In general, the upside is that it offers storefront exposure for the public and raises awareness of massage and its benefits. It can be a training ground for new therapists who need real world experience in the marketplace. Cheaper pricing makes massage sessions more affordable. The downside is that cheaper prices may lure potential customers (budget-conscious consumers) from independent LMTs and smaller massage businesses. The economic downturn has prompted many self-employed LMTs and smaller businesses to offer attractive discount packages and more competitive pricing. Competition from massage chains can add another dimension to pricing strategies. While chains may provide the public with better access to massages, smart LMTs can offer their own special skills and consistent high quality services; find the market niche and networking that feeds their businesses. The high turnover of LMTs at these chains suggests that low pay/long hours are deeply imbedded in the coporate culture. High-priced, more exclusive massage chains and franchises offer their “special brands” of services. A wealthy clientele and gift purchases drive their businesses. Overall, it can be percieved as a negative for the massage profession. Their presence, in a sense, devalues the worth of consistent, high quality massages given by experienced LMTs who deserve the monetary considerations. It’s hard to measure how public perceptions of massage pricing have been influenced by these chains, considering the negative effects of an economic downturn.