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Can I Write Massage Off As A Health Expense?

Yes, But…

As a medical massage therapist I often work with clients who have been recommended to me by their general practitioner, physical therapist, or chiropractor. Many clients come to massage therapists while going through physical therapy, recovering from injury, as part of their chronic pain management, and post-surgery recovery. Others may have exhausted standard medical solutions and are turning to massage as a last means to manage their health. As long as the massage was recommended or prescribed by a medical professional, massage therapy can be a qualified medical expense that is tax deductible.

This is important to know since many people overlook the cost of massage therapy when considering their health costs and miss out on the benefits it can provide. As a tax deductible expense, massage therapy can become more affordable to those who are struggling to maintain their health or manage chronic pain that does not respond to standard medical solutions.

I am not a tax professional and am not making any suggestions nor recommendations. It is always best to seek the advice of your tax professional. However as massage therapy is being suggested and prescribed more often by both physicians and psychologists, it more commonly acknowledged as a health necessity, even if insurance does not cover it.

If you plan to include massage therapy in your deductions you do need:

  • A copy in writing from your medical provider recommending the use of massage therapy as necessary for the treatment of a chronic illness, or to aid the recuperation process from a significant injury

  • A receipt for the massage therapy sessions received, with a date and cost

Sometimes you may also be asked for a copy of the notes for your massage session, showing the impact and progress of massage therapy, especially when dealing with insurance. Let your therapist know when booking that you are intending to get reimbursed by insurance so they have a heads up to write detailed notes for your session. You can attain these notes by asking your therapist for a copy in writing. All therapists are required in the state of North Carolina (and some others though not all) to keep session notes, for two full years from the last session. If you plan to include massage therapy as a medical expense it is suggested that you find a therapist who is familiar with medical massage and understands how to write S.O.A.P. notes. S.O.A.P. is a specific format used for notating medical massage sessions and tracking the progress of clients and impact massage therapy has made on them.

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