Average Massage Therapist Income- Massage Academics

Average Massage Therapist Income- Massage Academics

This is the most common question I receive. What is the average Massage Therapist Income? There are many factors that involve the answer to this question. The basic answer I have found, for Canada and the US, is:

$12,000- $20,000+ per year part-time and

$30,000-$90,000+ per year full time.

So what determines the Salaries?

You and Your Education

The starting point to every profession. What has been the financial investment into your education? Time investment?

What modalities to you have training in?

You can charge different rates for different specialties. For example, I charge more for Hot Stone Therapy than I do Relaxation Massage. For each modality, and specific training, you can have a variety of rates.

How long have you been in the profession?

If you have just Graduated a Massage Program, chances are you will be making slightly less than someone who has been in practice for 10 years.

Demographic Region

Cost of living dictates rates all life factors. You have to make your pricing reasonable to your market. If you over price yourself, clients won’t be able to afford your services.

Salary Canada by Province

Salary US by State

Fee Strategy

  • Competitive pricing. What are other Therapists charging?
  • What is your market? Can you afford to charge $55 instead of $60 per hour? This is NOT a SALE price!
  • What do you offer? Ex: Do you offer third party billing?
  • What do you do different? Ex: Indian Head Massage, Hot Stone, or another specialty.

Remember the NEVER put yourself on Sale? Now here’s the ‘skirt around’ that issue.

Go that little extra mile: Go 5 mins more on the Massage. Add in a touch extra face, or head massage. That goes a long way with a client.

Pre-Paid Packages: Pay for X# of One Hour Massages, and receive the last one for free. This is not a sale price, this falls under ‘what do you offer’. I did these for a number of years, and the payoff was fantastic. (I still offer them, but only to my VIP clients now).

Do you have any ‘Specialty Equipment’ available to you? Like a Steamer or Sauna? If you do, offering a ‘Combo Package’ is a great way to add to the client experience. ( I added these links because, when I had a Full Service Spa, we had a Personal Steamer, and the clients LOVED it. InfraRed was still a fairly new, and expensive venture, and when I found these, I was super stoked! What a great add on!!

Canadian Link to InfraRed Sauna

USA Link to InfraRed Sauna

InfraRed Sauna For your Massage Clinic or Spa.  Great for Personal Use as well!!


SereneLife Portable InfraRed Sauna

Hours of Operation

What hours are you working? I’ve been fortunate, for many years, to be able to book according to my clients needs, and my schedule balance. Remember, when starting out, you shouldn’t be too choosy. Working evenings, and Saturdays can be quite beneficial to your income. Even after being in business for as long as I have been, I still work evenings, and some Saturdays. (Over the years, I have become picky about Saturdays. I reserve those spaces for my VIP clients only).

What are do you charge, and what region are you in? Let me Know! I’m Curious as to how accurate these charts are!



Business of Massage Therapy- Client Incentive Programs- Massage Academics

Business of Massage Therapy- Client Incentive Programs- Massage Academics

As I’ve told you, recently, to not put yourself ‘on sale’, we’re going to change it up a bit. You’re probably asking: How do I get clients? Let’s play with a few ideas!! I took a look at my old Business Plan, and have reshaped it to fit for the Profession to reflect today’s economy. We will be using $60 per hour as our baseline rate.

Client Incentive Programs

This is NOT being ‘on sale’, this is to promote you, and your Business… a standing out above the crowd approach. Some ideas that I will mention here, maybe repeated from previous posts, but that’s because I think they are worthy of consideration.

Prepaid Packages

You have to look at these as a contract with your client. They are prepaying you for services that they are yet to receive. They are taking a risk, and so are you. Before we get into what a Prepaid Package can look like, let’s set up some rules for them. Depending on the size of the Package, I would recommend that they have a ‘stale date’. (Not an expiration date… that’s another entity altogether). Stale Dates, are dates where you can no longer guarantee the price point. If the package isn’t used in its entirety by said date, you cannot guarantee the same rate. Generally I consider this a guideline. So, why do I have a ‘stale date’? You could, quite reasonably, have a package that’s ‘Open’ for 2+ years! If you have raised your rates by that time, a ‘stale date’ gives you the option to charge the difference. So how long should a Package be ‘Open’ before it ‘stale dates’? Depends on the package. As we go through a few ideas, I will give you some guidelines for those dates. (In my examples, I will be using $60 per hour as regular price). These are just examples, play with your pricing, and comfort zones. 1. Purchase a 10 Session Massage Package, and receive the 11 Massage for FREE!! (This package I generally leave open for a year). 2. Purchase a 6 Session Massage Package for $330!! (This one varies from 6 months, to a year, for ‘open’ dates). 3. Add On: For every 60-Minute Massage booked in (Month), receive a FREE 10 Min. Steam!! (Or a gift).

Referral Program

You can advertise this, or make it a quiet Thank You. Client A sends 5 of their friends to you, as a Thank You, you could give them a gift (bath salts, candle, bath bomb), 1/2 off Massage, or even a free Massage. It is best to acknowledge EVERY referral sent to you. A simple thank you goes a long way!

Holiday Specials

One Special we ran at The Spa, was Couple Massages for Valentines Day. Book a 60-Minute Massage for both of you for $110.00! Book a 60-Minute Massage for Your (??? Cupid / Sweety??), and they will get a Steam/ gift!! In some cases, if your treatment Rooms are large enough, it’s great to do the Massages together! (There has to be enough room for both tables, and 2 Therapists). This one went like hotcakes! What are your ideas here? What have you done? Do you need help to plan an Incentive Program? Let me know in the Comments!! Have a Beautiful Day!! Shaunna
Professional Alliances in Massage Therapy

Professional Alliances in Massage Therapy

Why are these important to my business? Who do I approach? How to I develop an Alliance?

Professional Alliances in Massage Therapy – The Why

By building professional alliances, your practice will flourish. Having a network with other Health Care, and Therapy Professionals will increase your market, and theirs.


Assignment One

Your first assignment is to make a list of Health Professionals you already know. Your:

  • Chiropractor
  • Physio Therapist
  • Massage Therapist
  • Doctor
  • Dentist (yep… Dentist)
  • Lawyer
  • Chamber of Commerce Members

Then add to that list of the same Professionals, and others, within your area of work. (This list will expand as you go).

Assignment Two

Do a Bio Letter of Introduction. In this letter, you will want to include:

  • Where you went to school for Massage Therapy
  • Graduation date
  • Association
  • Specialties Certified in
  • Your goals for client treatment and care
  • How massage can benefit their patients or clients
  • Other professional History

Think of it as a Resume, but not a resume. You can add some personal information as to hobbies if you wish, but keep it pertinent to the person you are addressing, or the profession of Massage.

The Approach

There are 3 ways to approach others. Face to face, by phone, or by letter/email, or any combination of these.

The letter you wrote, can act as a ‘script’ to keep you on track with face to face, or phone approach as a bonus.

Because forming an Alliance is so beneficial, you will want to offer them something to get to know you and your work. With your introduction, you can offer them (a limited time) promotion. This isn’t a sale price, it’s a Promotional Offer.

Promotional Offers with a Future Alliance

  • A gift certificate for a free 30-minute massage
  • 20%-50% Off of Regular Price (I hear you now… but that’s a sale price)!!! Yes, and no. Put on the gift certificate that it’s a Professional Offer Only. Non-Transferable (that means they can’t give it to someone else).
  • Free Gift

Why do this? You want to promote yourself, and your talent. You want the Alliance.

Barter System

This is another approach to forming an Alliance. Especially with other Health Care Professionals.

By trading treatments, and services, not only do you get to know their style, and work, they get to know yours. It’s a win for both parties.

Referring to Others

NEVER be afraid to tell a client that a problem may be out of your scope of practice! Integrity is key here. A client will admire your honesty, and appreciate a referral to someone that can treat the issue.

Not long ago, I referred a long-time client to a Sports Massage Specialist. I can do ‘Sports Massage’, but this was a sports-related injury, and I’m NOT a Specialist in this modality. I am confident in my abilities, and I know when a client needs a different approach to an issue, so I refer them out. (The client did come back after the injury issue was resolved, complete with a Thank You, and recommendations from the other Therapist).

I have often referred to Chiropractic, or Physio Therapy, to be done instead, or in conjunction with Massage. When referring out, I do explain why. (I use Medical terms, with layman translation). Telling a client of your limitations will be a showing of your integrity, and honesty.

A client is more apt to refer a friend to you by saying,

“He/She helped ABC problem, but referred me to a Chiropractor for D, because of (yada yada). A very honest person, and a great Therapist!”

A quick, easy example of an introductory letter.

Your Name

Address, City, ST ZIP Code | Telephone | Email


(Chiropractor/ Massage Therapist/ Physio Therapist)




City, ST ZIP Code

Dear (Chiropractor/ Massage Therapist/ Physio Therapist):

I would like to take the time to introduce myself, as I am new to the area.

Professionally, I have 25 years of Massage Therapy experience, with specialties in Motor Vehicle Accidents, and soft tissue injuries.

The modalities that I incorporate into my treatments are as follows:

  • Relaxation & Deep Tissue Massage
  • Hot Stone Therapy
  • Cupping
  • Myofascial Release
  • Craniosacral
  • Assisted stretch techniques

I Graduate from X School of Massage in (year), and belong to (Association).

I would like the opportunity to connect with you, and your practice. Please accept this certificate as my way of saying Thank You for your time!



You don’t have to get fancy with it. Short, and to the point. You can use a template, but keep it simple. Too much clutter takes away from the content. If you have a Logo, do put that in.

How do you, or have you formed Alliances? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the Comments Section!!

Have a GREAT DAY!!


Common Injuries Suffered by Massage Therapists

Common Injuries Suffered by Massage Therapists

This is Part One of the Common Injuries Suffered by Massage Therapists!

Massage Therapy unquestionably incorporates whole-body strength and movement, but the hands and wrists are perhaps the stars of the show. So preventing injury is crucial to career longevity—your ability to do your job effectively for as long as you choose.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

CTS has become a catch-all term that is too often applied to any pain syndrome anywhere in the wrist area. Many other injuries can cause symptoms at the wrist.

CTS, however, has quite a specific definition: it is impingement of the median nerve at the carpal tunnel.

When there is ongoing pressure on the median nerve within the rigid, fixed space of the carpal tunnel, located between the carpal bones and the transverse carpal ligament of the wrist. This pressure, which can have several causes, cuts down on the volume of nerve impulses
traveling through the nerve to and from the hand. Mechanical stress on the nerve can damage the nerve tissue and can be a result of keeping the wrist in flexion for a sustained time or placing the wrist against an object like a desk for sustained periods.

Symptoms of CTS:
Pain felt in the palmar aspect of the wrist radiating into the hand, particularly the palm, the thumb, index finger, third finger, and adjoining half of the ring finger paresthesias can be experienced along the same nerve path.

CTS tends to come on slowly and can be triggered by a sudden increase in workload or decrease in the time allowed between massages.

anti-inflammatory medication

Saddle Joint Injury

The thumb’s basal, or CMC, the joint is saddle-shaped, formed by the trapezium in the wrist and the metacarpal in the thumb.

This distinctive shape enables the thumb to rotate up, down and across the palm, and to pinch.

Saddle joint injury can present with throbbing pain or a dull ache.

Anti-inflammatory medications, both topically and orally.
Splinting may also be recommended.

These injuries are most often caused by overuse. Thus, prevention is a crucial factor in career longevity.

Proper alignment of the wrists (120 degrees)
Hands and thumbs. When possible, use forearms, and elbows
Table Height (this is why I LOVE my Hydraulic/ Electric Table)!
Engage core
Warm-up before sessions
Rest between sessions
Stretch and strengthen throughout the day
Self-care (get a Massage, see a Chiropractor, Physiotherapy, Yoga).

What are your best recovery, or prevention, strategies?
Let us know in the comment section below!

Have an Awesome Day!

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Injury Prevention for Massage Therapists

Injury Prevention for Massage Therapists

Most Massage Therapists will experience some kind of injury or pain syndrome at some point in their careers.

So how do you protect yourself from injury?

Get in shape: plan on working out at least three times a week, including strengthening, stretching, and aerobics. Maintaining good circulation will help you heal any incipient injuries and keep them from developing into more serious ones. • Develop proper body mechanics: using your body efficiently to produce the most effective movement with the least effort will reduce the strain of your massage work on your body. • Avoid other hand-intensive activities: there is only so much hand-intensive work one body can take. Playing an instrument professionally, or working as a computer typist in addition to your massage work will likely cause injury. • Take care of your hands every day: they are the tools of your trade; treat them well. Avoid opening stuck jars, playing sports with your hands, hammering nails – anything that can cause trauma or stress your hands. • Work with your body characteristics, not against them: if you have hypermobile thumbs, do not use them extensively in your massages. If you have a pre-existing upper extremity, back or neck injury, think about doing types of massage that don’t require strength or pressure. • Vary your massage technique: use different parts of your hand and arms to do massage, to avoid a repetitive motion to any one region. For example, use your elbow sometimes to create pressure rather than always using your thumbs. • Don’t do massage techniques that cause you pain: stop doing any method that causes you pain or discomfort – you have your choice of thousands of techniques that you can do without pain. • Monitor your work habits. Maintain a regular schedule of massages, so you don’t suddenly increase the number of massages you do or decrease the amount of time you have between massages. Experiment with table height until you find what works best for you; better yet, get an electric table that you can adjust as you work. • Take time between massages. If you don’t have enough time between massages to relax, stretch, breathe AND change the sheets, you are putting yourself at risk of injury. • Use other modalities in your massages. Hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, energy balancing, and spa treatments can attract new clients, and add to the value of your massages. This will also cut down on the amount of intensive hands-on work you do in each massage, which will allow your hands to rest. • Develop a realistic attitude towards your work: there are limits to what you can do for your patients. You are only human, with your own strengths and limitations. Respecting your own limits is healthy, and will help you keep your upper extremities healthy. • Treat injuries immediately and effectively. At the first sign of pain or dysfunction, see a physician. If you are in pain, you are probably already injured. Letting it go on will only make it worse. Injury is a complex subject.

Common Injuries Sustained by Massage Therapists

Soft tissue injuries common to massage therapists fall into two categories:
Muscle/tendon injuries and
Nerve impingement injuries.

The primary cause of these disorders is thought to be overuse or using a part of the body beyond the point where it can function normally and remain healthy. These injuries are collectively referred to as repetitive strain or stress injuries (RSIs), cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs), or simply overuse syndromes. Left untreated or allowed to become chronic, these injuries can lead to osteoarthritis, and temporary or even permanent disability and the loss of function of the hands and/or arms. The most common muscle/tendon injury among massage therapists is RSI. The most common injury sites are the thumb, the wrist, and the forearm. This chronic injury is characterized by a gradual onset. The appearance of symptoms often occurs with a sudden and/or substantial increase in workload or a sudden decrease in time spent between massages. The primary symptom of overuse syndrome is diffuse achiness, tightness, and, or soreness in one part of the upper extremity rather than a sharp pain in one specific spot.

Other symptoms include loss of function and paraesthesia.

Tendinitis and Tenosynovitis are inflammatory conditions (of the tendon and tendon sheath, respectively) that have a more sudden onset. These injuries are caused by tearing (strain) of tendon fibers or irritation to the tendon sheath.

The clear presence of inflammation distinguishes these injuries from RSI. Among massage therapists, tendinitis and tenosynovitis are less frequent complaints than overuse syndrome.

The main symptom is localized pain. The affected area is often swollen and hot. With proper treatment and careful avoidance of reinjury, tendinitis and tenosynovitis tend to heal in a shorter period than overuse syndrome.

Muscle/tendon injury as a result of doing massage is more common among massage therapists than nerve impingement injury. The two most common nerve impingement injuries sustained by massage practitioners are carpal tunnel syndrome.

TOS refers to the impingement of nerves C8-T1 at the area of the base
of the neck, where the brachial plexus descends through the space between the first rib and the clavicle.

Massaging in unnatural postures or with unaligned joints is often the cause of CTS or TOS. Like repetitive strain (RSI), these injuries tend to develop slowly and can be triggered by a sudden increase in workload or decrease in time between massages.

Massage Therapy 2020

Massage Therapy 2020

Good Morning! It’s April 19, 2020, and Covid-19 is still a problem for the World.

We’ve all seen change during this time… personally and professionally.
I consider myself fortunate. The ‘social distancing,’ and temporary closure of my practice, has given me time to:

    1. Help out our one son that is a front line staffer. The time ‘off’ allows us to look after our grandaughter full-time, and as needed, a time I never would’ve had if not for this pandemic.

    2. I have an opportunity to work on building my courses!

   3.My spouse and I have been practicing for this ‘quarantine’ for about 3 years now… LOL. See, due to illness, he has been on permanent disability, so we do not face the challenges many others are with the too much together time!

What I miss:

  1. My clients. I miss the ones that tell me about their families and what’s going on. This week I will be calling a few to see how they are doing.

  2. Coffee / Lunch with friends. Somethings we take for granted, that we’ll always be able to get together tomorrow, or later in the week. How often did ‘we’ reschedule that coffee date because one of us was too busy?

 3. Physical contact with our other son. We talk through windows and on Go-To Meeting, but it’s hard NOT to hug. Not to have contact. But at least we have a window and the computer!! So, I consider myself lucky.


While most of us are feeling the pinch of Covid on a financial front, remember we are not the only ones. Everyone is experiencing this.
And it’s not just us. All professions from Massage Therapists to dentists, to the people working in warehouses, are being affected.

Covid has caused a HUGE disruption in everyone’s lives, so don’t give up!

Start planning now for the RE-OPENING, and some rebuilding of YOUR practice. Now is the time to update your records, your website, and your marketing plan!

 Redraft a new Business Plan
 Clean out client files
 Plan a Re-Opening Debut
 Redesign or Update your Website (Often I see ‘out fo date’ websites because time has not allowed int he past. Now is a great time to do this)!
 Revamp your space. Paint it, or just move furniture around, either way, it’s a change for when you open again!
 Deep cleaning can also be done at this time… REFRESH!

How has this affected you? Positives? Negatives? How are you handling it? What are some of your suggestions for staying in touch with clients? What about preparing for re-opening?
Stay Healthy, and Stay Connected! Shaunna
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