Most people, including therapists, forget massage therapy is a very physically demanding job and injuries can happen on both sides of the table. It is also a unique service to people who want peace and quiet, so solitude with clients is the norm. As a business owner, you risk the fact liability will most likely fall on you if things go awry.
Follow professional industry standards and common sense intuition to protect your business.
1. Never overbook.
You’ve completed massage training and certification, so you are obviously committed despite how physically demanding you’ve learned bodywork is. You don’t have to be an athlete. However, your self-care must be a priority if you are to service clients well.
Give yourself 30 minutes between clients to rest your hands and feet. This gap accounts for late clients and starts plus time to change over essentials. Make sure you are rested each day and always reschedule clients when you are sick.
2. Intake your clients.
Client files upgrade your massage business above the rest. Whether people come once or repeatedly or every two years, you should have reference to their general current health.
Ideally, clients receive an electronic form ahead of their first appointment and once a year if they are regulars. Obtain email addresses at scheduling or online booking and send intake requests promptly. You can also provide old-fashioned paper intakes if you pad extra time for it with new clients.
3. Ask the right questions on paper and in-person.
Familiarizing yourself with a client’s health and desires for massage will guide you to the best treatments for them. You need clues on special advice to provide. Some questions to start with include:
- What is your experience with massage?
- What drew you to massage?
- Do you have chronic health conditions or concerns?
- What is your diet and estimated daily water intake?
- Do you smoke and drink alcohol? If so, how often?
4. Always have insurance.
After you build your base, you want clients to be able to find you and to feel safe in your environment. A prime benefit of massage insurance is protection of your space, person or equipment against theft, fire and natural disasters.
You also have representation if a client is injured in your space or alleges you caused an injury. When you practice without insurance, you could wind up responsible for medical bills and court fees if a client falls off your table accidentally for instance. You also want access to medical treatment if you overdo it or sustain an injury.
5. Explain your limitations gently.
Massage therapists are not physical therapists or doctors. Your training may be accredited and effective for wellness. However, you can’t substitute for a hospital.
Gently decline to service visibly injured, sick or bleeding clients. If slight touch or movement causes a client pain, end the session immediately.
6. End sessions where a client expresses discomfort, or makes you uncomfortable.
Misunderstandings happen. It’s best to err on the side of caution during them.
You do not owe flirtatious clients a warning. When suggestive comments persist, end the session. If a client repeatedly complains of pain or indicates feeling you have acted inappropriately, end the session for no cost to the client. While massaging people is your passion, running a smart business is your duty. As your business grows, your owner duties will as well. Don’t be shy about acquiring freelance or permanent partners so you can always focus on doing the best job you can.