Every year a number of my clients buy gift certificates for massages to give to family members, friends, and colleagues. One of the best one was when the parents of an entire class at a Newburyport grade school banded together to give my massage gift certificates to a favorite teacher who had just lost her close friend, another teacher at their school, to cancer.
In this case, the parents gave 90-minute certificates. However, you can also give a 60-minute certificate. I don't recommend a 30-minute certificate because that's not enough time for a full-body massage. (See my blog posting further down about the 30-60-90 debate.)
The best person to give a massage certificate to is someone who is stressed out or perhaps has had an injury or surgery who might not think to get a massage on their own. If you've never had a massage the whole thing can seem unfamiliar or you might feel like you may be too nervous, shy or self concious which can all be pretty common at first. But I always talk with my clients first to check in with their health picture, concerns and answer any questions; this is their time and I always make sure that it is comfortable for them as an individual. Everybody forgets their concerns when they start being worked on and many parctically fall asleep because they are so relaxed.
A gift certificate can help the curious-but-shy overcome their shyness and experience massage for the first time. For some it's a gift that leads to a long life of positive self care.