With the growing combination of traditional and alternative medicine, more hospitals offer massage therapy in medical settings.  A physician can prescribe medical massage therapy for targeting medical conditions such as:

  • Back pain
  • Muscle sprains
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Headache
  • Sciatica
  • Herniated discs
  • Whiplash
  • Scoliosis

Through a medical massage, patients will relax tight muscles, release trigger points, reduce inflammation, and increase blood circulation. Medical massages usually take 30 minutes to an hour and are performed by medical massage therapists.  While massage therapists can work in a variety of work settings (salon/spa, massage chain, self-employed), medical massage therapists primarily work in hospitals and medical clinics.

Follow on as we answer some of the most common inquiries for this occupation, such as the medical massage therapist’s salary, factors that can impact a massage therapist’s pay, how to increase the earning potential, and more.

What Is a Medical Massage Therapist?


Medical massage therapists are licensed massage therapists (LMT) who treat various health conditions diagnosed by a physician.

They treat clients by utilizing different massage techniques to tend to the unique needs of their patients. Medical massage therapists combine their anatomy, physiology, and pathology knowledge with their skills in applying pressure, stretching, and manipulating the body’s soft tissues to create the right treatment plan. These skills help relieve pain and stress and heal injuries.

Some of the daily responsibilities of medical massage therapists include the following:

  • Conducting patient assessments
  • Establishing therapy treatment goals
  • Providing massages to patients
  • Using different massage techniques to relieve pain and relax muscles
  • Talking with patients about their symptoms and medical history
  • Documenting patient progress
  • Guiding patients in improving their posture, stretching, strengthing, and overall relaxation
  • Cleaning and sanitizing their workplace.

Medical Massage Therapist Salary


Regardless of which sources we consult, medical massage therapists have an above-average salary without including tips. The average salary of medical massage therapists, according to different sources, is as follows:

  • ZipRecruiter reports a national salary of $33 per hour or $69,182 per year for medical massage therapists.
  • Salary.com details an average salary of  $27 per hour or $56,533 per year.
  • Zippia reports an average salary of $23.77 hourly or $49,451 yearly.

Salary range

As per the data collected by ZipRecruiter, the salary for medical massage therapists ranges from $32,000 to $147,500, with the 25th percentile being $44,500, the 75th percentile being $82,500, and the 90th percentile being $123,000.

According to Salary.com, the top 10% of medical massage therapists make $72,581, while the bottom 10% make $45,223.

Massage therapist salaries compared across states

The state you live in can impact how much you can make as a medical massage therapist.

The highest-paying states for medical massage therapists are:

  1. Alaska – $62,866
  2. Connecticut – $56,986
  3. New York – $56,852
  4. Rhode Island – $56,718
  5. New Jersey – $56,584
  6. Massachusetts – $56,256
  7. New Hampshire – $55,607
  8. Pennsylvania – $55,433
  9. Delaware – $54,972
  10. Vermont – $54,734

Whereas the lowest-paying states for medical massage therapists are:

  1. Florida – $40,161
  2. Alabama – $41,317
  3. Georgia – $41,422
  4. Mississippi – $41,583
  5. Arkansas – $41,737
  6. Oklahoma – $41,847
  7. Colorado – $42,158
  8. South Carolina – $42,191
  9. Wyoming – $42,458
  10. Hawaii – $42,487

Average salary by work setting

The type of work setting plays a significant role in your salary as a massage therapist. The average salary for massage therapists, depending on the work setting, is:

Self-employed massage therapist salary

According to data collected by Salary.com, on average, a self-employed massage therapist makes $43,518, with the range falling between $38,955 and $49,986.

As per the data collected by ZipRecruiter, the national average salary of a self-employed massage therapist is $60,196 or $29/hour, with the 25th percentile being $40,500, the 75th percentile being $73,500, and the 90th percentile being $94,000.

Lastly, Payscale reports an average base salary of $40,000 per year or $60.36 per hour, with the 10th percentile being $19.49 and the 90th percentile being $104.76.

What Factors Can Impact a Massage Therapist’s Salary?


  • Experience: In general, more experienced massage therapists are able to earn higher salaries. Payscale reports that entry-level massage therapists make $19.47 per hour, whereas massage therapists with 10-19 years of experience earn $29.85 per hour.
  • Location: Massage therapists working in urban areas usually earn more than those working in rural areas. When considering the location for a massage therapist role, remember also to consider the cost of living.
  • Education: Education also plays a huge role, as most states require massage therapists to get licensure, for which you need to complete an accredited program. Massage therapists with higher levels of education may earn more than their colleagues.
  • Specialization: Specializing in particular techniques means that massage therapists can charge higher rates and have more job opportunities.

How Can You Increase Your Earning Potential as a Massage Therapist?

You can take many measures to increase your earning potential as a medical massage therapist. Firstly, you can continue your education. This way, you’ll improve your pay, learn new techniques, and stay up-to-date on the latest trends.

You can also get certified in specialized massage techniques. Some of the areas you can get certified are:

  • Reflexology
  • Pain and palliative care
  • Sports massage
  • Oncology massage
  • Military veteran massage
  • Clinical rehabilitative massage

You can get these specialized credentials from the National Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB).

Another measure to increase your earning potential is to network by joining local massage therapy associations and attending conferences, which will allow you to meet with other therapists and open up more opportunities.


The U.S. Bureau of Statistics reports a 20% increase in employment for massage therapists this decade. Alongside the satisfying salary, there are many reasons to consider a career as a medical massage therapist. Some of them are:

  • Low-cost education
  • Choosing your type of employment
  • Setting your own working hours
  • Starting your career quickly after graduation
  • Low-stress work environment
  • Learning transferable skills
  • Staying active
  • Building relationships with clients and peers

If this a career in massage therapy interests you and you want to learn more about them, check out these resources: