Standards of Practice

Purpose Statement

These American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) Standards of Practice were developed to assist the professional massage therapist to:

  • provide safe, consistent care
  • determine the quality of care provided
  • provide a common base to develop a  practice
  • support/preserve the basic rights of the client and professional massage therapist
  • assist the public to understand what to expect from a professional massage therapist

This document allows the professional massage therapist to evaluate and adapt performance in his/her massage/bodywork practice. The professional massage therapist can evaluate the quality of his/her practice by utilizing the Standards of Practice in conjunction with the Code of Ethics, the Bylaws and Policies of  AMTA, and precedents set by the AMTA Grievance, Standards and Bylaws Committees.

1. Conduct of the Professional Massage Therapist or Practitioner, hereinafter referred to as "Practitioner"

1.1 AMTA members must meet and maintain appropriate membership requirements.

1.2 Individual AMTA members who engage in the practice of professional massage/bodywork, shall adhere to standards of professional conduct, including the AMTA Code of Ethics.

1.3 The Practitioner follows consistent standards in all settings.

1.4 The Practitioner seeks professional supervision/consultation consistent with promoting and maintaining appropriate application of skills and knowledge.

2. Sanitation, Hygiene and Safety

2.1 Practitioner provides an environment consistent with accepted standards of sanitation, hygiene, safety and universal precautions.

2.2 Pathophysiology (Contraindications)

2.2.1 The Practitioner maintains current knowledge and skills of pathophysiology and the appropriate application of massage/bodywork.

2.2.2 The Practitioner monitors feedback from the client throughout a session.

2.2.3 The Practitioner makes appropriate referrals to other reputable healthcare providers.

3. Professional Relationships with Clients

3.1 The Practitioner relates to the client in a manner consistent with accepted standards and ethics.

3.2 The Practitioner maintains appropriate professional standards of confidentiality.

3.3 The Practitioner relates to the client in a manner which respects the integrity of the client and practitioner.

3.4 The Practitioner ensures that representations of his/her professional services, policies, and procedures are accurately communicated to the client prior to the initial application of massage/bodywork.

3.5 The Practitioner elicits participation and feedback from the client.

4. Professional Relationships with Other Professionals

4.1 The Practitioner relates to other reputable professionals with appropriate respect and within the parameters of accepted ethical standards.

4.2 The Practitioner's referrals to other professionals are only made in the interest of the client.

4.3 The Practitioner's communication with other professionals regarding clients is in compliance with accepted standards and ethics.

4.4 A Practitioner possessing knowledge that another practitioner:

  • (1) committed a criminal act that reflects adversely on the Practitioner's competence in massage therapy, trustworthiness or fitness to practice massage therapy in other respects;
  • (2) engaged in an act or practice that significantly undermines the massage therapy profession; or
  • (3) engaged in conduct that creates a risk of serious harm for the physical or emotional well being of a recipient of massage therapy; shall report such knowledge to the appropriate AMTA committee if such information is not protected or restricted by a confidentiality law.

5. Records

5.1 Client Records

5.1.1 The Practitioner establishes and maintains appropriate client records.

5.2 Financial Records

5.2.1 The Practitioner establishes and maintains client financial accounts that follow accepted accounting practices.

6. Marketing

6.1 Marketing consists of, but is not limited to, advertising, public relations, promotion and publicity.

6.2 The Practitioner markets his/her practice in an accurate, truthful and ethical manner.

7.  Legal Practice

7.1 American Massage Therapy Association members practice or collaborate with all others practicing professional massage/bodywork in a manner that is in compliance with national, state or local municipal law(s) pertaining to the practice of professional massage/bodywork.

8. Research

8.1 The Practitioner engaged in study and/or research is guided by the conventions and ethics of scholarly inquiry.

8.2 The Practitioner doing research avoids financial or political relationships that may limit objectivity or create conflict of interest.

"I am very glad to be aligned with a professional organization that gives so much to its members."

Satu F., AMTA member since 2003