Yesterday I shared the three major mechanisms through which massage supports our bodies’ detoxification systems. Unfortunately, despite the many well-documented benefits, most insurance companies refuse to pay for massage except as a doctor-prescribed treatment for a specific (usually chronic) injury. Paid for out of pocket, regular massages can be discouragingly expensive. So today, I thought it would be worthwhile to look at a few ways that the average person can use to increase his or her access to massage’s multitude of benefits.
1. Gifts. Most people receive at least a few gifts throughout the year for their birthday, holidays, or in recognition of achievements. Instead of requesting “stuff,” consider asking for gift cards to a local massage therapist or spa. Even cards in relatively small amounts ($10, $15 or $20) can help defray the cost of a session down to a range that is within your budget or be saved and combined to cover the full cost of a massage.
2. DIY. Got a friend, sibling or spouse equally interested in increasing their access to the many benefits of massage? Take a class together and set up monthly or weekly commitments to give each other massages! I’ve heard excellent things about this online course, but you can also find good (and free!) instructional videos here or on youtube. Other good places to get started include your local library, the nearest cooperative extension office, and local high school or college continuing education programs.
3. Ask Your Doctor for a Prescription. Depending on his or her philosophy of medicine and your individual health situation, your physician may be willing (and able) to prescribe regular massages for you in a way that requires your health insurance plan to cover – or at least subsidize – them. Remember, massages have been documented to positively impact a wide variety of conditions and health challenges, from depression to arthritis to immune issues! You may be particularly eligible for this approach if you have muscle injuries, a chronic condition of any kind, or are being treated for stress-related conditions. Not all doctors will be on board with this, but you won’t know unless you ask!
4. Barter. Massage therapists, like all professionals, need (and deserve) to be paid for their work in cold hard cash (or its plastic equivalent). After all, they have to pay their bills and taxes just like the rest of us! That said, (depending on their individual situation and what you have to offer) you may find some massage therapists who are willing to barter their services. As in any barter scenario, remember to follow basic bartering rules and etiquette!
Can you think of any other great ways to improve your access to the detoxifying benefits of massage that I missed? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!