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How Much Do I Tip My Massage Therapist?

massage therapist and 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 of a tip you’re supposed to leave 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?  

Tipping is a common custom in most service industries in Canada. And for the most part, tipping your massage therapist follows similar tipping practices. 10% for good service, and 15-20% for above average and excellent service. Still, there are a few more nuances you should know about tipping your massage therapist.  

Spa vs. Clinical

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 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 in 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 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, if your massage is for medical reasons, say recovering from an injury or surgery, and if it’s conducted in a medical clinic, it’s less appropriate to tip. 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. But your reason for the massage and the setting that it’s conducted in does make a difference. 

couple awaiting massage therapy

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

In any circumstances don’t be afraid to ask. Spas and clinics often have receptionists you can run your tipping questions by. 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.

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. See if you are pre-approved for MaKami’s Advanced Clinical Massage Therapy program and get started on your new career today!

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