The national average cost for a sports massage is $105-165 per 90-minute session. The exact cost of this specific type of physical therapy will mostly depend on the length of your session. Location (in-home versus a spa, for example) and number of therapists can also impact the price.
If you play a sport, you likely have tight, aching muscles begging for a massage. Although stretching and rolling out problem areas will help, hiring a professional massage therapist skilled in sports massage therapy can take your sports recovery to the next level.
Before you book a sports massage, learn how much one costs and what factors into massage prices.
What's in this cost guide?
- Sports massage price factors
- How much to tip
- What's included in a sports massage
- Benefits of a sports massage
- Cost saving tips
- What to look for in a massage therapist
The length of your session will have the biggest impact on massage prices. However, location (in-home versus at the masseuse's location) and the number of massage therapists you need can also raise or lower the price.
Depending on your massage therapist, you will either go to their location (for example, a spa) or have them come to you at your house or office. An in-home or office session typically costs more.
For example, one Thumbtack pro offers a one-hour sport massage for $65 and hosts clients at her location in Long Island, NY.
Alivia Martinez travels all over the Bay Area of California and charges $140 for a one-hour massage in her clients' location of choice.
You'll pay more for two therapists, so think about what experience you want and how much you can afford. Both massage therapists can target problem areas simultaneously using varying massage techniques. Sometimes one will concentrate on tight muscles in the neck and upper back while the other gives you a foot massage.
Sports massages are usually a 60- or 90-minute session. Just like any other massage, the longer your session, the higher the price.
If you booked a 90-minute sports massage in your home with two therapists through Drewpeutic Massage Therapy in the New Orleans area, it would cost $210.
If you're committed to an ongoing relationship with your massage therapist, signing up for a package can save you money. This is especially helpful if you're training for a marathon or competition. A regular sport therapy massage can help you recover during training, and prep your body to perform pre-event.
Therapist Steven Pagel in Philadelphia, PA has special offers if you book a massage package in advance. For example, you'd save 10% on five sessions, 20% on 10 sessions and 30% off on 20 sessions.
Some massage therapists include gratuity in their rates. If not, it's common practice to tip about 20% as a standard hospitality rate, depending on how satisfied you are with the massage. Many therapists appreciate getting that tip in cash as well so remember to stop by the ATM before your appointment.
A sports massage, or sports therapy massage, combines Swedish, Shiatsu and other massage techniques to treat or prevent sports injuries, relax muscles, and stimulate blood circulation. Unlike a deep tissue massage, this technique focuses on working your muscles. A sports massage is also better than a deep tissue massage for working on injuries or pain that have built up over time.
Licensed sports massage therapists often have better understanding of the body's anatomy than those who are just specialized in deep tissue massage. Your session will usually begin by discussing any pain or injuries you might have.
Once the session gets started, your sports massage therapist will use use several forms of touch as part of myofascial release therapy to restore elasticity and movement to stiff muscles and flush toxins from your body. They might also use targeted pressure to reduce overall pain and prevent future injuries. Rather than work deep tissues, the therapist will focus on manipulating soft tissue — aka your muscles.
Depending on your sport and body's needs, this could be a full-body massage or a chair massage that focuses predominantly on your upper body.
If you're used to a relaxing hot stone, Swedish, or aromatherapy massage with essential oils, you may be surprised that the massage techniques for a sports massage can be more uncomfortable than soothing. Prepare to feel a little sore the next day (but you're already used to that, aren't you?)
For professional and amateur athletes, massages during training can keep the body limber, improve flexibility, and reduce overall aches and pains.
A pre-event sports massage can stimulate your muscles and enhance their performance before a big competition.
A post-event treatment can help you recover and treat any musculoskeletal injuries with specific techniques.
In order to save money on a sport massage, try these tactics:
- Be flexible with the location, days and times. You might be able to negotiate a break on the price if you make it easier on the therapist by visiting their location and booking during a slow time in their schedule.
- Book a 60-minute sports massage.
- Book multiple sessions at once with a package deal. If you book five massages with A Massage for Fitness in the Philadelphia area, you'll save 10% on the price of a massage.
Before you book a session, be sure to check that your therapist is licensed to practice massage therapy and has accredited certifications.
Through the Federation of State Massage Therapy Board, you can search by state and then the therapist's name to ensure they have their license. Some licenses and board certifications to look for include:
- National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (BCTMB)
- Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT)
- Certifications in Advanced Myofascial Techniques (CAMT)
- American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) professional member
As you search for therapists that can address your specific athletic injuries and pains, you'll probably find that most therapists can conduct sports massages as well as other massage services (like Swedish massage and reflexology), but it's always best to check.
You'll also want to talk to the sport massage therapist about the techniques they use on the muscles and tissues. They might use kneading, wringing, and scooping strokes with deep pressure to reduce muscle tension.
As an athlete, massage therapy isn't just great for your muscles, it can also reduce mental stress and relax you for hours afterwards. You're already taking care of your body by working out and pushing it to its limits, so why not add a little relaxation and recovery to your wellness routine?