R E A D E R  E X P R E S S I O N S

We Asked: Is it ok for massage therapists to accept tips? Why or why not?

Here is what you told us…

When I was first offered a tip I was taken aback and almost felt offended, as I equated tips with beauty therapy and hairdressing, whereas I try to present massage as a health-giving therapy. One doesn’t, after all, tip doctors. However, on reflection, I decided to be flattered. Clients who tip have obviously enjoyed the massage enough to show some additional appreciation. I would say accept a tip gracefully, make sure you acknowledge it properly and enjoy it.
Helen Gazeley
Ashtead, Surrey, England

I work in a spa/wellness center setting. It seems that the clients who come in for a relaxation massage tend to leave tips. The clients who come in with some dysfunction and want healing tend to treat me as a medical person and normally don’t tip. Either way is OK with me; I’m just very grateful to be doing the work.
Steve Nelson
Huntington Beach, California

If a client leaves my tip on the table, and I find it when I change the sheets, then I keep it. But, if a client just hands it to me, or tells me to "keep the change," I thank them for the thought and let them know how much I appreciate the gratitude, but their repeat business is my "tip" I charge what I charge, and don’t expect anything more. That may seem foolish to others, but I appreciate my clients and do whatever it takes to keep them coming back, even if it means turning down hard-earned money.
Darla Henry
Sulphur Springs, Texas

I totally discourage tipping. We are professionals. According to Webster’s Dictionary, "professional" means one with assured competence in a field. We charge a professional fee. We don’t tip our physician, chiropractor or nurse, so why should we be tipped? I was told by a student that the massage school she was attending encouraged them to place a tip jar in the massage room! I could not believe this! At the risk of sounding like a snob, I wonder if that, psychologically, puts the massage therapist on the same level as a waitress or bartender. Wouldn’t it be better to instill in the student a sense of success through knowledge and service? If a client insists on tipping, I tell them I will use the money to light a candle at church and say a prayer for them. They love it!
Shirley J. Dillard
Ft. Myers, Florida

I don’t think I have ever finished a massage session in the time scheduled for the massage. I spend extra time with my clients because I care about them and sometimes can’t get everything addressed in that amount of time. If a client does ask me if tipping is kosher, I tell them that it’s not necessary. I don’t expect a tip because of the extra work that I do. However, if they give me a tip it is because they appreciate the work that I do. I feel it’s OK to accept – and most of the time I have no choice!
Kaylyn Hoskins
Iowa City, Iowa