly trained. For instance, did you know that if you were to receive a massage when you have a cold, you can intensify the symptoms of a cold? Or that you can spread an infection if one is present? Maybe you had a car accident and it makes perfect sense to massage it all better…WRONG! You could cause some serious and possibly irreversible nerve damage.  A trained professional knows that these are all circumstances in which Massage Therapy is contraindicated-meaning not advisable. What if something does happen? Well, you want to make sure that your Massage Therapist is not only State Certified, has a local Business License, but is also insured. In the unlikely event you were to get hurt, this ensures that any medical costs are covered. Seeing someone who doesn’t have professional training not only leaves you highly vulnerable to injury, but could leave you with the bill to treat said injuries to boot! Your health and safety shouldn’t be gambled with. And yet, that’s exactly what people do everyday in search of cheap massage. It’s not worth it!

Now, let’s talk about what bargain massage means for your provider and the profession as a whole. For starters, do you really think it’s fair to pay someone $20 or less for an hour of intense labor? I know it may sound like a lot to you but here’s something to consider: a full-time therapist should practice no more than 20-25 hours per week. Massage Therapy is incredibly demanding. And its not just the hands, its literally the whole body! The amount of physical and mental exertion required for massage is very intense. So, if you are paying the establishment $20/hour, how much is your service provider actually making? Establishments that offer cheap massage are often of a questionable nature. They are breeding grounds for poor hygiene and terrible work conditions. Believe it or not, you may be contributing to human trafficking. Sounds dramatic but the problem is right here in our back yard. Turning a blind eye to it is allowing the problem to BOOM. The flip-side of these booming businesses is that it often times makes it difficult for legitimate Massage Therapy Business to set up shop and if they can get past all the hurdles, the ability to take root is even harder. Supporting your local Massage Therapists helps everyone. No one wants brothels out in the open in their neighborhoods, and yet here we are, unwittingly making fertile ground for breeding them in disguise! I won’t get into how the stigma affects our profession. I’ll save that for another post. Suffice it to say that no one wants to be associated with sex work when they trained to be healthcare providers.

Massage Therapy has come a long way from its hard to access beginnings. Its no longer just a luxury for the elite but an affordable health care option for many. But what if you are on a shoestring budget? Talk to your Therapist about different options like spot-treatments or chair massage. These are affordable ways to get the professional care you need without endangering yourself and you get to support your local economy. Win-win! I personally offer several options with all-inclusive pricing. I believe my pricing is fair and I offer something for every budget. If you have any ideas or suggestions, I welcome them!Please email me at priscilla@amotherstouchmassage.com.

Overall, Massage Therapy is not a whole lot different from everything else in life: you get what you pay for. When searching for affordable Massage Therapy be sure your Therapist is qualified and insured. Its not hard to find out, in fact, we are required to have proof of these things in plain-view. My hope is that this article is an eye-opener for you to the potential dangers of cheap massage. I hope you will be an advocate for true Massage Therapy and take care of not only yourself but your community.