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How much break time do massage therapists need between clients to avoid burnout?

Pretty young blonde woman having a massage from a female massage therapist

When running your own massage therapy business it can be tempting to you over schedule yourself in attempts to please clients and to make hay whilst the sun shines.

However back to back massages will take their toll on your body and your wellbeing.

AND be under no illusion ..... your clients will be able to tell!  


Which in turn can lead to more work and more stress when you are trying to repair a bad reputation. 

So how much time should you allow for breaks without your schedule turning into a massage marathon?

There is much debate so we took a range of responses to try and come up with a solution! 


Facebook post from Brian Wah about delivering treatments back to back



A big thanks to Brian for sharing this story. I must admit this sounds like a pretty stressful environment both for the therapist and the client! This conveyor belt system might work for franchises but for independent massage therapists not having the time to connect with clients can't be good for business. Also working so relentlessly can only lead to some serious aches and eventually a big case of burnout. 


 Facebook post from Danielle Hall about sneaking in short breaks between massages


Similarly, it is far from ideal to have to rush around, feeling unable to take a bathroom break and tearing around to prepare the room! Clients will no doubt pick up on this hectic energy and it will no doubt leave massage therapists feeling burnt out sooner! 


Facebook post from Jackie James about 15 minute breaks between massage treatments being just enough time to clean the room


Jackie raises another valid point, opting for 15 minutes realistically gives you little time to change towels, reset your music or refill an aromatherapy diffuser before your next client is knocking on the door! 


Facebook post from Bethany Stanley about taking a half an hour break between massages


There is nothing worse than rushing a client out the door and neglecting to take the time to book them in for their next appointment whilst they are feeling the benefits of your work! 

It is definitely worth factoring in a buffer for clients arriving early and for the previous client to reschedule, especially if you don't have the benefit of a receptionist to handle this part of the process. That being said leaving too long an amount of time and you could be tempted to chat and chat.... 



Facebook post from Amarah Parks about leaving an hour free between treatments


Amarah has time to take lovely long breaks meaning clients feel completely pampered with a tailor-made treatment and she can continue into her next appointment stress-free. Whilst this is valuable in the right doses it may be difficult for other therapists to replicate especially if they have children or other commitments or for those of us who could fall into the trap of clients crossing emotional boundaries by oversharing details of their personal lives.  


Most massage therapists try to cap themselves to delivering 5 massage treatments a day. This enables therapists to deliver amazing treatments without compromising on their self-care. You shouldn't be afraid to take this slower pace, in fact, it will benefit your massage therapy business long term as you avoid burn out. If you need to earn more money you can always charge more by finding yourself a niche and promoting yourself as a specialist! 


After baring this in mind and looking at all the responses, we felt that a 40-minute break was a good amount of time to rest between massage treatments. 


Breakdown of how Massage Warehouse would recommend massage therapists use their breaks


Working on this system a massage therapist could start around 9 am, deliver 5 treatments with time for 1 hour and 20 minutes for lunch and still finish before 6pm in time to spend quality time with family and friends or veg out in front of the TV!


As you can see rather than recommending using the 40 minutes for other tasks like marketing or chasing up clients we have suggested using this time to fully recuperate between appointments. If you need to chase clients, make calls or tend to your social media, put aside 15 minutes during lunch to do these tasks. That way you still have time to eat, rest and disconnect throughout the day and more importantly between clients your are taking the time to practice some self-care! 


Taking time to complete some self-care exercises will massively pay off when you don't have to cancel treatments due to aches and pains caused by not taking care of yourself.  


Below is just one example of quick exercises you can incorporate into your day.  



Check out our comprehensive list of exercises to cure the most common aches and pains experienced by massage therapists. These exercises don't require loads of time or expensive bulky equipment so there really is no excuse! 


Last but not least Danyelle raises a great point. 


Facebook post from A Danyelle Allen about a wind down routine after treatments


When you are done for the day wherever possible take a shower to get rid of any nasty germs you might have picked up along the way and practice one last exercise of self-care before heading home! 


Do you agree with us or do you have a different way of scheduling your day? Let us know what works for you in this Facebook thread!  

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