Let's be honest- most of us have found ourselves pinching pennies these days. We are seeing the cost of necessities rise while our incomes stay the same. This means most of us don't have the disposable income we once did (if we ever had it at all!).
So how can we make space in our tight budgets for wellness? Things like massage therapy, chiropractic treatment, or fitness classes?
We all know wellness and preventative therapies are important- none of us disagree on that. But during tough economic times, when we have to prioritize, it is sometimes difficult to justify spending money on these types of treatments "just in case" when we need to be spending or saving it on the "here and now".
I'd like to share with you some advice on budgeting for wellness as well as some insight on how I keep the cost of treatment for my clients as low as possible.
1) Consider your Health an Investment: Think of your body like it's a car. What happens if we don't take care of it? It wears down, doesn't perform well, and can even be dangerous. If we don't take care of it routinely, eventually we will be forced to when it breaks down- and a break down means not only inconvenience and stress, but likely much more unexpected expense that it would have cost us if we'd just taken care of it in the first place.
This is a perfect example of how your body functions. Ignore the issues, and it will cost you in the end, not just in money through treatments and lost wages, but in pain, recovery time, and the ability to enjoy life.
Investing smaller amounts in your health and wellness now, in something like a monthly massage, gym membership, or nutritional counseling, will save you greater expenses down the road.
2) Establish a Routine: This is the MOST important and beneficial way to keep wellness costs as low as possible. Not only does a routine help with creating a budget, establishing a regular wellness regimen will keep you healthier in between services so you don't need them as often.
This is especially true when it comes to massage therapy. Whether you come in once a week, once a month, or a few times a year, consistent and routine sessions are key. Your body will begin to adjust to the treatment, and will learn how to maintain better health in that time. Healthy muscles will be able to heal and eliminate pain and inflammation without the constant crutch of massage.
Sometimes establishing the routine can take an initial investment. If I notice a new patient has several pressing issues I will often recommend they come see me more frequently at first. But this is so I can quickly address those issues and immediately guide you into a more budget-friendly schedule, where you feel good in between those appointments even if more time has elapsed.
3) Stop Lamenting Over Insurance: This thought process actually holds a lot of people back from getting a massage, "I wish Insurance would cover massage therapy." When someone says this to me, my answer back is, "You shouldn't."
If lack of insurance coverage is what is holding you back from getting a massage you should know that insurance companies are NOT your friend when it comes to wellness and never will be.
It can be frustrating to pay into a system all your working life and feel like you can't get from it what you actually need. But of course you don't get what you need from an insurance company- they are money driven businesses, not wellness driven businesses! Often the things they cover versus the things they don't make absolutely no sense. And when they do actually cover a service, they tend to tie the hands of the practitioner and dictate how they can practice. This is the number one reason why most massage therapists (including myself) don't accept insurance even if a patient's plan will provide coverage. You don't need a money-hungry corporation telling your LMT what muscles they can and can't massage, and then denying coverage if they don't comply, or even if they word a report incorrectly.
Because of the constant denial and hoops LMTs would have to jump through, if massage were regularly covered by insurance it would sky-rocket the cost of a session, which would leave uninsured patients unable to afford even a monthly service. By staying separate from insurance, massage businesses can control cost and keep it as low as possible for you.
4) Don't Fear Tightening Your Belt: In this country, we are accustomed to excess, and we are used to having whatever we want when we want it. We see this luxury as being normal. Therefore, when we happen upon a time where we have to pick and choose between purchases it can feel scary. A survival response is activated when we feel like we do not have the tools to survive, the same survival response that is activated if we were facing disease or famine. This is because having to choose feels like sacrifice, and if we have to sacrifice it must mean we are not doing well. But the reality is, considering the lifestyles we live, we are probably not having to choose between getting a massage or paying essential bills. Usually what we are having to choose between is getting a massage or an unnecessary expense like going out to dinner. This is not the same thing as facing crisis- our bodies just react as if it is, so we believe it is.
It is ok to have to tighten your belt once in a while. We are constantly fed this lie, through media, news, celebrity/influencer lifestyle, glorification of excess, that having to budget means you are a failure, or that you are in danger of losing everything. This is really a marketing tactic to make you open up your pocketbooks and spend, even if it's on unnecessary and unwise purchases.
However, if money is extremely tight, threatening your basic needs, and you still want the benefits of regular massage- your LMT can work with you. Perhaps that month you just get a half-hour treatment where the focus is on the main issues instead of a 90 minute full-body session, or maybe it's time to extend your schedule out another week or two.
One more note on this- if you are stressed over a budget you should feel comfortable talking to your LMT about it. If your LMT makes your feel badly about this subject, they are probably not the right therapist for you. A good massage therapist who is invested in your wellness should help figure out a routine and treatment plan that works for your body and your budget, as well.
Are you interested in adding massage therapy to your wellness routine? If so, check out my scheduling page here to book online, or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 518-250-9533
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