Massage Envy is a franchised chain that caters to members who want the benefits of regular massage and facials at an affordable price—$65 to $90 a month for one 50-minute service, depending on the market, plus tip. At this price there are fewer amenities like no private relaxation rooms, no fluffy robes, no private lockers or showers. And you have to sign up for a monthly membership program to get the lower rate.
When Massage Envy first opened, there was a big price difference between it and the typical day spa. Massage Envy's introductory price was $45 to $50 while day spas typically charged $80. But the market has changed. Massage Envy is so popular that their prices have crept up.
At the same time, more day spas are offering membership programs, so their prices have come down—$70 for a monthly treatment is common. A private practitioner might charge $80, but you don't have to tip. Basically, the price difference is not as great as it once was in the past, so it's worth checking out the other options in your market before you sign up.
What to Expect
The quality of the massage depends on the massage therapist you get—their experience, talent, and how much they care. All the therapists are professional and licensed. Massage Envy recruits from massage schools, so you are more likely to get a "green" therapist who is still learning the ropes at work.
But Massage Envy also has some highly experienced therapists. Many like the fact that they stay busy rather than sitting around with gaps in their schedule, and develop a regular clientele and help them improve, which is more gratifying than a "fluff and buff" treatment on someone you never see again—common at resort spas. So you can request a more experienced therapist, especially if you get many massages and need something more than a light Swedish.
How good a massage is also depends on the fit between the client and the therapist. Once you've found the right person, try to make a standing appointment. This works well because they can get to know your body and what you need. The most popular therapists also book up quickly, so you might need a standing appointment to get the therapist you want.
Before you sign up for a membership, you can try out an introductory massage for a special price that is $10 lower than the price members get, but you can only do it once. (You can still get a massage if you're not a member, but it will be at a higher rate.) And you can't hop around town getting the introductory rate at different locations.
Even if you aren't totally wowed by your introductory massage, it might be worth it to join and try out different therapists until you find a massage therapist you like. If you decide to become a member, Massage Envy has you sign a one-year contract where you agree to be billed monthly for a massage, whether you use it or not. That can freak some people out. But if you don't use your massage one month, there are many ways to deal with it.
First, any unused session rolls over to the next month. You don't lose it if you don't use it that month. You can get two massages the next month, or a massage and a facial in the locations which offer them, for a $10 surcharge due to higher product costs.
Other options: if you miss one month: you can take that missed session and add a half-hour to two other massages, making them 90-minute treatments. You can give you massage to a friend or family member for a $10 surcharge. And if you're going away for a while, you can "freeze" your membership for up to six months. That's a lot of flexibility. You're also allowed to cancel the agreement if you move to a location that is more than 25 miles from a Massage Envy, or if you have a letter from your doctor.
Types of Massage Treatments
If you want a massage twice a month, you can get additional massages for the same member's price. You can also use your monthly payment towards a facial, which are offered at some locations. Massage Envy offers a whole range of massage types that you can try, including Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, reflexology and trigger point therapy, hot stone massage, pre-natal massage, chair massage, and geriatric massage. This encourages you to try different modalities and to address long-standing problems.
Clearly Massage Envy is doing something right. Since being introduced in 2002, Massage Envy has grown at breakneck speed. There are more than 1100 Massage Envy locations in 49 states. Not surprisingly, Arizona, California, Texas, New Jersey, and Florida have the most locations. About 70 percent of the customers are women. And it's the largest employer of massage therapists in the country.