Massage Therapy as Profit Center

by Todd Durkin, MA on Oct 22, 2009

Would you like to offer massage therapy in your business? Whether or not you choose to become a certified massage therapist yourself, you can immediately benefit by adding massage to your business structure. The new service will improve overall client results, add new revenue streams, increase client retention, give you creative options for packaging services to attract new clients, and bolster the mind-body component of your business.

Here are some essential guidelines for including massage in your business:

Define Your Own Role. Identify what you want your role and your involvement to be. Do you want to be a practitioner of the work? In that case, attend massage school and complete the necessary hours for state licensure or national certification. Do you want to remain purely in the role of manager or owner? Even if you don’t choose to become certified as a massage therapist, I highly recommend that you attend a short course or weekend workshop sponsored by a legitimate organization. Doing so will help you understand some of the basics of massage therapy and will make you a better manager of new services for your clients.

Hire Only the Best Certified Therapists. The best therapists are typically those with the highest credentials combined with a true desire to help people. They have a great "touch," wonderful intuition, compassion, a professional appearance and the ability to create a relaxing environment. They also possess solid follow-up and customer service skills.

Create a Soothing Environment. Provide a separate massage room that is at least 9 x 9 feet (10 x 10 feet or larger is ideal) and designed to be relaxing and therapeutic.

Market Massage. Promote and market massage therapy as part of your business and part of your business culture. Your belief in massage is your greatest selling tool.

Integrating Massage Therapy With Training

If space is limited or you are not interested in expanding your team, you can still bridge the world of personal training with massage or bodywork.

For example, we now provide “Integrated Flexibility Sessions” as part of our personal training program. These are like mini “massages” that we offer either for 10 minutes at the end of personal training sessions or as a separate 30-minute stand-alone service. The focus is on flexibility and relaxation using a powerful percussive massage machine called the DMS (Deep Muscle Stimulator). We integrate manual stretching, the DMS and Optimal Performance Bodywork techniques. Integrated Flexibility Sessions are appropriate for personal trainers, since no “massage” is performed by the hands and, therefore, no special license is needed other than training on the equipment. The key here is the DMS machine. We were already offering hands-on, manual stretching at the end of personal training sessions, but using the DMS is new for us. The feedback from our clients has been fantastic, and the DMS has provided an additional revenue stream for the business.

If you create a program similar to Integrated Flexibility Sessions, you won’t require a special treatment room. Just like our postworkout manual stretching, both the 10-minute and the 30-minute sessions are conducted on the gym floor. Trainers use a solid massage table and provide great results for clients.

Is it better to have massage therapists work as employees or independent contractors? For a look at this issue, plus more on running a successful massage program, please see the full article, “Knead Massage?” online in the IDEA Library or in the May issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.

IDEA Fit Tips , Volume 7, Issue 11

© 2009 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Todd Durkin, MA

Todd Durkin, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Todd Durkin, MA, owns Fitness Quest 10 and Todd Durkin Enterprises. He is a human performance specialist who trains dozens of elite, high-profile NFL and MLB athletes and is the head of the Under Armo...


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  • reggie marlo

    What an interesting idea. I would dare to take this even further and consider the possibility of massage through a medical perspective: chiropractics. My chiropractor is practicing this for more than ten years and it's a success. Massage therapy is something we would could all use, whether we're healthy or not.
    Commented Jul 13, 2010
  • Linda Crump

    I would appreciate getting more info on the DMS machine you use and how you integrate it with your stretching program. I would love to add massage to my personal training studio, but don't have space for a massage room. As you mentioned in the article, you just did it in the gym. that would work for me! I can be reached at Thanks, Linda Crump
    Commented Dec 07, 2009
  • Erik Petersen

    After 10+ years of massage therapy I can tell this. It's easy to tell who has been a massage therapist and who hasn't when you read or listen to their thoughts about the field of massage. 99.9% of the time they tell you what size room is adequate and 99.9% of the time it's too small. This has a huge impact on the ergonomics that the therapist uses. 10'x12' is the minimal size for a massage room. If you're wondering whether you''ll run out of room and bump into a wall then it's too small!
    Commented Nov 06, 2009