A Massage Therapist's Professional and Ethical Duties When a Client Wants to Stop Their Session

A Massage Therapist's Professional and Ethical Duties When a Client Wants to Stop Their Session

When a Massage Client Wants to Stop

If the client agrees to the bodywork, then wants to stop FOR ANY REASON, then the bodyworker must stop – no exceptions

If the client wants to stop because they have become ill, then it is the bodyworker’s ethical duty to address the illness and ensure that the client receives proper medical attention. For example: offer to call someone on behalf of the client – so that they can pick up the client at the bodyworker’s office or place of business

Offer to call 911 in the event of a medical emergency. Massage therapist's should not attempt to treat medical illness on their own – instead seek appropriate medical attention and professionals on behalf of their client when the client remains in the bodyworker’s care or office.

If the client wants to stop because they do not enjoy the work, then the client is able to stop and not continue.  Ethical practice and good business suggests seeking another therapist within the establishment to take over if the client simply wishes for a different style of massage or bodywork.

If the client wants to stop because they’ve learned of an emergency which they need to tend to then the client can stop and not continue. Good business practicees suggest the bodyworker provide any appropriate assistance to the client. This includes:

  • calling for unplanned transportation from their office
  • offering water
  • whatever can be reasonably provided without creating liability or risk to the practitioner or business.

If the client wants to stop because they want something illicit that is not being provided (such as sex), then the work must stop – period. It is the practitioner's choice on how to handle this situation. Practitioners should call 911 if they feel unsafe.


Client Appointment Modifications
A client can change or modify their appointment at anytime.  If a client requests a shorter time than what was scheduled, the bodyworker must comply with this request for any reason.

It is recommend to ask a client why they are requesting to change their appointment, so that the bodyworker can attempt to service the client in any reasonable way possible (i.e. the room is too cold, so the client wants to leave).

The client is not required to provide a reason why they want to change their appointment – they can keep their reason private. It’s important to be accommodating and not pass judgment. The client could be dealing with a personal crisis or have a private or embarrassing situation which they do not want to share. Bodyworkers must respect whatever the client requests (if it is legal and not harmful) and comply appropriately.

To learn more about massage therapy ethics, please click HERE to find a class and register for training with us.

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