8 Tips to Help You Find Affordable Massage Therapy in Toronto (and Elsewhere!)
Are you feeling tired and stressed? Or perhaps you suffer from joint aches and back pain? Believe it or not, one of the best ways to ease your injuries and pains, as well as to relax and unwind, is getting a therapeutic massage.
Therapeutic massage offers many varied health benefits and medical studies have shown that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain, and muscle tension. In order to obtain the full benefits of massage, you will most likely need more than one session, especially for the treatment of chronic health conditions.
Unfortunately, professional massage therapy doesn’t come cheap. In 2014, the fee schedule guideline set by the Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario (RMTAO) is $56 for a half hour and $89 for an hour session (plus 13% HST). Such rates are not affordable for many people, especially for those who require ongoing treatments or maintenance sessions afterwards.
Here are eight tips to find cheap massage therapy in Toronto, and elsewhere, all while improving your health:
Try a student massage clinic
You can receive affordable massages by trained students in many massage schools in Toronto. Contact one of the massage schools listed here regarding their supervised student clinics (also referred to as teaching clinics), which are open to the public. The student massage price is usually half of the professional price.
Check offers on Groupon or Yelp
You may be able to find great deals, offers, and coupons on websites such as Groupon or Yelp. Massage deals are widely available on these sites, and you can also read reviews on a massage clinic or spa before buying a coupon for their services. You can find many massage deals in Toronto.
Consider the 1st massage offer by a franchise
In the United States, massage franchises have been rapidly growing in recent years. One of the largest spas, Massage Envy, has opened over 1000 locations in the U.S. These franchises offer initial massage sessions to new clients for a very attractive introductory price. Over the last few years, Canadian spa franchises with similar business models and offerings have emerged in the Toronto area. Search for new spas around your area and check to see what their prices are for new massage clients.
Ask massage clinics about their treatment packages
Some registered massage therapy clinics or spas offer discounted packages or gift cards* for series of treatments. This deal is great if you have health conditions that require a number of treatments or want to receive treatment on a regular basis for health maintenance.
Check your insurance benefits
Many employee benefits and extended insurance plans cover the entire cost or a portion of your massage treatment fee if the therapy is rendered by registered massage therapists. It is important that you obtain a receipt of service with your therapist’s RMT number on it. Some clinics also offer direct billing service for massage clients. In this case, you may not have to pay anything. Check out massage clinics page.
Remember to obtain the receipt
If you are using therapeutic massage for medical reasons, the cost of massage treatment can be income tax deductible as a medical expense. Check with your accountant for your eligibility, remember to ask for your receipt before leaving, and don’t lose it.
Tipping can add up
Many people wonder whether or not to tip massage therapists. In Ontario, registered massage therapists are regulated under the Health Practitioners Act – the same legislation that regulates physicians and dentists. Although physicians and other health care professionals never receive any tips, RMTs may or may not accept tips from their clients. Tipping for registered massage therapy often varies depending on the type of facilities providing massage therapy services. If you receive massage in spas, salons, or hotels, you are generally expected to pay tips to the therapist. On the other hand, tipping is not required or expected in massage clinics or medical facilities.
Avoid massages in high end spas and luxury hotels
The standard fee of almost $100 for a one-hour massage is already quite expensive for many people; expect to pay 50 to 100% more than this if you go to some spas. Do the massage therapists in these spas merit such high prices? Although you may encounter talented and experienced therapists, it is not uncommon to be treated by fresh new graduates who were working in the student clinic for a fraction of the cost just a few months ago. Unless you enjoy viewing gorgeous walls and ceilings during the massage, these are places to avoid if your priority is receiving a high quality massage at lower cost.
It is understandable why many consumers choose massage places based on cost. However, the most expensive massage is a massage that makes you feel uncomfortable, stressed, or, worst of all, ends up giving you more pains and problems. Keep this in mind when choosing massage facilities based on hygiene standards and therapists’ experience and qualifications, in addition to the cost of the treatment. But rest assured: you can receive affordable massage therapy in Toronto without losing any quality of service.
- In Ontario, gift cards for one specific service (for example, a gift certificate for a massage at a spa may come with an expiry date and lose its value if not used)