Why massage and spa services are so expensive?

The statistics say seven out of ten people in the US will experience the benefits of massages at least once in their life. While Dr. Oz recommends regular massage at least once a month, and a lot of people go for regular massages, obviously still not all Americans can afford massage service, and only a small fraction can afford to do it regularly.

The Benefits
In not too distant time, many massage services were covered under extended health care plans, before there was so much misuse and pressure on cost-cutting. In many European countries and in Canada, the extended healthcare plans of employers continue to cover massage therapy.

Massage and spa services are age-old proven ways to reduce stress and carry tonnes of health benefits. Don’t they say prevention is better than cure, when it comes to maintaining and staying in good health? So wouldn’t it be nice if everyone can afford a regular massage?

The Cost
The costs of spa services have come down drastically in recent times, as there has been a growing organized massage spa business segment, recognized as a multi-billion dollar industry, with thousands of spas employing tens of thousands of massage therapists. But still it remains one of the most expensive personal spending you can do per hour, if you compare it to a meal at a restaurant or a movie at the cinema hall in the same amount of time.

A massage or facial at J. Sterling’s starts at $35 per hour, and can go up to $70 for the hour. For the sake of price comparison, you can have a decent meal at a decent restaurant for $15 to $20, or you can have a movie and snacks for about the same cost. So our services are expensive than a restaurant or a movie. But you have to remember spa, restaurant, and cinema may all seem like discretionary spendings, the restaurant or cinema has no short-term or long-term health benefits. Those are not therapeutic services, while spa therapies carry preventative health benefits.

What many people do not realize is that a spa service is the most personal, one-on-one experience. Your therapist or esthetician that is giving you undivided attention during that one hour service. The therapist is serving only you, and expects to make enough money to make a living doing massages. So the biggest cost of the service is the human time that the therapist invests into you, which is the reason spa services will seem expensive if you compare to discretionary spendings such as restaurants and cinema.

A trip to doctor’s office can put you back $200 to $300. A big chunk of that cost is for the time of the physician who is charging $150 to $250 per hour. And then there are fixed costs of running the clinic. While a massage therapist is not to the level of a doctor in education, they do carry specialized education, training and experience in massage modalities that have healing benefits on human body. So if you consider how much your therapist might be paid, when your massage is costing $35 for the hour, you’d think your massage is priced very reasonably for the amount of benefits it provides.

Do you agree? Thoughts? Leave comments below.