How much can I expect to pay for a massage in Calgary?
The short answer is approximately $104 for a 60 minute massage, but there are many variables to consider.
If cost is a concern when booking a massage, you are likely to find better rates by booking a massage through a home-based practitioner than at a spa or clinic. This is likely because home-based therapists don’t pay any additional rental fees to use the space, nor do they share a portion of the charged rate with an employer. On average, home-based practitioners charge 13% less than spas and clinics across Calgary.
While the average cost of a 60 minute massage at a spa/clinic in Calgary is $112, the average cost of a 60 minute massage from a home-based practitioner in $96. Additionally, while the average cost of a 90 minute massage at a spa/clinic in Calgary is $152, the average cost of a 90 minute massage from a home-based practitioner is $134 dollars. So, if cost matters, try finding a home-based therapist. There are a lot of us!
While it’s true that many home-based practitioners do not pay additional costs for rent (assuming they own the home they are working out of, which is not always the case), they do incur extra costs of their own. Lotions, sheets, pillows, massage table, laundry detergents, booking software, website costs and access to electronic-health record programs would typically be supplied by the spa/clinic, but become the responsibility of the practitioner when the business is home-based.
Other factors that might reasonably justify a home-based therapist charging a higher or lower rate than average include a) the number of years in practice, b) cost of continuing education courses, c) what modalities they include in their base treatment cost.
For my first three years of practice, I chose to offer my services at a reduced rate as I gained experience and practiced my skills. It is not uncommon for new therapists to offer their services at a discounted rate, and if you are concerned more with price than quality of massage, many colleges in Calgary offer significantly reduced rates for student massages. Once I hit the three-year mark post-graduation, it felt like time to increase my rates to on par with what other home-based practitioners in my area were charging.
Continuing education is mandatory for massage therapists in Alberta. While it’s hard to say exactly how much money a therapist will pay into continuing education costs throughout their career, most therapists are required to update their education in some capacity every three years. Continuing education costs vary widely (from hundreds to thousands of dollars).
The most expensive continuing education workshop I personally have taken was with the Stretch to Win Institute, in Phoenix, Arizona, which cost me over three thousand Canadian dollars for 5 days of training, plus travel costs and accommodation. Other pricey continuing education courses include those provided by Vodder School, Academy of Lymphatic Studies, and Chikly Health Institute, all certifying therapists in methods of Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)/Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT) and Combined Decongestive Therapy (CDT), costing the therapist several thousands of dollars and additional hours of intensive training! That being said, it’s worth knowing what kind of additional training your therapist has undertaken. It might help explain why they are charging what they do.
Another consideration when booking a massage is what is included in the base treatment cost. Some therapists charge extra for the use of things such as essential oils or cupping. Other therapists charge extra for the modalities they may have learned through continuing education programs. For example, if a client requests Complex Decongestive Therapy (CDT), that service may or may not be included in a base massage rate. For me personally, I like to be able to reach for whatever tool is required to help my client at no additional cost, so I use one flat rate that is reflective of every tool in my tool kit! I do not charge extra, for example, if my client requests Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST) or Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT).
Lastly, overall ambience certainly counts for something during a massage, though this may matter more to some people than others. Think heated table warmers, blankets, lighting, music, aromatherapy and the overall thoughtfulness of the treatment room space. It’s amazing how a lack of the aforementioned things can negatively impact the value of a massage, especially if you have become accustomed to receiving them elsewhere.
Ultimately, the cost of a massage in Calgary is up to the therapist. Massage therapy is an unregulated profession in Alberta, meaning there is no College of Massage Therapists to mandate pricing. As a person who enjoys receiving massage myself, I personally am more inclined to book a massage with a therapist who has at least two years of experience, shows an interest in personal and professional growth through their continuing education choices, and has put an above-average amount of effort into their treatment space.
To see the raw data used for this study, click here.
The information is valid as of December 2022.
Written by Breanne Hamper, Registered Massage Therapist (RMT), Calgary, AB, active member with the Canadian Massage and Manual Osteopathic Association (CMMOTA) and co-founder of AIM Online Education.