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Massage Envy Alternatives: Massage Envy vs Happy Head Massage

Category: Business
Female massage therapist giving massage to a woman on a massage table

It’s nice to get a relaxing massage after a long day or week. A massage can help with muscle stiffness, body pain, stress relief, and numerous other benefits. However, choosing the right massage parlor is essential since it can make or break your experience.

Many people will aim to get massages at big chains like Massage Envy, which offer various massage services at varying prices. While this may seem like a convenient option, some alternatives offer just as good (if not better) services.

It can be challenging to determine if a local or smaller massage parlor is a viable alternative to the big chains since there are shady parlors. However, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t look into other options.

In this post, we’ll compare Massage Envy with Happy Head Massage and determine if Happy Head is a true Massage Envy alternative.

Massage Envy

Massage Envy is a popular chain of massage parlors with over 1,100 locations across the United States. It is one of the most recognized and largest skin care services and massage therapy providers.

They offer a wide range of therapeutic massage, stretch, and skin care services, making it an attractive option for those who seek many different services.

The Pros

There are many pros to visiting a Massage Envy location.


With so many locations, finding a Massage Envy across the United States is easy. There is almost one location in every state.

Years in Operation

Massage Envy has been in business since 2002, making it one of the older and experienced massage chains in the country.

Variety of Services

Massage Envy offers a wide range of options, from Swedish and deep tissue massages to hot stone and prenatal massages. The various services can help address issues like body aches, stress, and pain relief. They also offer several skin care services like facials and microderm infusions.

Additional Products

Massage Envy offers various at-home skin care products, including masks, facial treatments, and anti-aging creams. These products can be helpful for people who are looking for ways to maintain their skin’s health in between appointments.

Recognized Brand

Most people are familiar with the Massage Envy, even if they’ve never been to one. The recognition helps give a sense of comfort and trust to potential customers.

The Cons

While there are definitely perks to choosing Massage Envy, there are also some downsides to consider.

Membership Pressure

One of the biggest criticisms of Massage Envy is its pushy membership sales tactics. They offer a discounted monthly rate for members, but this often comes with high-pressure sales pitches and contracts that can be difficult to cancel.

Unused Sessions 

Another major complaint from customers is unused massage sessions. If someone cancels a Massage Envy membership, they might have accumulated unused sessions. These expire 60 days from a membership cancellation and can be a pain to try and use if a customer has many of them.

Inconsistent Quality

While there are many convenient locations, the quality of wellness services can vary greatly.

Many different massage therapists come with varying levels of experience, and some will lack the expertise needed to provide great services. As a result, some customers have reported receiving subpar massages or skin care services.

High Price

Without a membership, the prices at Massage Envy can be quite steep, making it less accessible for those on a budget. You might have to pay twice the amount for a service if you don’t have a membership.


Scheduling will vary per location, but it can be a nightmare for those who live in busy areas. For example, if a client goes for a regular massage treatment every weekend, they might often struggle to get an appointment.

Happy Head Massage 

Happy Head Massage is a popular massage chain within San Diego County. Happy Head Massage focuses on providing great massages without forcing their customers to break the bank.

Happy Head Massage offers a variety of massages, including deep tissue, Swedish, prenatal, and Asian-style body and foot.

The Pros

Happy Head Massage offers its clients many benefits when they visit one of their locations.


One of Happy Head’s great selling points is they offer great massages without charging spa prices.

Spas are known to cost quite a bit of money. In comparison, Happy Head doesn’t charge as high prices but will deliver high-quality massages. They also offer a deal of the week, which can further help people save money.

Consistent Quality

With fewer locations than Massage Envy, Happy Head Massage has more consistent quality across its seven locations. The massage therapists are highly trained, experienced, and focused on providing excellent service.

Personalized Massages

Happy Head strongly focuses on providing personalized massages tailored to each client’s needs and preferences. The massage therapist will work with a client to help them relax and provide relief to any body aches or pains they might have.

Asian-Style Body and Foot Massage

One type of massage Happy Head excels at compared to the competition is the Asian-style body and foot massage, which provides benefits like improved circulation and relaxation.

No Membership Fees

One of the biggest differences between Happy Head Massage and Massage Envy is that there are no membership fees or contracts required at Happy Head Massage. This can make it a less stressful and more affordable option for those who don’t get massages too often or don’t want to worry about unused massages.

The Cons 

While Happy Head Massage has its advantages, there are also some drawbacks.


A big difference between Happy Head Massage and Massage Envy is accessibility. While Happy Head Massage is a popular massage chain in San Diego County, it’s limited to that region.

Years in Operation

Happy Head Massage has been in operation for 12 years, which is pretty respectable. However, it still trails behind more established massage chains.

National Recognition

Coupled with being a regional chain and not operating as long as other massage businesses, Happy Head Massage isn’t a national household name.

Lack of Skin Care Services 

Happy Head Massage doesn’t offer skin care services like facials or chemical peels. This can be a drawback for those seeking a full spa experience.

Additional Products

Happy Head Massage isn’t really known for offering additional products you can use at home like Massage Envy does.

Is Happy Head Massage a Massage Envy Alternative?

After looking at the pros and cons of each massage business, it’s safe to say Happy Head Massage is a viable alternative to Massage Envy.

Happy Head Massage, while not a nationwide massage industry, still does a great job catering to its local region. It might not be able to provide the whole spa experience, but it excels at providing great massages at an affordable cost.

Happy Head Massage won’t cut sessions short, doesn’t try to pressure people into any memberships, and is committed to helping people relax.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between Massage Envy and Happy Head Massage will depend on personal preferences and accessibility.

Massage Envy is the way to go for those who aren’t in San Diego County and would like a massage parlor that offers a wider variety of services.

Happy Head Massage is the better option if you live in or are visiting San Diego County and are seeking an affordable and personalized massage experience.

Similar companies may advertise Happy Head Massage’s services, but they don’t stack up. Happy Head Massage puts a lot of effort into ensuring each customer has a unique and beneficial experience, which sets them apart from other massage businesses.

Consider the pros and cons of each business before making a decision, and remember to prioritize your own comfort and relaxation when choosing a massage provider.

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