Professional Massage Therapy Business Standards, Service, Ethics, Communications, Application and Care

Professional Massage Therapy Business Standards, Service, Ethics, Communications, Application and Care

by Selena Belisle, Founder/Instructor, CE Institute LLC

How does your massage therapy practice compare?  Quality massage practice includes ethical execution and much more:

  • Operate within your professional licensed scope of practice.
  • Set reasonable, mutally agreed massage goals with a treatment plan.
  • Communicate about what will be provided for the massage service, including the application itself (oil, lotion, deep techniques, light work, etc.).
  • Take interest in the client’s goals and try to satisfy them within the scope of practice.
  • Continue communication during bodywork to ensure both the bodyworker and client are on the “same page” for:
    • Work areas
    • Pressure
    • Temperature
    • Music
    • Lighting
    • Draping, etc.
  • Be on-time, especially when an appointment is provided with a time-limit.
  • Communicate with the client if the appointment needs to be “cut short” due to tardiness issues.
  • Explain any financial impacts to a shortened appointment up-front/prior to beginning the appointment.
  • Always be clear about how long the actual hands-on time will be provided during the appointment.
  • If a 50-minute “hour” is provided, explain to the client that there will be 50 minutes of bodywork with 10 minutes of change-time, discussion, or whatever will be provided in that 10-minute time-frame.
  • Provide the full amount of service time. Do not “cut” the client short without:
  • Obtain client consent to perform work as planned.
  • Provide compensatory recognition if the practitioner must cut the session for their own reasons - not a client's reasons.
  • Properly sanitize and disinfect the treatment room between clients.
  • Use fresh clean linens for every client. Never “flip-over” or re-use the same sheets or fabric materials amongst different clients.
  • Wash hands before and after every appointment.
  • Wash lotions bottles, stones, and anything else that was touched or contaminated during the massage appointment.
  • Perform the bodywork as the client requests.
  • While a client may receive better benefits with deeper work, etc. – always honor whatever the client wishes for unless it cannot be provided safely or other reasonable considerations
  • It is advised to start in the client’s chief complaint “cc”/primary concern area when reasonably possible.  Some massage therapists provide the same routine treatment, over-and-over again, regardless of a client’s individual needs.
  • Starting the session in the client’s chief complaint area is better planning, so that the appointment time cannot run-out or end before addressing the client’s chief complaint.
  • Follow the massage establishment's “rules”. Bodyworkers often partner with different vendors for business operations.
  • Read and learn merchant agreement(s) if the bodyworker is responsible for accepting charge cards as payment. This responsibility falls to management if the bodyworker is employed by another who assumes payment collection responsibilities. There are many requirements within a credit card merchant agreement that must be observed, or else the bodyworker could lose the privilege of accepting credit cards if the customer complains or other penalties.
  • ii. If services are advertised as “insured”, read and learn the insurance coverage and requirements.
  • Follow insurance requirements so that the insurability remains intact, and so that the practice is not improperly advertising an insured benefit. For example, the ABMP provides Hot Stone Bodywork liability insurance to its insureds, only if and after the insured watches a brief video and accepts ABMP’s requirements for hot stone services.  Different insurance companies may have abnormal and/or additional requirements for it’s insureds.
  • Honor and charge the prices as advertised.
  • If an upgrade or extended appointment is requested or agreed to by the client, then share the additional charges with the client prior to executing the additional service.
  • Keep the appointment positive. The bodyworker should not gossip or discuss other clients nor speak poorly of other medical professionals or treatments. Sharing personal issues or problems with clients is ill-advised and unethical.

While a total exhaustive list of practices to provide the best quality care is not possible in a short blog post, this list should get you started on the absolute essentials.  Also, different clients will have various needs - so the list of what should be provided could change depending on the individual appointment.

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

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