Can You Use An Hsa For Massage? Here’s What You Need To Know

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Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way for individuals to save money on healthcare expenses. But, do you know if you can use an HSA for massage therapy? If you’re wondering whether or not your HSA funds can cover the cost of massages, then keep reading.

If you suffer from chronic pain, stress, anxiety, or any other physical ailments that could potentially benefit from massage therapy, this article is for you. We will be discussing everything you need to know about using your HSA funds to pay for massage therapy and what qualifies as a reimbursable expense.

“Massage therapy has been proven to help relieve stress, reduce muscle tension, and improve overall health and wellness. As more people turn to alternative forms of medicine, it’s natural to wonder if these treatments are covered under traditional insurance policies or HSA plans.”

In this post, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to make informed decisions about using your HSA funds for massage therapy. You’ll learn about what types of massages qualify as eligible expenses. We’ll also discuss how you can go about finding qualified massage therapists who accept HSA payments.

So, sit back, relax, and let us guide you through the ins and outs of using your HSA for massage therapy.

The Basics of an HSA

What is an HSA?

Health Savings Accounts, or HSAs, are tax-advantaged savings accounts that allow individuals with high-deductible health plans to save money on healthcare expenses. The money contributed to an HSA account is tax deductible and can be used for eligible medical expenses.

HSAs were created in 2003 as part of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act. They have gained popularity over the years as a way for individuals and families to save money on healthcare costs while also taking advantage of tax benefits.

How Does an HSA Work?

An HSA account is opened through a bank or other financial institution that offers them. Once open, contributions can be made directly from an individual’s paycheck or by making deposits into the account. These contributions are pre-tax, meaning they reduce taxable income.

The funds in an HSA account grow tax-free and can be withdrawn at any time to pay for eligible medical expenses, such as doctor visits, prescriptions, vision care, and more. Some HSAs even offer investment options to help the funds grow further.

What Are the Benefits of an HSA?

One of the biggest benefits of an HSA is the potential tax savings. Contributions to the account are tax deductible, which means they lower an individual’s taxable income. Additionally, any interest earned on the account is tax-free, and withdrawals used for eligible medical expenses are also tax-free.

HSAs also give individuals more control over their healthcare spending. Rather than relying solely on insurance coverage, individuals can use their HSA funds to cover out-of-pocket expenses like deductibles, copays, and prescriptions. This can lead to long-term cost savings, especially for individuals with chronic health conditions.

Who Qualifies for an HSA?

To be eligible for an HSA, an individual must have a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). According to the IRS, for 2021, an HDHP is defined as any plan with a deductible of at least $1,400 for an individual or $2,800 for a family. Additionally, the maximum out-of-pocket expenses allowed for an HDHP in 2021 are $7,000 for an individual and $14,000 for a family.

If an individual qualifies for an HSA, they can contribute up to $3,600 per year if they have individual coverage or up to $7,200 per year if they have family coverage. These contribution limits may change over time, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on current regulations.

“HSAs offer tax advantages that are unique among investment plans.” -Investopedia

Can You Use An Hsa For Massage?

The question of whether HSAs can be used for massage therapy is a common one. While massage therapy is often prescribed by doctors to help treat certain health conditions, its status as an eligible medical expense under an HSA is less clear.

According to IRS Publication 502, eligible medical expenses include “amounts paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease.” However, this definition specifically excludes “expenses that are merely beneficial to general health.”

While massage therapy can help improve overall health and wellness, it does not necessarily meet the criteria for treating a specific medical condition. As such, many financial experts advise against using HSA funds for massages unless they are prescribed by a doctor as part of a treatment plan for a specific ailment.

“While massage therapy is not typically covered under health insurance, it may be an eligible expense under a flexible spending account (FSA) or HSA if prescribed by a doctor.” -Forbes

What is Considered a Qualified Medical Expense?

An HSA or a Health Savings Account is a tax-advantaged savings account that allows individuals with high-deductible health plans to pay for medical expenses using pre-tax dollars. It offers several benefits, including reducing the amount of taxable income and allowing funds to accumulate over time.

Not all medical expenses qualify under an HSA. The IRS determines what expenses can and cannot be paid for through an HSA.

Medical Expenses That Are Covered

Qualified medical expenses are any costs related to the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of illness or disease. These include:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Dental care (cleanings, fillings, extractions, braces, etc.)
  • Vision care (glasses, contact lenses, eye exams, etc.)
  • Hospital services (lab tests, surgeries, inpatient care)
  • Laboratory fees
  • Chiropractic services
  • Weight loss programs if it’s advised by a healthcare professional to treat a specific condition like obesity, hypertension, or heart issues.
  • Mental health care (psychotherapy, counseling, substance abuse).
  • Transportation expenses incurred while obtaining medical services or treatments such as fuel and oil charges, parking guides, and tolls but not your cars depreciation value
  • Nursing help directly linked to medical care

This list is non-exhaustive, so you should always confirm whether an expense qualifies as “medically necessary” before trying to use money from an HSA to cover it.

Medical Expenses That Are Not Covered

You cannot use HSA money to pay for non-medical expenses. Qualified medical costs don’t include things like toothpaste, cosmetic treatments (such as facelifts), gym memberships, or over-the-counter medications (OTC drugs) without a prescription. But note that there is an exception regarding OTC drugs; if you have a doctor’s prescription, insulin, first aid products and many nursing supplies will be considered qualified medical expenses.

Your HSA funds can not also be used to purchase any insurance premiums such as Medicare supplemental policies, vision coverage or life insurance.

“Funds from your Health Savings Account should only be used to cover the actual cost of qualified medical-related expenses.” – Amy Knapp, CFP at Abaris Financial Group.

Since every taxpayer situation comes with different needs, it’s essential to work closely with your financial planner and accountant so that they can provide you reputable information that matches your circumstances before funding an HSA.

Using an HSA for massage services depends on specific factors such as if it’s been prescribed by a doctor due to a medically diagnosed condition most times, massages mimic physical therapy, therefore and could lead to benefits being covered under HSAs. Always ensure you are well-informed before making decisions about paying for health expenses using your HSA, and consider consulting an expert if in doubt.

Massage Therapy as a Medical Expense

What is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy involves manipulating the soft tissues of the body to help improve circulation, reduce tension, promote relaxation, and provide pain relief. It has been used for centuries to aid in healing processes.

Is Massage Therapy a Qualified Medical Expense?

The answer is yes! According to IRS Publication 502, massage therapy may be considered a qualified medical expense if it is recommended by a doctor to treat a specific condition or injury. Any expenses that are not covered by insurance can be paid out-of-pocket using funds from a Health Savings Account (HSA).

“The cost of the following types of treatments is includible in medical expenses and is subject to the limitations described in section 213(d)(11):… Massages.”

This means that those with an HSA can use pre-tax dollars to pay for massage therapy that is medically necessary, which can significantly reduce out-of-pocket costs.

Types of Massage Therapy Covered

There are many different types of massage therapy techniques that may be used to treat various conditions, including Swedish, deep tissue, sports massage, trigger point therapy, and more. As long as the massage is specifically prescribed by a medical practitioner, it can be used as a qualifying medical expense.

It is important to note that relaxation massages, such as those received at spas or provided for general wellness purposes, are not considered eligible medical expenses by the IRS.

Benefits of Using HSA for Massage Therapy

Using an HSA to pay for massage therapy provides several benefits beyond reducing out-of-pocket costs. One of the most significant benefits is that the funds deposited into an HSA account are tax-free. This means that any funds deposited into an HSA account can be used for qualified medical expenses without being subject to federal income tax, Social Security tax, or Medicare tax.

In addition to the tax benefits, using an HSA for massage therapy also allows individuals to use pre-tax dollars to invest in their health and healing processes. Massage therapy has been shown to have a number of positive effects on overall health and well-being and can help improve quality of life by reducing pain and tension, improving sleep, and lowering stress levels.

Utilizing an HSA to pay for medically necessary massage therapy treatments can provide significant financial and health benefits. It is important to consult with a medical professional to determine if this treatment option is right for you and confirm its eligibility as a qualified medical expense.

How to Use Your HSA for Massage Therapy

If you’re one of the millions of Americans with a Health Savings Account (HSA), you may be wondering whether or not you can use your account funds to pay for massage therapy. The answer, in short, is yes – but there are some important steps you need to take first.

Steps to Take Before Using Your HSA for Massage Therapy

The first thing you’ll want to do before booking any massage appointments using your HSA funds is to verify that your massage therapist is licensed and qualified for the type of massage you intend to receive. In general, you will likely want to look for someone who is trained specifically in therapeutic or medical massage, as opposed to relaxation-focused practices like Swedish massage.

You may also want to check with your health insurance provider to see if there are any specific restrictions on what types of massage therapy they will cover even when using HSA or other tax-exempt funds. Some insurers may require pre-approval or proof of medical necessity before agreeing to cover certain types of massage.

Once you have verified that your therapist is qualified and that your insurer does not have any special requirements, you can book your appointment as usual. When paying for your session, simply indicate that you would like to use your HSA funds by providing your account information or payment card.

How to Submit a Claim for Massage Therapy

After your massage session has concluded, you’ll need to request a receipt or itemized statement from your therapist showing the date of service, the cost of the session, and the name of the therapist who provided it. Make sure these details match up exactly with the information on file with your HSA administrator.

Typically, you will then submit this receipt along with a claim form to your HSA administrator, either by mail or electronically. The exact process for submitting a claim may vary depending on the specific HSA account you have, so be sure to check with your administrator first to make sure you understand all necessary steps.

It’s also worth noting that some administrators may require additional documentation, such as proof of medical necessity or pre-approval from your insurer, before agreeing to reimburse you for massage therapy using funds from your HSA. Make sure to review these requirements thoroughly and provide all necessary documentation in order to avoid any delays or complications.

“Massage is recognized as being an important part of maintaining overall health and wellness, and HSA accounts can offer a convenient way for people to access this beneficial practice.” -Dr. Brent A. Bauer of the Mayo Clinic

If you are looking to use funds from your Health Savings Account to pay for massage therapy, there are several important steps you need to take to ensure that everything goes smoothly. From verifying your therapist’s qualifications to checking with your insurance provider and following all necessary procedures for submitting claims, taking the time to carefully plan out each step of the process can help you get the most out of your HSA while enjoying the many benefits of massage therapy.

Are There Any Restrictions?

If you are considering using your HSA for massage therapy, there are a few restrictions to keep in mind. First and foremost, only eligible expenses can be paid for with HSA funds.

In addition, not all massages qualify as eligible expenses. Only massages that are considered medically necessary and prescribed by a doctor will be covered under an HSA.

It is important to note that while some insurance policies cover massage therapy, not all do. If your policy does not cover this type of care, using your HSA may be the best option. However, it is always a good idea to check with your insurance provider first.

Annual Contribution Limits

One thing to keep in mind when using your HSA for massage therapy is annual contribution limits. For 2021, individuals can contribute up to $3,600 and families up to $7,200 into their HSA accounts.

These amounts increase slightly every year to account for inflation. It is important to keep track of how much you are contributing each year to avoid going over the maximum allowable amount.

Eligible and Ineligible Expenses

As previously mentioned, only certain medical expenses are eligible to be paid for with HSA funds. Examples of eligible expenses include co-pays, deductibles, prescriptions, and vision care.

On the other hand, ineligible expenses include cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening, non-medically necessary massages, and gym memberships.

It is important to carefully read through your HSA plan documents to understand what expenses are eligible versus ineligible before making any purchases or payments.

Use-It-or-Lose-It Rule

Finally, it is important to note the use-it-or-lose-it rule that applies to HSA accounts. This means that any money left in your account at the end of the year will be forfeited.

While some plans do allow for a grace period or rollover into the next year, it is important to carefully monitor how much you are contributing and spending from your account to avoid losing any funds.

“It’s always a good idea to keep receipts and documentation for any medical expenses paid for with HSA funds, just in case the IRS requests them during an audit.” – NerdWallet

Using your HSA for massage therapy can be a great option if the massage is considered medically necessary and prescribed by a doctor. However, it is important to carefully read through your plan documents and keep track of contribution limits and eligible expenses to fully maximize your HSA benefits.

Other Alternative Therapies Covered by HSA


According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), acupuncture is considered a qualified medical expense and can be paid for with tax-advantaged health savings account (HSA) funds. Acupuncture involves the use of thin needles inserted into specific points on the body, which are thought to stimulate nerve endings that send signals to the brain to relieve pain or other symptoms. Many people find acupuncture helpful in treating conditions such as chronic pain, headaches, and insomnia.

It’s important to note that not all acupuncturists may accept payment through an HSA, so it’s best to check with your provider before scheduling any treatments. Additionally, some HSAs may require a doctor’s prescription before covering acupuncture sessions, so be sure to familiarize yourself with your plan’s guidelines.

Chiropractic Care

Like acupuncture, chiropractic care is also considered a qualified medical expense under IRS rules. Chiropractors focus on the diagnosis and treatment of disorders related to the musculoskeletal system, particularly those affecting the spine. Treatment may include manual adjustments, massage, stretching, and other techniques aimed at restoring mobility, reducing pain, and improving overall function.

If you have back pain, neck pain, headaches, or other issues related to your musculoskeletal system, chiropractic care may be able to help. It’s worth noting that while many insurance plans cover chiropractic care, not all providers may accept payments from HSAs without a doctor’s prescription or preauthorization.


Naturopathy is an alternative form of medicine that focuses on natural remedies and techniques to promote holistic wellness. Naturopathic doctors may use a variety of therapies in their practice, including herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage therapy, and nutritional counseling.

While some HSAs allow for payments to naturopathic doctors, it’s important to note that not all states recognize or license this type of practitioner. In addition, not all insurance plans cover naturopathic care, so you’ll want to check with your provider before seeking treatment.

Herbal Supplements

In recent years, the use of herbal supplements as a form of alternative therapy has become increasingly popular. Herbal remedies may be used alone or in combination with other therapies to treat a variety of conditions such as anxiety, depression, digestive disorders, and more.

If you choose to use herbal supplements, it’s important to do your research and make sure that they are safe and effective for your particular condition. Additionally, not all HSAs may cover the cost of these supplements, so be sure to check with your provider before making any purchases.

“It is always best to work with a licensed healthcare professional when considering any kind of alternative therapy.” -Dr. Brenda Powell

If you’re interested in using alternative therapies like massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care, or herbal supplements to improve your health and wellness, an HSA may be able to help. However, it’s important to do your research and understand the limitations and requirements of your plan before making any decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can massage therapy be covered by an HSA?

Yes, massage therapy can be covered by an HSA if it is prescribed by a healthcare provider as a treatment for a medical condition. However, if it is solely for relaxation or stress relief, it is not eligible for HSA reimbursement.

What are the requirements for using an HSA for massage therapy?

The massage therapy must be prescribed by a healthcare provider and the HSA funds must be used to pay for the treatment. The provider must also be licensed to practice massage therapy in the state where the treatment is received.

Are there any limitations on the frequency or duration of massage therapy sessions covered by an HSA?

There are no specific limitations on the frequency or duration of massage therapy sessions covered by an HSA. However, the treatment must be prescribed by a healthcare provider and be considered medically necessary for a specific condition.

Can an HSA be used to cover the costs of a massage chair or other massage equipment?

Generally, no. Only expenses that are considered medical expenses and are used to treat a specific medical condition are eligible for reimbursement with HSA funds. Massage chairs and other massage equipment are typically not considered eligible expenses.

What types of massage therapy are typically covered by an HSA?

Massage therapy that is prescribed by a healthcare provider as a treatment for a specific medical condition is typically eligible for HSA reimbursement. This can include treatments such as deep tissue massage, neuromuscular therapy, myofascial release, and trigger point therapy.

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