Considerations to Create a Treatment Plan and Set Massage Therapy Goals

Considerations to Create a Treatment Plan and Set Massage Therapy Goals

by Selena Belisle, Founder/Instructor, CE Institute LLC

Address a Client's Massage Therapy Goal

Ascertain your massage client’s goals and address them during bodywork. Notify the client if any of their goals or medical conditions are unreasonable or contraindicated prior to starting service.

Set reasonable client expectations with a bodywork treatment plan, such as expected number of appointments to achieve client’s goals.  Explain to the client that there are no guarantees made with the treatment plan. A treatment plan is a set of goals that you wish to mutually achieve.

Do not continue to work on client if their bodywork goals are not being reasonably satisfied, or if the client’s medical condition deteriorates. Refer the client to a medical professional for greater medical evaluation if or when a (reasonable) client goals cannot be met and the client continues with a health issue or pain.  it is vital to immediately refer the client to a medical professional if their health deteriorates at anytime during the plan.


A Massage Therapy Treatment Plans Can Consist of Any of the Following:

  • A signed treatment plan (by therapist and client) can show informed consent or agreement as to the mutual plan and goals
  • Document appointments with proper record keeping.  This includes notating each appointment’s progress upon completion if anything was observed.
  • Include any notes that seem relevant to the massage therapy treatment plan i.e. the client would like reduced pain; however, after the last appointment the client felt so good that they played 36 rounds of golf in one day – and their 36 golf rounds created extreme pain for the client on the following day. Client states they are now back to the original amount of pain they had prior to massage appointment(s).
  • Using a SOAP note charting system can be helpful.
  • Providing a well-formulated/documented bodywork treatment plan is a good ethical practice where the client can provide INFORMED CONSENT of the treatment plan, and the bodyworker can responsibly track the client’s progress!


Formulating a Treatment Plan When Massage Goals are Not Met
Set a reasonable number of massage therapy sessions to achieve client’s goals or improvement.  Educate the client that bodywork may not be able to achieve any reasonable goals - results are not guaranteed.  You can also notify your client that unfortunately the only way to ascertain progress is by the massage application itself.  And that the client should continue to see another medical professional to achieve their goals (i.e. physical therapist, etc.) if their goals were not met with the massage treatment plan.

Inform the client of the health benefits of bodywork, and allow the client to choose if they wish to continue with their bodywork sessions when/if you are not achieving their bodywork goals.


To learn more about massage therapy practice, please click here to find or register for training:

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