Does Your Massage Treatment Meet the Qualified Medical Expense Criteria?

While this article addresses massage specifically, the following 3 money-saving suggestions may also apply to other health care out-of-pocket expenses. Certain types of massage may be applied to your tax deductions as a medical expense (1). If you have an acute or chronic condition for which you are being treated by a doctor, you may be eligible to apply the cost of medical massage treatments to your U.S. Federal Income Tax as a qualified medical expense (QME).

The Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) general definition of medical expense is defined as costs associated with the “diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body.” Whether a massage will count as a medical expense depends in large part on your medical situation as the IRS does not specifically include massage in its list of medical expenses. If the IRS can prove that your massage is solely for the purpose of improving your health rather than for treatment of a disease, then the massage would not constitute a medical expense.

It will be more believable that a massage is a medical expense if your massages are given at a medical professional’s office, rather than a spa. To determine if your massage expenditures are considered a qualified medical expense (QME), go to: www.irs.gov then type publication p502 in the search box located at the upper right-hand side of your screen.

1. Federal Tax Filing – How Much Can You Deduct?
You may deduct the aggregate amount of your out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses which exceed 7.5 percent of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI – IRS Form 1040, line 38).

Example: Let us assume in each case the out of pocket medical expenses are $1000

If Amy’s AGI for the year was $10,000 then the amount of QME over $750 qualifies as a medical expense deduction. Amy’s qualified medical expenditures of $1000 exceed the $750 threshold by $250, therefore $250 out of the $1000 spent may be eligible as a tax credit.

Belinda’s AGI for the year was $100,000 therefore her threshold is $7500 which means that none of the $1000 spent is eligible as a tax credit.

Substantiation
Get a prescription for massage from your doctor specifying your specific medical condition. If your condition is chronic (long term condition) get a new prescription at least every 2 years. Keep your treatment receipts as well as transportation costs related to your appointment.

If you don’t qualify to receive a tax deductible credit, consider one or more of the following health related spending accounts as another way of lowering the cost of medically related massage treatment(2).

The 3 Most Common Health Account Types are
Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA)
Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
Health Spending Account (HSA)

Health Reimbursement Arrangement – An HRA account is an employer established, and employer controlled account used to reimburse qualified medical expenses (QME) for the employee only. Only the employer contributes to this account. Portability is at the discretion of the employer as is the ability to carry funds over yearly.

Flexible Spending Account – The FSA is the most commonly known type of healthcare spending account. It is often referred to as a cafeteria plan because of its many options that allow you to customize the plan to some degree. FSAs are created to reimburse qualified medical expenses, health insurance premiums for premium-only accounts, and dependent care expenses.

These are third party accounts that are employer-established benefit plans to which the employee may contribute. Employee contributions are on pre-tax basis thus reducing the employee’s annual taxable income. Each year the money must be used, any unused funds belong to the employer. The funds are not portable – in other words if you leave the job you lose the money. The following is the policy of the Aetna administered Flexible Spending Account regarding massage(3)

When recommended by a health care professional for a medical condition, the cost of massage therapy is a qualified medical expense. Submit evidence of medical necessity (e.g., prescription, doctor’s note) with the request for reimbursement.

When the cost of massage therapy is for “general health”, it is not a qualified medical expense.

Health Savings Account (HSA) was last on the scene. The HSA is a tax-exempt trust or custodial account created to pay for qualified medical expenses of the account holder and his/her spouse/dependents. Any individual may open an HSA. Check with your bank or tax advisor about opening an HSA, as there are other unique provisions that must be adhered to. The major difference with this type of account is that the money belongs to you! The tax free contributions go with you.

Home Health Skin Treatment Try this Healing ‘Salt Glow’ Spa Recipe made with Essential Oil for Healthy Glowing Skin

For a variety of skin conditions use your Healing ‘Salt Glow’ to freshen and renew your skin before your bath or shower.

Preparation – what you will need:
Small ceramic bowl
1-4 teaspoon favorite carrier oil (jojoba, rose, light coconut oil)
1 cup sea salt or Celtic or Grey sea salt (detoxifier)
1-4 drops pure essential oil
Sterilized instrument such as a stainless steel teaspoon
Celtic or Grey sea salt has a more coarse and plump texture. Because of its green clay content it is a more powerful detoxifier and better suited for smoothing out more rough and weathered skin. For more delicate skin areas you may prefer the regular sea salt.

RECOMMENDED Pure Essential to use and why:

ROSE GERANIUM is suitable for ALL skin types! Its regulating properties make it useful for balancing too oily, dry or combination skin types. Rose Geranium soothes sensitive or irritated skin and is useful for treating acne, burns, bruises, shingles, herpes, eczema and dermatitis.

Rose Geranium more info http://www.kgstiles.com/moreinfogeraniumrose/

YLANG YLANG has traditionally been used in beauty and skin care as its plant hormones promote cellular regeneration. Its moisture balancing effect on the skin’s natural sebum production, makes Ylang Ylang oil suitable for sensitive, oily, dry and mature skin types.

Ylang Ylang more info http://www.kgstiles.com/moreinfoylangylangIII/

CARROT SEED is harmonizing for ALL skin types Carrot Seed oil’s skin nourishing action makes it a useful addition to most facial and skin care formulas. Its cooling effect is ideal for soothing sensitive or inflamed cell tissue. Its cleansing, moisturizing and tonic properties make it an excellent choice for smoothing and softening facial lines and wrinkles.

Carrot Seed more info http://www.kgstiles.com/moreinfocarrotseed/

INSTRUCTIONS
Blend together your sea salts and carrier oil until thoroughly mixed.
Add 1-4 drops of your chosen pure essential oil or blend to your mixture and blend thoroughly.
Add more carrier oil as desired to your ‘Salt Glow’ blend if you prefer a more loose, wet action for your ‘Salt Glow.’

HOW TO USE YOUR ‘SALT GLOW’
Stand over a large bath towel, or in a dry bath tub with bath mat to prevent slippage, as you begin to apply your salt glow and rub your skin gently, using upward sweeping strokes.
Start at your toes and work upwards to your abdomen.
Then begin to stroke upwards from your fingers tips to your shoulders.
After finishing your extremities begin rubbing ‘Salt Glow’ onto the front side of your torso and then your backside.
You can rinse off your “Salt Glow’ in a warm and soothing shower, or take a steaming hot bath afterwards.

The ‘Salt Glow’ will leave your skin feeling soft and silky smooth!

DILUTION GUIDE for personal skin care 1 – 2% Dilution, 6-12 drops per ounce of: Es carrier. 6 teaspoons equals 1 ounce.

PLEASE NOTE: Essential oils are not water soluble you must use a dispersant when adding them to a facial steam or bath and water may cause the oils to penetrate your system more quickly or cause irritation to sensitive or damaged skin, i.e. blemishes, sores or rash.

Active Health – Effective Massage Therapy Treatment

massageis also used for pain relief and support therapy for injuries of many types. Active Health Centre in Markham Canada provides massage therapy from a registered massage therapist which can help many patients on their road to recovery.

Chiropractors work to relieve muscle and joint misalignments by adjusting joints and aligning the spine. People who have experienced chiropractic therapy for injuries often comment on the amazing pain relieving properties of the treatment. Additionally, massage therapy is often used to support these treatments because after all those deep tissues and muscles tend to tighten back up unless encouraged to relax. Relaxing tight muscles as well as the increasing the blood flow to the area are believed to help some injuries heal faster.

Migraine pain can be intense and debilitating for many people. Massage therapy for migraines helps relax the tight muscles and stimulate blood flow. Our body’s reaction to pain is often a tightening of the muscles in the painful area. All too often too tight muscles lead to more pain and a circle of misery unless the cycle is broken. Tight muscles can all too often make a condition harder to recover from and even more difficult to treat. Migraine pain can be excruciating and some people find that massage therapy is preferable to drugs and more effective as well.

Deep tissue massage helps stimulate the blood flow to the area and in many conditions this can lead to pain relief and speedier healing. After a spinal adjustment or between adjustments many people say massage therapy helps keep everything in line and reduces their discomfort. This is particularly noticeable for those persons who have sustained a back injury and require frequent adjustments.

Athletes, whose very livelihood depends upon keeping their bodies in peak condition often use massage therapy to avoid pain medication, loosen joints and avoid further injuries. Deep muscle massages for athletes can help avoid problems as well as relieve them. While massage therapy is not always the total answer for every condition it is a superb support mechanism and not just limited to pampering oneself.

Not every massage therapist possesses the same skill levels and knowledge as the next one. It is best to be sure that the therapist chosen is accredited and registered. The RMT designation is achieved only by education and schooling. While massages are generally safe a registered massage therapist will know what muscles to work on, and what sites might be avoided with certain medical conditions.

Active Health center offers massage therapy and by an accredited RMT and these treatments can be coordinated in order to work in conjunction with any chiropractic adjustments or can be scheduled as desired. There are very few treatments in medicine that combine such a pleasurable experience with such a healthful one. It is not necessary to sustain an injury to enjoy the benefits of massage therapy and many injuries treated by chiropractors respond even better in conjunction with massage therapy.

Active Health’s goal is help you achieve and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. We strive to relieve your pain and restore your function as soon as possible. The sooner we get you involved in physical activity the less likely your problem will become chronic.