Do Massage Therapists Make House Calls?

Mary McMahon

Massage therapists will in fact make house calls, in a practice which is known as outcall massage. Not all massage therapists offer this service, and those who do usually charge more for outcall massage than they do for massage in a studio or spa. This is because the therapist must transport his or her massage table and necessary tools, and because travel time cuts into availability for other massages. There are a number of things to consider when seeking out a massage therapist who makes house calls, ranging from whether or not you actually want massage at home to what kind of massage you want.

Lightweight massage tables are ideal for traveling massage therapists.
Lightweight massage tables are ideal for traveling massage therapists.

Outcall massage carries a stigma in some parts of the world because it is unfortunately associated with prostitution. You should not let this dissuade you from hiring a massage therapist who will make house calls, but you should think about this when finding a massage therapist. Many professional and very talented massage therapists make house calls, and they often advertise this on their websites. Look for a website which clearly specifies non-sexual massage, and for a website which is well put together with professional photography and a biography of the massage therapist which discusses his or her style, philosophy, and training. A site which stresses the race, gender, or beauty of the massage therapist may be a front for erotic services.

In a Thai massage, a practitioner puts the client's body into various deeply relaxing poses.
In a Thai massage, a practitioner puts the client's body into various deeply relaxing poses.

The best way to find a massage therapist who offers outcall massage is through word of mouth or a spa. If you have friends who get massage at home, ask them who their therapists are, or who they recommend. Spas may offer outcall massage as a service, and if they don't, they can usually recommend a therapist who does offer massage at home or in hotel rooms. Hotels are another good source of information, since they usually maintain a list of therapists who will come to their rooms for the convenience of guests. Be aware that it you book outcall massage through a spa, it will cost much more than dealing with a massage therapist directly, since the spa wants a cut of the therapist's fee.

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A wide range of massage therapies are usually available through house calls.
A wide range of massage therapies are usually available through house calls.

A wide range of massage and bodywork services are offered when massage therapists make house calls. You can usually get appointments for standard services like Swedish, deep tissue, and acupressure, as well as Shiatsu, warm stone, and Thai massage. Massage therapists who offer other modalities like trigger point, lomi lomi, or Trager bodywork may also be willing to make house calls. Watsu therapists will only make house calls to homes equipped with pools or hot tubs, since they need a pool for their style of bodywork.

A man getting a massage.
A man getting a massage.

Massage at home can be very enjoyable because it allows you to relax in a comfortable environment after your massage. It is not a good idea to request outcall massage if your home is stressful for you; if you have noisy pets, children, neighbors, or roommates, you may want to get a massage at a spa for a more relaxing experience. In addition, be aware that when massage therapists make house calls, they need a lot of space to set up their tables and work. If you do not have a clear open space, you will not get a great massage, because the massage therapist may have to contort his or her body in order to fit.

When massage therapists make house calls, they will usually ask a few questions on the phone to confirm that you are a suitable client. They will quote a price for the massage service you request, and they will ask about available space, where to park, and whether or not you are sensitive to oils and scents. The massage therapist may also ask about access to electricity for an oil or stone warmer, and what kind of music you might like to listen to during the massage.

It is common courtesy to lay out a clear space for your massage therapist, and to tidy up just as you would for any other guest. Many massage therapists like to work barefoot, so make sure that the floor is clean in the area that he or she will be working in. Tipping is also common practice when massage therapists make house calls; a tip of 10% to 20% is appropriate, depending on how much you enjoyed the massage.

Hot stone massages may also be an offered house call service.
Hot stone massages may also be an offered house call service.

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Discussion Comments


I am completely addicted to therapeutic massage, and would have one done at my house every month if I could. Unfortunately most of the massage therapists in my area are quite expensive when it comes to house calls, so for now I'm stuck doing without. I do think that the first thing I'd do if I won the lottery would be to pick up the phone and schedule monthly home massages...indefinitely!


When it comes to learning massage therapy as continuing education, is it a good idea to take house calls to get experience?

I am considering getting a massage therapist education, and am in need of hands on experience. I though that I might be able to get that by doing house calls, but I'm also nervous that I'll get mistaken for an inappropriate masseuse if I really seek out house call work.

Does anyone have any advice?


Great article -- so many people have no concept of how to act appropriately during a massage therapy house call. Although a massage therapist is in your house as a service person, you should treat them with respect and clean up at least a little bit. That just benefits you and the therapist, as you'll have a more relaxing experience in a clean room, and they won't have to worry about stepping on your stuff.

Another good thing to remember with all massage therapy experiences is to be clear with your expectations. Many people just expect the massage therapists to read their mind about what kind of massage they want. This is a good way to end up with something the opposite of what you want -- say a reiki massage rather than a deep tissue massage, or neuromuscular therapy rather than an aromatherapy massage.

So be clear with your expectations, and make your home comfortable for the therapist if you want to get the best experience.

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