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Good Communication Improves Understanding Between Massage Therapists, Clients

According to a recent consumer survey by the American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®), massage therapy is on the rise as a method of improving personal health. As interaction increases among massage therapists and their clients, both can benefit from tips on what to expect from their professional health relationship.

These tips, released in conjunction with National Massage Therapy Awareness Week, October 24 – October 30, 2010, cover issues of respect and privacy between the massage therapist and client, and promote dialogue to help select the best massage technique based on the client’s current health conditions.

“These are important tips as massage therapy use continues to rise, especially with people who see a massage therapist for health benefits and stress relief,” says Kathleen Miller-Read, AMTA president.

In fact, researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles recently reported findings demonstrating that people who received a Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can ultimately lead to a boost in the immune system.

Understanding what to expect in a massage session will aid consumers having their first massage, and guide those who get frequent massages but may be changing therapists or searching for a professional therapist while traveling on business or vacation. 

“Whether you are scheduling your first massage, or engaging a new therapist, these guidelines are beneficial to both parties and will help facilitate a positive, relaxing experience that ultimately benefits a person’s overall health,” says Miller-Read.

Massage clients should expect a clean, safe and comfortable environment before, during and after the massage, and should expect a licensed/registered/certified professional massage therapist, working within their scope of practice and in an ethical manner. In turn, massage therapists should expect their clients to be courteous and respectful of them as healthcare professionals.

The American Massage Therapy Association offers the following expectations for the massage recipient and the massage therapist:

What Should Someone Expect from their Massage & Massage Therapist?

  • A clean, safe and comfortable environment before, during and after the massage
  • Respect, courtesy, confidentiality and dignity
  • Privacy while changing and right to remove clothing only to their level of comfort for the massage
  • Draped appropriately by a sheet, towel or blanket, with only the area being massaged exposed
  • A licensed/registered/certified professional massage therapist, working within their scope of practice and in an ethical manner
  • Option to ask questions of the massage therapist and receive professional responses
  • Determine if there will be conversation, music or quiet during the massage
  • An explanation of the nature of the massage and techniques to be used in advance of starting the massage
  • The right to consent to the massage techniques and approaches, including manual pressure, used in the massage

What Should a Massage Therapist Expect from their Client?

  • Respect, courtesy and dignity
  • Treated as a healthcare professional
  • Timely arrival at massage therapy appointment
  • Complete and accurate disclosure of health/medical conditions during intake process
  • Communication of expectations of and concerns about the massage
  • Payment at time of service
  • Reasonable notice (usually 24 hours) in cancelling a massage appointment

>> Download the expecations for the massage recipient and the massage therapist

The American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®) is a professional association of more than 56,000 members. AMTA professional members have demonstrated a level of skill and knowledge through education and/or testing and must meet continuing education requirements to retain membership. AMTA provides information about massage therapy to the public and works to improve the professional climate for massage therapists. The association also helps consumers and healthcare professionals locate qualified massage therapists nationwide, through AMTA’s Find a Massage Therapist® free national locator service available at www.findamassagetherapist.org.

"AMTA has been a tremendous resource over the years."

Jenn S., AMTA member since 1994

We are AMTA

AMTA has long been the leading choice among massage therapists looking to establish themselves within the profession. We provide our members with the strongest benefits and promote massage therapy to the public and health care community.

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