Stiff competition

Choosing in-home masseuse visits vs. owning an “anytime” massage item


For decades, massage therapists have offered in-home visits to clients with ongoing aches or injuries who need relief. However, as mass-produced massage products become more advanced and offer more styles and options than before (hello, shiatsu), there’s a real debate over what’s more practical: having a therapist come to your house for an in-home massage experience, or simply owning an at-home massager and using it anytime you like.

The benefits of the in-home visit

The in-home massage experience hasn’t changed much over the years. Rather than traveling somewhere and visiting a spa, the client simply makes an appointment — perhaps because they’re housebound and unable to travel for health reasons; or, they may simply enjoy the convenience of an at-home visit. Cut to the scene we’ve all seen on TV with the therapist lugging the big folding table up the driveway (or worse, several flights of stairs) to get started.

The pros are obvious:

  • Convenience. The therapist comes to you, eliminating your travel time and the hassle of leaving your house.
  • Social. Over time, you and your therapist can build a relationship. Who knows — they may even become a friendly fixture in your life.
  • Experience. As they get to know you and your particular physical challenges, your therapist can give you a body massage that addresses your particular needs on any given week. Sounds delightful, right?

Hidden drawbacks

  • Cost. Masseuse fees vary greatly depending on where you live, what services you request, and the duration of your treatment. However, your masseuse’s gas, vehicle wear-and-tear, and drive time are all factored into their fees, which can be significant. Beware of extras during your massage like hot-stone treatment or aromatherapy that can drive the price up.
  • Expense creep. Whatever you’re paying, remember: It can be tough to quit getting those massage visits once you get used to them. A one-time visit fee of $100 doesn’t seem so bad, but if you start enjoying massages weekly, the costs really add up over a single month: $400. That’s a pretty nice car payment there.

The benefits of owning your own massager

  • Technology. Today’s massage products have come a long way from even 10 years ago. As the #1 Brand in Massage, HoMedics offers an impressive line of chair and cushion massagers that let you customize massage type (e.g., shiatsu, deep tissue, rolling, tapping, etc.) across several different massage zones. Add in impressive options like soothing heat, and it’s a surprisingly therapeutic experience.
  • Control. Forget the hassle of trying to explain your exact problem to a masseuse — simply purchase a quality handheld massager like the HoMedics Dual Temp Percussion Pro Hot & Cold Massager, place the head over the trouble spot, and let the vibrations penetrate and do the work. And, unlike a masseuse, the percussive heads don’t get fatigued or tire out.
  • Comfort. Especially with deep-tissue massage, therapists trying to penetrate into a muscle group can dig too deep and cause muscles to tighten up — essentially fighting the massage. Contrast this with a quality handheld massager, where vibrations relax the muscle and avoid that painful “digging in” sensation.
  • Cost. Even as massage products have become increasingly affordable in recent years, buying one is usually costlier than a one-time in-home visit. However, if you do the math and add up the hours of relief your own massage item can give you vs. regular masseuse visits, the cost difference over time becomes clear.

Other factors to consider

Ask yourself: Is massage something you’ll need only once, or something you plan on receiving on a regular basis? If it’s a one-and-done deal, maybe a one-time mobile massage visit is all you’ll need. However, if you think you’ll want to enjoy relief from your aches more often, then owning your own massage product is a more cost-effective option.

Best of all, you don’t have to watch the clock during your massage. So you can feel free to go ahead and let that massage go a little longer than usual without having to eat ramen noodles the rest of the week to pay for it.

Want to do some more research before you buy? See our complete line of soothing massage items here.