Straight from the (Artificial) Horse's Mouth: How Massage Therapists Can Use AI

By Massage Today, Editorial Staff
November 8, 2023

Straight from the (Artificial) Horse's Mouth: How Massage Therapists Can Use AI

By Massage Today, Editorial Staff
November 8, 2023

The thought and exploration of artificial intelligence has been intriguing, exciting, and terrifying people for years. And while we haven’t quite reached the point of each of us having our own C-3PO or Skynet rising up against its human creators (yet), AI has become a very real aspect of many of our everyday lives.

AI brings with it the promise of simplifying our lives, but as with any new technology, there is bound to be a learning curve in order to discover how specific people in specific careers can leverage it for maximum benefit.

To this end, Massage Today has compiled a list of how massage therapists can best use AI to help streamline business tasks and reimagine some of their marketing efforts, not by asking massage therapists or experts in AI, but by asking AI itself (ChatGPT).

To kick things off, we asked ChatGPT what massage therapists should consider before integrating AI into their business.

Remember, AI is a broad term. In general, a system can be qualified as AI if it exhibits some level of learning, adaptation, and decision-making. The tasks these systems perform continue to require human thought and action to be effective.

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Identify Pain Points and Goals: Assess your business operations and identify areas that could benefit from AI technology. Determine your goals, whether it’s improving client experiences, streamlining administrative tasks, optimizing marketing efforts, or enhancing treatment outcomes.

Research AI Solutions: Explore existing AI solutions tailored for massage therapists or related health care fields. Look for reputable vendors or platforms that offer AI tools aligned with your identified pain points and goals. Consider factors such as ease of use, compatibility with your existing systems, customer support, and pricing models.

Start with Small Steps: Implement AI gradually, starting with specific areas that can provide immediate benefits. For example, you might begin by integrating an AI-powered online booking system or utilizing AI for personalized client communication. Starting small allows you to assess the effectiveness and feasibility of AI in your practice before expanding further.

Seek Professional Guidance: Consult with experts or professionals in the AI or health care technology field to get insights on the best AI applications for massage therapy. They can help you understand the potential benefits, recommend suitable AI tools, and provide guidance on implementation strategies.

Prioritize Data Security and Privacy: When using AI, ensure that you prioritize data security and privacy. Partner with reputable vendors who adhere to industry standards and regulations regarding data protection. Take steps to encrypt sensitive client information, implement secure access controls, and regularly update software to prevent potential vulnerabilities.

Continual Learning and Adaptation: Stay informed about advancements in AI technology and how they can benefit you and your practice, as well as the impact new technology is making in the larger massage profession. Attend relevant workshops, webinars, or conferences to learn from experts and discover innovative AI applications. Continually evaluate the performance and impact of AI tools in your practice, and be open to adapting your approach as needed.

Once you've pinpointed where AI may benefit your practice, start looking at ways you can begin using AI. These uses can be put into two main categories: massage and treatment focused uses and business management uses.


1. Client Assessment and Personalization: AI-powered tools can assist massage therapists in conducting more thorough client assessments. AI can analyze a vast amount of research and clinical data to suggest optimal massage techniques, sequences, and durations for specific conditions or injuries. By considering factors such as client preferences, medical history, and desired outcomes, AI systems can provide therapists with evidence-based recommendations to inform their treatment decisions.

2. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR): AI can be combined with VR and AR technologies to create immersive and interactive experiences for clients during a massage session. Virtual environments can be designed to induce relaxation, reduce anxiety, or simulate specific settings that enhance the therapeutic benefits of the massage.

3. Robotic Massage Devices: AI can be integrated into massage devices to enhance their capabilities. By using sensors and AI algorithms, these devices can adapt to the client’s body contours, provide customized pressure and intensity, and adjust their movements based on real-time feedback. This enables therapists to delegate some of the manual work to these devices, allowing them to focus on more advanced techniques or individualized attention.

4. Remote Consultations and Support: AI-powered communication platforms can facilitate remote consultations between massage therapists and clients. Therapists can assess clients' needs and demonstrate self-massage techniques through video calls. AI algorithms can also analyze video recordings of client movements or posture and offer feedback and corrective exercises.


1. Online Booking and Scheduling: AI-powered chatbots or virtual assistants can handle online booking and scheduling tasks, allowing clients to easily book appointments, inquire about availability, and receive automated reminders. AI can optimize scheduling based on therapist availability, client preferences, and historical data, reducing scheduling conflicts and improving overall efficiency.

2. Client Relationship Management: AI can assist in managing client relationships by analyzing client data, including preferences, past treatments, and feedback. This information can be used to personalize communication, send targeted marketing messages, and provide tailored recommendations for future appointments. AI-powered systems can automate follow-up emails, satisfaction surveys, and referral programs, fostering client loyalty and retention.

3. Marketing and Social Media: AI can analyze data from social media platforms, website analytics, and customer interactions to provide insights on target audiences, trends, and effective marketing strategies. This information can help massage therapists create targeted campaigns, optimize advertising spending, and identify content that resonates with their client base.

4. Business Analytics and Reporting: AI can process financial data, appointment records, and other business metrics to generate comprehensive reports and insights. This allows massage therapists to track key performance indicators, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions for optimizing their business operations. AI algorithms can highlight patterns in client preferences, peak booking times, or popular services, helping therapists refine their offerings.

5. Revenue Management: AI can assist in optimizing pricing strategies by analyzing factors such as demand, seasonality, competitor pricing, and customer behavior. By considering these variables, AI algorithms can recommend pricing adjustments to maximize revenue and occupancy rates, particularly during off-peak times.

6. Inventory Management: For massage therapists who offer retail products, AI can help in inventory management by analyzing historical sales data, predicting demand patterns, and suggesting optimal stocking levels. This minimizes the risk of overstocking or running out of popular items, ensuring that therapists have the right products available when needed.

7. Data Security and Privacy: AI can be employed to enhance data security and protect sensitive client information. AI-powered systems can detect and alert therapists of potential security breaches or unauthorized access attempts, as well as ensure compliance with privacy regulations. It is important to remember, as useful as AI can be, it still has its limitations.

Additionally, it is being changed and updated all the time. Massage therapists should look at AI solutions as a way to enhance and simplify their practice, not run it for them.

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Mayo Clinic Explores Possibility of AI Massage Therapy Robots

Doctors and researchers at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota are currently exploring the possibility of using robots to provide massage for patients to alleviate staffing shortages and time constraints.

The robot being studied is dubbed EMMA (expert manipulative massage automation) and is designed to give a form of massage called Tuina. According to Mayo Clinic, EMMA’s AI system uses sensors to measure muscle stiffness and calculate the acupoints in each person’s body.

To be clear, the goal as it currently stands is not to replace massage therapists with robots. Instead, robots like EMMA will help to relieve the massage therapists of having to do the heavy lifting and repetitive work during the massage. Massage therapists would still do the majority of the assessment and positioning.

Currently, the study is trying to determine if Tuina is a good treatment for people with chronic low back pain.