Is Massage Therapy a Medical Expense?


Massage therapists everywhere will agree that a regular massage is certainly great for your health and well-being, but can you claim a massage as a legitimate medical expense? Well, actually, yes you can. Here are three ways you may be able to get that massage paid for.

If you have a flexible savings account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA), it allows you to save money tax-free from each paycheck - and you can use the funds to pay for massage. Definitely worth looking into, because if you don’t use your allocated funds by the end of every year they go right back to your employer.

Massage therapy is one thing you may be able to use the funds for, as a medical massage is a ‘qualified medical expense’ – but you’ll have to have a written prescription from your healthcare provider. The IRS also states that “medical care expenses must be primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental ailment.” So, if you’re getting a massage to relieve or help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, stress, back pain, arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression or for pain management, you can claim.

Your healthcare provider will need to prove: 


• Medical necessity: why you need massage therapy

• Frequency: number of sessions per month

• Duration: length of the treatment recommended.

 Make sure you keep the prescription for the IRS as well.

Are massages tax deductible expenses?

Talking of the IRS, you might not be aware that there are some situations where you can potentially deduct massage therapy on your taxes – but as with FSA and HSA you have to make sure that your massages qualify.

You can’t deduct massage from your taxes if:
 • You paid for it used with an HSA or FSA account.

• It was a pleasure massage and not carried out for a nonmedical reason (or for a medical reason not officially diagnosed by a medical professional.)

You may be able to deduct your massages if you’re getting them for a medical reason, and you have an official diagnosis.

According to the American Massage Therapy Association, in 2016, 17% of all Americans talked to their healthcare providers about massage therapy, and 63% of those doctors either referred the patient to a massage therapist or recommended medical massage. If a doctor, or another licensed medical practitioner, like a chiropractor, prescribes massage, it’s worth looking into deducting the expense on your taxes


Keeping records of your medical massage 

If you’re going to deduct medical massage on your taxes, you need to make sure that your massage therapist is licensed in his or her state of practice, and always keep your receipts.

Insurance Covered Massage Therapy 

Did you know that your insurance could cover massage therapy too? It all depends on the insurance plan and carrier, and as with all insurance policies, there will be terms and restrictions.

Some plans cover massages under the form of chiropractic care, while others cover a small amount of each massage treatment, say 15 minutes. You can find out if your insurance covers massage therapy by taking a closer look at your health insurance policy or asking your agent.

So, there you have it, three ways in which you may be able to get the cost of your medical massage treatments covered!