Revised and updated November 1, 2019.
How do stress-laden people find relief? An increasing number have turned to regular massage therapy in recent years. Entrepreneurs who want to buy into a proven concept have a solid list of options from which to choose with this list of the 10 best massage franchises of 2020.
The massage industry has been working hard to spread the good news of the many health benefits people can reap from getting a regular massage. The growing list of issues for which many find relief through massage includes stress-related insomnia, digestive disorders, headaches, sports injuries, soft tissue strains or injuries, anxiety, myofascial pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, and temporomandibular joint pain.
IBISWorld notes that the massage services market was worth more than $18 billion in 2018 in the US. According to the latest fact sheet from the American Massage Therapy Association, the number of people in the US who received at least one massage from July 2017 to July 2018 was in the range of 47.5 to 63.6 million adults (19-28%).
Here are the top 10 massage franchises of 2020:
1. Massage Envy
Massage Envy offers a basic membership that includes one monthly 1-hour massage or facial, special pricing on other services, discounts for family members, free massages when friends are referred, and automatic carryover of unused sessions (or sharing). Additional services offered include Streto customized stretching sessions and skincare services such as facials, chemical peels, and microderm infusion treatments.
Founded by John Leonesio in Scottsdale, Arizona in 2002 and franchising since 2003, the number of locations steadily expanded from 457 in 2008 to a high of 1,189 in 2017 but has since dropped to the current total of 1,161, none of which are company-owned and two of which are located outside the US.
2. Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa
Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa offers a monthly membership that saves customers more than a third of what non-members would pay for the same services. It includes one hour-long massage per month (or a facial), along with discounts on other services and gift cards. In addition to massages and facials, locations also offer hot towel treatments, hair removal, scalp massages, cold stone face massages, and an array of add-ons such as aromatherapy. The company recently adopted Zenoti Software for its point-of-sale, digital marketing, and analytics needs.
Founded by John Marco in 2004 and franchising since 2006, the number of locations has grown rapidly in recent years from only 10 in 2008 to the current total of 434 (an increase of 54 from the previous year’s total of 380), only one of which is company-owned and 28 of which are located outside the US.
3. Elements Massage
Elements Massage offers customers one main service: Personalized therapeutic massage to address the specific needs of each client. Its Elements Wellness Program is a month-to-month subscription (cancellation requires 30-day notice) with automatic carryover of unused sessions. The chain also now offers its AromaRitual aromatherapy add-on with four different treatments (Sweet Orange, Energize, Refresh, and Calm).
Founded by Michele Merhib in Aurora, Colorado in 2000 and franchising since 2006, the number of locations has grown in recent years from 79 in 2008 to the current total of 249, of which nine are company-owned and one is located outside the US.
4. Massage Heights
Massage Heights offers what it calls Lifestyle Programs, which are customized memberships based on the services each customer desires. Any plan includes free aromatherapy, 50% off non-member pricing for other services, automatic rollover of unused sessions, and loyalty program points. The company recently rolled out dynamic cupping therapy in all locations.
Founded by Wayne and Shayne Evans in San Antonio, Texas in 2004 and franchising since 2005, the number of locations has declined in recent years from a high of 152 in 2016 to the current total of 142, of which three are company-owned and 13 are located outside the US.
MassageLuXe has three different membership levels for customers to enjoy no-contract services such as massages and facials in a relaxing, luxurious setting. One of its unique membership offerings is unlimited 15-minute daily HydroLuXe dry water massage sessions. Unused sessions automatically rollover as long as the membership is active and in good standing.
Founded by Todd Beckman in Fenton, Missouri in 2008 and franchising since then, there are now 64 locations (an increase of 13 from the previous year’s total of 57), none of which are company-owned and all of which are located in the US.
6. The Woodhouse Day Spa
The Woodhouse Day Spa goes the extra mile to pamper its customers with a comfy robe, reflexology sandals, and some time in the Quiet Room for a cup of tea before they experience one or more of its many services. The offerings include massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, waxing, body treatments, sleep treatments, and more. It even spells out 99 Elements of The Woodhouse Experience so customers know they’re getting the same experience at any location.
Founded by Jeni Garrett in Victoria, Texas in 2001 and franchising since 2003, there are now 64 locations (an increase of 6 from the previous year’s total of 58), of which four are company-owned and all are located in the US.
7. LaVida Massage
LaVida Massage offers holistic health and wellness services for the whole family, including massage and skincare solutions such as ultrasonic facials and designer peels, making use of the Dermalogica line of products. Its membership program saves customers 25% on all services and products.
Founded in Brighton, Michigan in 2007 and franchising since then, there are now 54 locations (down from its high of 59 in 2015), only one of which is company-owned and all of which are located in the US.
8. Massage Green Spa
Massage Green Spa offers a variety of massage services, infrared sauna sessions, and facials in environmentally-friendly facilities using eco-friendly products. Monthly memberships can include any or all of its different services, with cost depending on the mix of services each customer desires. Like most massage chains, gift cards are available in various amounts.
Founded in 2008 and franchising since 2009, the number of locations expanded rapidly from six in 2011 to 82 in 2016, but the company website now only lists 54 locations, which is 5 fewer than the previous year’s total of 59.
Spavia is dedicated to providing a spa experience using only eco-friendly products that are organic, paraben-free, and all-natural while also conserving energy in its operations. The chain offers a range of services that include massages, body treatments, facials, eyelash extensions, waxing, mineral makeup application and lessons, and sunless tanning. Three different membership levels are available.
Founded by Allison and Marty Langenderfer in Denver, Colorado in 2005 and franchising since 2007, the number of locations has expanded in recent years from three in 2012 to the current total of 42 (an increase of 10 from the previous year’s total of 32), none of which are company-owned and all of which are located in the US.
10. Massage Retreat and Spa
Massage Retreat and Spa employs only licensed professional therapists to provide a range of spa services such as massages (with add-ons like cold stone therapy, aromatherapy, foot scrubs, hot towel therapy, and so on), waxing, facials, and eyebrow/eyelash tinting. Customers can sign up for a month-to-month membership program (30-day notice for cancellation) including either a one-hour massage or a custom facial along with discounts on other services.
Founded by Lee Oberg in 2007, there are currently six locations in towns scattered around the outskirts of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
An Important Note About Our Methodology
The franchises on this list were ranked according to the number of units in the franchise system. If you are a prospective franchisee searching for franchise opportunities that meet or exceed certain performance benchmarks for sales, profits, and return on investment, please check out this list of America’s Most Lucrative Franchises.