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How Much Do You Tip A Massage Therapist?

massage therapist in Canada with client

You’ve just gotten up from the massage table refreshed and relaxed when you’re hit with unwelcome post-massage anxiety – you don’t know how much to tip your massage therapist! They did a great job and you want to give them respect, but you’re also on a budget. So how much should you tip?  

So, how much do you tip a massage therapist? And is tipping a massage therapist appropriate in all cases? Before we get into how much to tip massage therapists, there are a few nuances you should know about tipping for a massage.

Spa vs. Clinical Massage

The biggest determination of whether to tip depends on where you got your massage, particularly if it was at a spa or in a clinical or medical environment.

Let’s start with a spa. It’s customary to tip for a massage at a spa because the service falls into other salon or stylist type work where tipping is also expected. Another reason to tip at a spa is that your massage therapist is probably an employee on a lower wage who is expected to make their money by booking more clients and getting tips. Only a fraction of what you paid for the massage will go to them and the rest will go to the company. A tip directly to your massage therapist not only shows your appreciation, but it rewards them with more direct compensation.  

That said, you may be massaged at a smaller spa that’s owned by one person. Another situation might be where a massage therapist comes to you, say on a house visit or to your place of work. In these situations it’s still customary to add a tip.  

On the other hand, what if your massage is for medical reasons, say recovering from an injury or surgery, and if it’s conducted in a medical clinic? Do you still tip massage therapists at a clinic? It’s actually less appropriate to tip at medical clinics because it’s part of your healthcare and not a spa service.

Now, a massage therapist working at a spa isn’t any different from a massage therapist work at a rehabilitation clinic or medical centre. Both should be licensed massage therapy practitioners with significant training. How your massage therapist is compensated may be different at a spa versus a medical clinic so your reason for the massage and the setting that it’s conducted in does make a difference. 

Don’t be afraid to ask – and try tipping anyway

In any circumstances don’t be afraid to ask. Both spas and clinics often have receptionists who you can ask about tipping your massage therapist. You can even ask the massage therapist yourself if they take tips. If asking isn’t your thing, it never hurts to try tipping, anyway. If they accept tips, your gesture will be welcomed without batting an eye. And if they don’t, they’ll politely turn you down with a “no, thank you.”

And if you feel uncomfortable asking in person if you should tip your massage therapist, prepare ahead of time. When you book your appointment for a massage session, ask if the tip is included in the price. That way, you can be prepared before your appointment and can avoid any awkwardness…and having to do math on the spot.

How Much Do You Tip a Massage Therapist in Canada? 

Tipping is a common custom in most service industries in Canada. And for the most part, tipping your massage therapist follows similar tipping practices. But how much do you tip a massage therapist? 

How much you tip will depend on the quality of service you received and how much the service costs. Customarily, 10% is a standard tip for good service, and 15-20% is common for above average and excellent service. 

So for a $100 massage, you should tip your massage therapist a minimum of $10 but $15 or $20 will show them appreciation for an extra good job. For example, you may have had a lot of really tight muscles to work out and your massage therapist put in extra effort to make sure you didn’t leave with unresolved muscle tension. You may feel that level of service deserves a 20% tip for the extra care.

Keep in mind, if you are using a coupon, you should still tip on the full value of the massage you receive. Your massage therapist still provided the same level and amount of service so the tip should reflect that. But hey, you saved some money with the discount so you have something extra to show your appreciation.

Interested in a Massage Therapy Career in Canada?

Are you looking for a career where you can work one on one with people, learn medical knowledge, and maybe make a few tips yourself? Massage therapy is a growing field with frequent new jobs opening up daily. Apply for our advanced massage therapy program and get started on your new career today!

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