Helpful Hints: Keeping Yourself Safe

Many massage therapists come to the profession with a desire to help people. Some may even have witnessed the positive effects massage therapy can have on those who are dealing with chronic pain, for example, or a schedule that leaves them stressed out.

You work with clients closely, and having some level of trust is necessary. But you also need to remember to take care of yourself and keep your own personal safety at the top of your priority list. There are a few ways you can keep yourself, and your clients, safe.

Carefully screen your clients. When a client calls for an appointment, be sure to get the following information: name; day and evening phone numbers; referral source; and reason for calling. Then, take a couple of minutes to explain massage therapy, perhaps briefly describing the techniques you use. Also take the time to let potential clients know what you expect from them. Laying these details out will give you a good idea if you are dealing with someone who may misunderstand the nature of therapeutic massage. As you become established, you might want to accept only clients referred by a source you know.

When the client arrives. You should expect your clients to complete and sign a detailed intake form when they first arrive. Ask clients why they are there before you start the session, and get a clear idea of what they expect. If you choose to be a sole practitioner and work alone, think about letting someone know your schedule each day, checking in between sessions, if necessary. Make sure you preprogram a close friend’s number into your cell phone, as well as emergency contacts. Have your cell phone with you in the therapy room, on mute, just in case you need it.

After the session begins. If your client becomes uncomfortable during the beginning of the massage therapy session, you might choose to end the appointment with no charge, depending on the policies you choose to set up for your own practice, or the policies of your employer. On the other hand, if you are uncomfortable with the session, or the client makes an inappropriate remark or acts inappropriately, let the client know and end the session immediately. You should request your fee, but remember it’s better to be safe than compensated should the client get hostile.

"As a professional member of AMTA, I have found comfort in knowing that all the effort I put into obtaining my massage certification is recognized and protected. AMTA standards validate the profession."

Kim K., AMTA member since 2003