Understanding Massage Therapy Rates

Your Appointment

An appointment or session with a Registered Massage Therapist will include a number of specific services within a time frame. 
Times frames typically vary between 15, 30, 45, 60, and 90 minutes.

Services Included In An Appointment Or Session

An appointment or session will likely include the following components, each of which will vary in the amount of time required to complete, based on the severity of the condition(s) being treated, the length of the unit and the complexity of the treatment: 

  • Intake/interview
  • Initial assessment or re-assessment
  • Treatment
  • Self-care recommendations
  • Charting and administration

Intake / Interview

An intake or interview is the first step in the establishment of your relationship with your massage therapist. During this intake and interview process, forms will be completed that collect your complete health history. The interview will allow your massage therapist to establish your short-term and long term goals for treatment, specific areas on which you would like the therapist to focus and discovery of what factors are contributing to your condition. As a health professional, your massage therapist needs to know your complete health history, including details regarding any medications you may be taking at the time of your visit, as well as other health professionals from whom you are seeking treatment. There are many situations where massage therapy treatments need to be modified or not provided depending on the circumstances of your condition or the medications you may be taking. Don’t hold any information back. As a health professional, your massage therapist is obligated to keep your health history strictly confidential and secure.

Initial Assessment Or Re-assessment

An Initial Assessment is the first assessment that the massage therapist provides following the intake and interview process. The assessment may include postural (static and dynamic) analysis, palpation and range of motion assessment, standard neurological and orthopaedic tests. Status forms and pain questionnaires may also be used to assess the condition. A re-assessment is an evaluation of your status that is conducted at the start of each follow-up appointment. The therapist may again conduct some or all of the components of the initial assessment as well as consulting with you further to determine your satisfaction with the progress being made and to re-examine short-term and long-term treatment goals. Be sure to update your massage therapist regarding any changes in your conditions or any treatments being provided by other health professionals.


With your consent, treatment is provided. The specific modalities used, as well as the length of treatment time, will depend on a number of factors including: 

  • Complexity of the condition
  • The compensatory changes and structures compromised by the injury
  • The amount of time that has elapsed since the original injury
  • Compliance with recommended treatment frequency and self-care
  • Pre-existing and complicating conditions
  • The effectiveness of the treatment plan is monitored based on the following considerations: 
  • Positive change in the subjective symptoms and objective findings
  • Positive change in postural awareness, with improved mobility and function
  • Increased autonomy and confidence of the client in performing activities of daily living.

Frequency of treatment may decrease as your condition improves. Your own motivation, physical ability and personal psychological concerns are all determinants of your progress. 

Remember, your massage therapist is a part of your primary health care team and will assist you in accessing the services of any other health professionals. This resource is yours to use, not only to help you return to good health but to maintain it in the future.

Self-care Recommendations

In many cases, a massage therapist will recommend that you undertake remedial exercise programs to enhance your recovery. Typically, these exercises will augment the benefits that the treatment is providing. You may also be given instruction on the use of hydrotherapy, hot and cold packs, baths etc. Following these instructions carefully will speed your recovery and assist the massage therapy in helping you. 

A common misconception about massage therapy services is that you will always immediately feel much better. In fact, the treatments often cause an increase in discomfort from the condition; however, this is temporary and should diminish within one or two days of treatment. If it does not abate, please contact your massage therapist immediately.

Charting And Administration

A massage therapist must document your progress in your clinical record. This is a mandatory component of the appointment and is included not only in the fee for the visit but also in the time allocated for the visit. Other components included in this portion of your visit will be referrals to other health professionals and preparing invoices and receipts for payment. 

A concern heard most often by clients visiting a massage therapist is that they paid for an hour of massage therapy but did not receive it. As a regulated health professional, a massage therapist must follow very strict Standards of Practice established by the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario. These standards include the assessment, treatment, charting and administration, all of which are requirements.

All Information on this page provided by: REGISTERED MASSAGE THERAPISTS’ ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO 2943B Bloor Street West, Etobicoke, ON, M8X 1B3 Tel: 416-979-2010 – Toll-Free: 1-800-668-2022 – Fax: 416-979-1144 Email: info@rmtao.com – www.rmtao.com

*Photo Credit: Ryan Hoyme.