What Is Informed Consent in Massage Therapy?

Informed consent is a critical component of all medical care. From Western medical doctors to physical therapists, providers must follow best practices to ensure patients clearly understand their treatment options before approving the plan. But what is informed consent in massage therapy? What does it look like for the LMT and the client? Let’s dig in and see how it works.

Xenana Spa in Portland, OR, is a safe space that serves folks with compassion and intention. Our staff is eager to help you feel and look your best so you can live life with comfort and enthusiasm. You can book your massage appointment, facial treatment, or yoga class online here.

What’s Included in Informed Consent?

You have the right to make decisions about your medical and personal care. And you have the right to ask questions and receive all relevant information about proposed treatment plans and their alternatives. These rights are at the heart of informed consent.

Informed Consent In Massage Therapy Requires Excellent Communication And Ongoing Respect Of Boundaries. Image Of Pregnant Woman Receiving A Massage. 

The National Library of Medicine includes this definition: “Informed consent is both an ethical and legal obligation of medical practitioners in the US and originates from the patient’s right to direct what happens to their body.” At Xenana, we believe this obligation extends to our work, too. Massage and other forms of bodywork should include informed consent.

These five components are essential to informed consent in any setting:

  1. The person must freely give their consent without pressure or coercion.
  2. The person must be mentally competent to make their own decisions.
  3. The provider must disclose all relevant information to the client or patient.
  4. The person must understand the disclosed information.
  5. The person must give their consent in writing or verbally, per state regulations.

What Is Informed Consent in Massage Therapy?

Generally speaking, informed medical consent applies to a patient’s decision to follow a proposed course of action. Informed consent in massage therapy, however, should go even further by offering updates and asking questions as appropriate throughout the treatment session.

Image Of Woman On Massage Table, Talking With Massage Therapist

Here are some examples of what an LMT may say or do during an appointment to follow informed consent best practices:

  • Explain that you can undress to your level of comfort
  • Check for sensitivities or allergies to oils and lotions before using
  • Ask your permission before using massage tools
  • Communicate as they move from one area of the body to another
  • Ask if the pressure is ok or needs to change
  • Ask if the room temperature is ok

Xenana Spa Moves at Your Pace

Massage inherently puts clients in a somewhat vulnerable position, which can stop many people from utilizing this powerful treatment option. At Xenana, our staff takes seriously the privilege of supporting you through massage, yoga, and skincare.

We aim for clear, open communication, and our staff listens to your needs and preferences at each step. We invite you to reach out with any questions, and when you’re ready, you can book an appointment online at any time. We can’t wait to see you!

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