It’s been almost two years since I got my massage license, and in that time, I have noticed that one common struggle all therapists seem to have is time management. No one therapist is exempt from this. Whether a therapist loses track of time working out trigger points, gets to caught up in the conversation, or finds themselves daydreaming, when they finally look at the clock, they’ll realize that they are out of time with more work to do or finishing the massage for minutes to spare.

So how do we keep track of time so we don’t waste it?

In the following paragraphs, I hope to share a few tips and tricks that I find helpful.


60 minute massage broken into time per body part

Break the body up into parts and plan a specific amount of time to work on each part. I’ve done this since my clinical internship in school. That way, if a client requests full body, I know exactly how much time I have. And if there are any requested areas to work, I know where to focus or cut my time.


There is an A and a B to this first tip.
A: Make sure that the clock in your room is one you can read. Make sure you are comfortable and confident reading an analog clock with it’s hour and minute hand racing around the circle of number. If you’re not, go digital. Just make sure the digital clock can be seen in the dark. I have run into quite a few where the numbers or background don’t glow which can make it tricky working in a dimly lit massage room.
B: Make sure the clock you have is visible as you work. Just like a toddler, if you can’t see the time, it’s bound to run away from you. Put your clock in a location you can see it during most of your massage. Or have two clocks – one at the head and foot of the table. Then no matter where you’re facing, you should be able to see the time.


I’ll be honest; I’m not 100% in love with this tip, but I filled in at a chiropractic office where some of the therapists set a timer and placed it outside their room. When it went off, they knew the massage was over. You could try using a timer during the massage. Just make sure if you do that the “alarm” tone, vibration, or flash is appropriate for a massage setting.


If you have the privilege to supply your own music during the massage, create a playlist that you can follow along to letting you know when to move on or how much time is left. I do this when I create yoga playlists. I have a warm up song or two, songs that build the intensity of the class during standing, balance and inversion poses, songs that are meant to be used during the cool down and floor poses, and a song or two for the final pose of Savasana. As long as I am paying attention, I can tell where the class should be based on the music.

There is nothing worse than running out of time or finding you have time left over once you’ve finished. If you don’t agree, then think about how you would feel as a client knowing your massage wasn’t what you wanted or paid for. I hope these four tips help you with time management during your next massage. Let me know if you found these tips helpful. And share with me other tips for managing your time during a massage.