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The Average Salary of a Lymphatic Drainage Therapist
Lymphatic massage is a very gentle type of massage designed to stimulate the lymphatic system. It is used to treat the accumulation of fluid in the body. Those who do this type of massage are called lymphatic drainage therapists. They make rates comparable to other massage workers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not differentiate between lymphatic drainage therapists and other massage therapists. This is because many therapists who practice lymphatic drainage massage also are certified in other types of massage, often performing those types of massage in conjunction with lymphatic massage in the same session. The bureau reports that the average for all massage therapists, including those who concentrate on lymphatic therapy, was $39,770 per year in May 2010. This converts to $19.12 per hour. Data from Samara Christy, therapist with Samara Programs, Inc., says the average rate for a one-hour lymphatic decongestion therapy session was $85 in 2011.
According to the BLS, massage therapists, including those certified in lymphatic massage, earned $17,970 per year, the equivalent of $8.64 per hour, in the 10th percentile in May 2010. Pay at the median was $34,900 per year, or $16.78 hourly. Those in the 90th percentile earned $69,000 per year, or $33.17 per hour. Thus, massage therapists who perform lymphatic techniques can earn anywhere from $18,000 to $70,000.
Massage therapists such as those who conduct lymphatic massage often work in partnership with other professionals. For example, they may work in salons. The highest-employing sector in May 2010 according to the BLS was personal care services, which paid an average of $37,620 per year. The highest pay was in specialty hospitals, where rates averaged $55,020 annually.
Massage therapists, particularly those with experience and a good reputation, often open their own practices. Those who are self-employed have much more control over their incomes, as they decide how many massages to do and what their rate will be. Some massage therapists who are just starting out may charge as little as $20 per session, while more experienced therapists who provide service to upper-class or celebrity clients may charge several hundred dollars per session. This means that there is a great deal of variance in what self-employed lymphatic therapists make. However, Christy asserts that a good rule of thumb is to charge 10 to 15 percent more for a lymphatic massage than for a one-hour massage. For example, if you charge $100 for a standard massage, the lymphatic rate would be $115.
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Wanda Thibodeaux is a freelance writer and editor based in Eagan, Minn. She has been published in both print and Web publications and has written on everything from fly fishing to parenting. She currently works through her business website, Takingdictation.com, which functions globally and welcomes new clients.