Many of our massage therapists belong to at least one of the three alliances that help foster professionalism within the massage industry. Each of those agencies have their own recommended Ethics to follow. For the reference of our clients and practitioners alike, we have listed the three top agencies ethics below. To see any updates or other information, please visit their websites directly.
The three agencies are:
- AMTA - American Massage Therapy Association
- ABMP - Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals
- NCBTMB - National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
AMTA Code of Ethics: *
This Code of Ethics is a summary statement of the standards of conduct that define ethical behavior for the massage therapist. Adherence to the Code is a prerequisite for admission to and continued membership in the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).
Principles of Ethics
The Principles of Ethics form the first part of the Code of Ethics. They are aspirational and inspirational model standards of exemplary professional conduct for all members of the association. These Principles should not be regarded as limitations or restrictions, but as goals for which members should constantly strive.
Massage therapists/practitioners shall:
- Demonstrate commitment to provide the highest quality massage therapy/bodywork to those who seek their professional service.
- Acknowledge the inherent worth and individuality of each person by not discriminating or behaving in any prejudicial manner with clients and/or colleagues.
- Demonstrate professional excellence through regular self-assessment of strengths, limitations, and effectiveness by continued education and training.
- Acknowledge the confidential nature of the professional relationship with clients and respect each client’s right to privacy within the constraints of the law.
- Project a professional image and uphold the highest standards of professionalism.
- Accept responsibility to do no harm to the physical, mental and emotional well-being of self, clients, and associates.
Rules of Ethics
The Rules of Ethics are mandatory and direct specific standards of minimally-acceptable professional conduct for all members of the association. The Rules of Ethics are enforceable for all association members, and any members who violate this Code shall be subject to disciplinary action.
Massage therapists/practitioners shall:
- Conduct all business and professional activities within their scope of practice and all applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
- Refrain from engaging in any sexual conduct or sexual activities involving their clients in the course of a massage therapy session.
- Be truthful in advertising and marketing, and refrain from misrepresenting his or her services, charges for services, credentials, training, experience, ability or results.
- Refrain from using AMTA membership, including the AMTA name, logo or other intellectual property, or the member’s position, in any way that is unauthorized, improper or misleading.
- Refrain from engaging in any activity which would violate confidentiality commitments and/or proprietary rights of AMTA or any other person or organization.
* cited from https://www.amtamassage.org/About-AMTA/Core-Documents/Code-of-Ethics.html
ABMP Code of Ethics:*
As a member of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP), I pledge my commitment to the highest principles of the massage and bodywork profession as outlined here:
1. Commitment to High-Quality Care
I will serve the best interests of my clients at all times and provide the highest quality of bodywork and service possible. I recognize that the obligation for building and maintaining an effective, healthy, and safe therapeutic relationship with my clients is my responsibility.
2. Commitment to Do No Harm
I will conduct a thorough health history intake process for each client and evaluate the health history to rule out contraindications or determine appropriate session adaptations. If I see signs of, or suspect, an undiagnosed condition that massage may be inappropriate for, I will refer that client to a physician or other qualified health-care professional and delay the massage session until approval from the physician has been granted. I understand the importance of ethical touch and therapeutic intent and will conduct sessions with the sole objective of benefitting the client.
3. Commitment to Honest Representation of Qualifications
I will not work outside the commonly accepted scope of practice for massage therapists and bodywork professionals. I will adhere to my state's scope of practice guidelines (when applicable). I will only provide treatments and techniques for which I am fully trained and hold credible credentials. I will carefully evaluate the needs of each client and refer the client to another provider if the client requires work beyond my capabilities, or beyond the capacity of massage and bodywork. I will not use the trademarks and symbols associated with a particular system or group without authentic affiliation. I will acknowledge the limitations of massage and bodywork by refraining from exaggerating the benefits of massage therapy and related services throughout my marketing.
4. Commitment to Uphold the Inherent Worth of All Individuals
I will demonstrate compassion, respect, and tolerance for others. I will seek to decrease discrimination, misunderstandings, and prejudice. I understand there are situations when it is appropriate to decline service to a client because it is in the best interests of a client's health, or for my personal safety, but I will not refuse service to any client based on disability, ethnicity, gender, marital status, physical build, or sexual orientation; religious, national, or political affiliation; social or economic status.
5. Commitment to Respect Client Dignity and Basic Rights
I will demonstrate my respect for the dignity and rights of all individuals by providing a clean, comfortable, and safe environment for sessions, using appropriate and skilled draping procedures, giving clients recourse in the event of dissatisfaction with treatment, and upholding the integrity of the therapeutic relationship.
6. Commitment to Informed Consent
I will recognize a client's right to determine what happens to his or her body. I understand that a client may suffer emotional and physical harm if a therapist fails to listen to the client and imposes his or her own beliefs on a situation. I will fully inform my clients of choices relating to their care, and disclose policies and limitations that may affect their care. I will not provide massage without obtaining a client's informed consent (or that of the guardian or advocate for the client) to the session plan.
7. Commitment to Confidentiality
I will keep client communication and information confidential and will not share client information without the client's written consent, within the limits of the law. I will ensure every effort is made to respect a client's right to privacy and provide an environment where personal health-related details cannot be overheard or seen by others.
8. Commitment to Personal and Professional Boundaries
I will refrain from and prevent behaviors that may be considered sexual in my massage practice and uphold the highest professional standards in order to desexualize massage. I will not date a client, engage in sexual intercourse with a client, or allow any level of sexual impropriety (behavior or language) from clients or myself. I understand that sexual impropriety may lead to sexual harassment charges, the loss of my massage credentials, lawsuits for personal damages, criminal charges, fines, attorney's fees, court costs, and jail time.
9. Commitment to Honesty in Business
I will know and follow good business practices with regard to record keeping, regulation compliance, and tax law. I will set fair fees and practice honesty throughout my marketing materials. I will not accept gifts, compensation, or other benefits intended to influence a decision related to a client. If I use the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals logo, I promise to do so appropriately to establish my credibility and market my practice.
10. Commitment to Professionalism
I will maintain clear and honest communication with clients and colleagues. I will not use recreational drugs or alcohol before or during massage sessions. I will project a professional image with respect to my behavior and personal appearance in keeping with the highest standards of the massage profession. I will not actively seek to take someone else's clients, disrespect a client or colleague, or willingly malign another therapist or other allied professional. I will actively strive to positively promote the massage and bodywork profession by committing to self-development and continually building my professional skills.
* cited from: https://www.abmp.com/abmp-code-ethics
NCBTMB Code of Ethics: *
NCBTMB Certificants shall act in a manner that justifies public trust and confidence, enhances the reputation of the profession, and safeguards the interest of individual clients. Certificants will:
I. Have a sincere commitment to provide the highest quality of care to those who seek their professional services;
II. Represent their qualifications honestly, including education and professional affiliations, and provide only those services that they are qualified to perform;
III. Accurately inform clients, other health care practitioners, and the public of the scope and limitations of their discipline;
IV. Acknowledge the limitations of and contraindications for massage and bodywork and refer clients to appropriate health professionals;
V. Provide treatment only where there is reasonable expectation that it will be advantageous to the client;
VI. Consistently maintain and improve professional knowledge and competence, striving for professional excellence through regular assessment of personal and professional strengths and weaknesses and through continued education training;
VII. Conduct their business and professional activities with honesty and integrity, and respect the inherent worth of all persons;
VIII. Refuse to unjustly discriminate against clients and/or health professionals;
IX. Safeguard the confidentiality of the client’s identity and information in all conversations, advertisements, and any and all other matters unless disclosure of identifiable information is requested by the client in writing, is medically necessary or is required by law;
X. Respect the client’s right to treatment with informed and voluntary consent. The certified practitioner will obtain and record the informed consent of the client, or client’s advocate, before providing treatment. This consent may be written or verbal;
XI. Respect the client’s right to refuse, modify or terminate treatment regardless of prior consent given;
XII. Provide draping and treatment in a way that ensures the safety, comfort and privacy of the client;
XIII. Exercise the right to refuse to treat any person or part of the body for just and reasonable cause;
XIV. Refrain, under all circumstances, from participating in a sexual relationship or sexual conduct with the client, whether consensual or otherwise, from the beginning of the client/therapist relationship and for a minimum of six (6) months after the termination of the client therapist relationship, unless an ongoing current sexual relationship existed prior to the date the therapeutic relationship began;
XV. Avoid any interest, activity or influence which might be in conflict with the practitioner’s obligation to act in the best interests of the client or the profession;
XVI. Respect the client’s boundaries with regard to privacy, disclosure, exposure, emotional expression, beliefs and the client’s reasonable expectations of professional behavior. Practitioners will respect the client’s autonomy;
XVII. Refuse any gifts or benefits that are intended to influence a referral, decision or treatment, or that are purely for personal gain and not for the good of the client; and
XVIII. Follow the NCBTMB Standards of Practice, this Code of Ethics, and all policies, procedures, guidelines, regulations, codes, and requirements promulgated by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, Inc.
* cited from: http://www.ncbtmb.org/code-ethics