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Why see an insured massage therapist?

Earle Abrahamson

Earle Abrahamson, Chair of MTI, explains why it’s important for clients to find out whether their therapist has insurance.

Like any "hands-on" profession that deals with public health, massage therapy involves risk. Healthcare practitioners deal with clients in various states of physical wellbeing, and in such a high-contact modality like massage, the client's health and the physicality involved can lead to issues.

Aside from the potential to aggravate a client's existing health condition, or in some other way cause injury, even the best massage therapist can't predict whether a client may trip over a rug and become injured, which has the potential to end in a legal claim.

Beyond that, massage mediums may cause a client to have an allergic reaction. Such an event is outside the massage therapist's direct control and can also lead to a legal claim.

Liability insurance for massage therapists provides peace of mind for clients. It means there is no worry about medical bills or time off work with no compensation.

High standards

Insurance can also be an indicator of quality and professionalism, which is a vital thing to look for when finding a massage practitioner, especially in the UK. There are no barriers here to becoming a massage therapist. Anyone can set themselves up in massage practise, even if they have no training or skill.

Therapists who are insured are predominantly members of a professional association. To become a member, the therapist will have completed professional-level training and need to demonstrate robust quality and practice standards. Each member of a professional association has demonstrated core competencies that enable them to act in a professional manner at all times. This involves adhering fully to a defined scope of practice and within ethical boundaries.

The initial consultation is used to better understand the client's needs, expectation, previous medical and lifestyle history including complementary medicine treatments. The insured therapist takes care in ensuring that the space and place of practice is carefully managed, hygiene is maintained, relevant and appropriate communication used, and aftercare advice is evidence based, practical and functional. The treatment is not only delivered for health but education as well.

Insurance therefore provides a kitemark for quality in practice and reassurance that the treatment being received is of the highest standard.

Insurance also indicates that the therapist has annually attended continuous professional learning development (CPD) activities to maintain practice standards and develop knowledge and skills further. CPD is audited by the professional association and is an ongoing requirement for membership. To receive and renew insurance and professional membership, the therapist must annually disclose any criminal or malpractice offences, failing to do so could result in termination of membership and loss of insurance. This robust practice enhances the safety and integrity of massage practice and once again reassures the client that strict standards are met and maintained.

And if a client does have an issue with a treatment, they can contact the professional association to make a complaint and be assured that it will be heard.

Making an informed choice

In choosing a massage therapist, two questions need to be asked:

  1. Are they a member of a professional association?
  2. Do they have insurance to cover their scope of practice?

If you are able to answer yes to both questions you are in safe hands and can expect professional behaviour and treatment. Finally, insured therapists demonstrate their commitment to their profession by investing in the safeguard for their clients: they have their client's interest at heart and work hard to maintain reputation, uphold standards, and promote their therapy in a positive way.

Look for an insured therapist - don't get rubbed up the wrong way!

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