Massage & Bodywork

March/April 2012

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Page 27 of 132

visit price. On the other hand, the massage therapist who may be practicing from home doesn't have the same overhead, and may be charging substantially less—even though they're just as skilled and educated as the therapist at the galleria. THE ECONOMICS OF MASSAGE Some therapists may not buy the "what the market will bear" theory at all, and charge what they feel their clientele is willing to pay based on their expertise and years of experience, regardless of the surroundings they're practicing in. Some therapists with a national or international reputation charge as much as $300 a session if you want to see them personally, instead of one of their staff members—assuming you can even get an appointment. Others may be well-known in a niche market and feel perfectly fine about charging big bucks. Rick Merriam of McKinney, Texas, does 90-minute sports massage sessions, and gets $200 per session. Dennis Gibbons, owner of Chagrin Valley Wellness Center near Cleveland, Ohio, offers a membership plan whereby his staff members charge $45 for relaxation massage if the client commits to a one-year contract (a session with him personally is $185), and he has no shortage of clients willing to commit. (Merriam According to a 2011 Income Survey conducted by Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP), the average annual income for a massage therapist who is an independent practitioner is $25,365, while those who are employees make an average of $19,605. Celebrate ABMP's 25th anniversary and you may win a refund on your membership. 25

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