While I was getting an expensive four-part body treatment at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale — offered to me free of charge — I thought of that saying, “Do more of what you love.” The quote generally applies to work.
But as I lay on that massage table for 80 minutes, my masseuse, rubbing the knots out of my back and neck, then covering me up like a burrito for the herbal-infused heat wrap, my eyes covered with lavender-soaked pads, my mind, without need to exert any mental energy at all, realized, “This is what I love! How can I do more of this?”
Well, if you’re like me, I’m lucky if I splurge on such treatment once a year, let alone monthly. And yet, there are ways to affordably incorporate more of this relaxing comfort into your lifestyle.
You’ve probably already found great deals for a massage or body treatment on sites like Groupon, Living Social, and other deal of the day sites, but most of those discounts are good for just one treatment. So, we at Living on the Cheap have found even more ways you can get your monthly massage. So go ahead and grab that great Groupon or LivingSocial deal. (We do!) But then try one of these ideas too.
Participate in massage research
Massage Warehouse, a company that provides equipment and supplies to complementary and alternative medicine professionals, recently launched Massage Warehouse Sanctuary to offer affordable — and educational — massages during massage conferences. Attendees and exhibitors donate $10 and get a 10-minute treatment for the face or feet, including basic reflexology, stone massage, exfoliation, herbal ball treatment, facial rejuvenation, and more. While there, you can buy as many treatments as you like. Your treatment doesn’t just benefit you. The dollars spent goes toward massage research, benefiting the Touch Research Institute and the Massage Therapy Foundation.
Visit a massage school
You can spend as little as $20 on a full-body massage at your local massage school, says Whitney L. Smith, blogger at Pumps and Circumstance. She says the treatments are performed by students in training, overseen by professional therapists who make sure your procedure is performed properly. Since the treatment is in a more clinical setting, don’t expect the frills you’d find at a spa, such as the plush robe or hot tea in a comfortable waiting room. You will get the benefit of quality massage oils and probably soft music. Students are eager to please, so you’ll be in good hands. Male or female therapist? If you have a gender preference, you can make that request when you call the school. You can find a school near you through the American Massage Therapy Association.
Go to Chinatown
If you live in a larger city or a metro area where there’s a Chinese population concentration, you’ll likely find an affordable massage there. Josh Scharf, president of Archetype Ltd. of Short Hills, New Jersey, says he travels extensively for business to China, where massage is very inexpensive. “A one and a half hour massage usually costs $15 in China,” he says. But if he needs a massage while at home, he heads to New York City’s Chinatown, where he can get an hour-long, Shiatsu-style (very hard pressure) treatment for $40.
Ask for a discount
Day spas like Massage Envy offer memberships as part of their business plan, but if you cannot find such a place in your hometown, ask the spa you’d like to frequent about discounts for regular customers or rewards programs. If they don’t have this, they might implement it if you ask. Shopping local vs. going to the national chain is another option to finding lower rates.
Attend a health fair or community event
You may find a great chair massages at local health fairs, community arts and music events. You can also get a FREE chair massage at sporting events such as marathons and golf tournaments. You may have to pay to participate in the sporting event, but if you’re already there, you might as well take advantage of the offer. To find such events, stay alert to what’s happening in your area.
Go to the airport
You can find a chair (and even table) massage for cheap at some airports. One company, XpresSpa, offers a 15-minute head and back massage for $35. I’ve had one for as little as $15. If you travel a lot, this can be a fast and convenient way to fit that affordable massage into your lifestyle — and you don’t even have to take off your clothes.
Wait for National Spa Week
In the spring and fall, when National Spa Week rolls around, spas across the country offer special discounts on signature treatments, usually $50 each. In addition to announcing special events and discounts occurring during these two weeks every year, the Spa Week website also lists daily specials year-round. You can also save when you buy gifts cards for special occasions. Sign up online for notifications in your email.
Get it FREE from your partner
If all else fails, and you really need a body treatment, why not ask your spouse or partner? Even if you need to pay to take a “spa 101” or couples spa class somewhere first to learn the proper techniques, from there on out, it’s FREE.
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