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Is Massage Therapy a Medical Expense?

Many will agree that a regular massage is great for your health and wellbeing, but can you claim a massage as a legitimate medical expense? Well, actually, yes you can. Here are a few ways you may be able to get the cost of your medical massage treatments covered.

If you have a flexible savings account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA), you can use the funds to pay for massages. This is definitely worth looking into with your employer. However, you will need an actual prescription from your healthcare provider recommending massage therapy. It’s also important that the treatment received is primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental ailment. For example, 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 it - as long as you have a prescription.

Your healthcare provider will access:

  • Medical necessity - why do you need massage therapy?

  • Frequency - how often should you receive massages?

  • Duration - what is the recommended length of the treatment?

Are massages tax deductible expenses?

Well, that depends. The massage may be tax deductible if you’re getting them for a medical reason. However, you can’t deduct massages from your taxes if:

  • You paid for it using an HSA or FSA account.

  • It was not a therapeutic massage.

  • You do not have a prescription.

  • You do not have receipts or a statement from your massage therapy provider.

If you have a medical diagnosis, talk to your doctor. Medical providers are willing to discuss and recommend massage for their patients. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, in 2017, 46% of Americans talked about massage with their healthcare providers. Of those discussions, 47% of doctors/healthcare providers referred a massage therapist or strongly recommended massage therapy. The referring doctor doesn’t need to be your primary care physician. Try asking your chiropractor as well.

Keeping records of your medical massage

As mentioned previously, it's important to keep records of your medical massages for tax purposes. If you want to deduct medical massages, you need to make sure that your massage therapist is licensed and always keeps a record of your payment history.

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