8 Things to Consider Before Buying a Massage Gift Certificate.

Do you love massage and want to share the experience with a loved one, but not sure if they'll like a gift certificate?

Massage gift certificates aren't appropriate for everyone so here are some things to consider before you gift a bodywork session.

How do they feel about touch? Perhaps they feel they could benefit from bodywork, but are uncomfortable with the idea of a lot of touch. If they've mentioned wanting to try it but feel hesitant, consider gifting them a session with a practitioner who is able to work within their comfort zone and skilled in multiple modalities. Energy Techniques like Polarity Therapy, Reiki and CranioSacral Therapy can be done with the client fully clothed and the gentle, stationary holds won't overwhelm their system like a Swedish or Deep Tissue massage.

Does the recipient love all massage and/or bodywork? Then they'd probably love a gift certificate! Find out if they have a favorite practitioner or gift them a session with someone you really like. If you live out of their area, use online reviews to find practitioners nearby.

Does he/she have a favorite massage therapist they see regularly? If so, be sure to purchase a certificate from that practitioner. Perhaps gift them a longer session than they normally schedule, or purchase a package of sessions so they can enjoy multiple treatments!

Do they enjoy a particular type of massage? If someone loves Deep Tissue massage, but receives a gift certificate for a practitioner who primarily focuses on gentle techniques and energy balancing, it won't be a great fit. If choosing a practitioner for someone, consider if the person will enjoy that style of massage. Also consider whether he/she would prefer a spa environment or a professional office setting. 

Is he/she looking for a regular massage practitioner or something specific in bodywork but doesn't know where to start or hasn't found the right fit yet? Finding the right massage therapist can take  time. If you know of a practitioner you think they'd love, a gift certificate is a great way to introduce them!

Has he/she never mentioned receiving or enjoying massage? Bodywork isn't enjoyed by all. If you're considering gifting a session to someone, but they haven't mentioned receiving bodywork or an interest in it, a gift certificate may not be the best present. 

What type of session is best? If they really love massage, gifting a longer session of 90 minutes or 2 hours is a lovely way to give them more self-care time. If you're unsure of whether they enjoy massage but still want to gift one, start with a short session of 20-30 minutes- they can always upgrade! Gift a Hot Stone massage if you want to give them deep relaxation, treatment, energy balancing and pampering all in one!

Know your state's gift certificate laws: Different states have different laws about gift certificates expiring or declining in value. In WA state, gift certificates never expire. For this reason, most massage practitioners offer certificates by dollar amount, not session length or type. Many practitioners will also let the purchaser redeem the certificate if the recipient decides not to use it after a certain amount of time has passed.

This list is based on the numerous questions I've answered about massage gift certificates since starting my private practice in 2008. Feel free to ask additional questions or leave a comment below if this was helpful!