To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Executive Stress Relief: A New Take on Stone Massage,” by Patricia Mayrhofer, in the November 2012 issue. Article summary: The Executive Stress Relief protocol could be the key to re-energizing your clients and your massage-stone practice.

by Jane Irving

Many years ago, when hot-stone massage was introduced as a new modality to the massage profession, no information was given about what massage therapists could charge for the modality, or even how to cost it out. Fast-forward years later, and many massage therapists who have mastered hot-stone massage still do not offer it—because they think it is not worth their time and takes too much work.

Why do massage therapists have so much trouble charging more for a service that entails a lot of work? I think it is because most massage therapists have never been trained to cost out, or price out, a service.

Costing out a service means listing all of your materials and time needed to complete the service.

For example, let’s assume you have been trained and already have the product and equipment necessary to complete hot-stone massage. Costing it out is very simple. A hot-stone massage takes approximately 30 minutes of setup, placing stones in warmer, adding water, adjusting the heat and getting the stone up to temperature. The hot-stone massage itself should take approximately 90 minutes. Cleanup will run about another 30 minutes. The average cost of a massage is $50 per hour. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to charge $125 for a 90-minute hot-stone massage session.

Marketing the service to existing clients is also simple. Keep your warmer in plain sight in your massage room; keep a few stones in there ready to go. There is nothing like a warm stone on the back or the back of the cervical vertebrae.

For new clients, market the benefits the deep heat from the stones provides.

Hot-stone massage is an effective modality. If you’re thinking of adding it to your menu of services, cost it out. Don’t be afraid to charge a higher fee. Be sure it is worth your time.

Jane Irving owns My Learning Library.