Why Do I Need To Sign the Consent Form? (Updated January 2023)

I have been providing massage services for about 5 years in NZ and before any sessions begin, my clients are required to sign off a consent form from me. I seldom have a client who refused to read and sign it off but there is always a chance that one client does not want to sign any forms. Thus, it raises my concern about new clients who book a session with me. I would not like to have a situation whereby, they book a session with me online and when they arrived I have to reject them because they were not aware of the form and refused to sign.

It is a best practice for massage therapists to request clients to sign off the consent form/waiver form. The information in the form is important because the form hugely benefited the client’s treatment, building trust between the client and therapist. The information in the form can consist of a lot but I keep my form simple to ensure clients’ privacy. The form that I use in my practice includes only the client’s name and age, and with a few screening questions about the client’s health history, current health conditions; Covid19 screening questionnaire, and an agreement of legal terms and conditions. The information I have collected from you is confidential and solely for me to access when you come for the treatment, the information will store for 3 years and then shredded before disposal. The form will only be used when there is a conflict arise. Below is the form that I have been using in my practice.

From a PRACTICAL standpoint, clients should understand and agree to my guidelines for the massage, disclose certain things to me, and clients are being informed that personally responsible for themselves and their bodies when they come to see me, so clients don’t get confused or injured and come after me.

When you read up to this point, you may think that’s unfair to you as a client but I as a practitioner had experienced client came after me when I started my massage 5 years ago. Before I started to practice using the form, I practiced verbal inform consent with my clients before the session begin. Somehow, a client contacted me, a few weeks later from our last session, that my massage injured the client and the client was told by the doctor that the client had a health condition, which the client did not know and, I was not aware of as well when he came for the session. At that point, I had no legal document to prove that when the client came to me, the client did not suffer any health conditions. Therefore, as a matter of fact, to avoid a further argument with the client, I refunded the payment and of course, the client never came back again.

From that day onwards, I decided to create a consent form, ensure clients fully sign to declare their health history and conditions, and fully agree with the term and conditions of my service. Even clients who came for my service regularly, they have to sign again each time they visit, this is to remind them if there are any changes in their health, they have to inform me. We often forget that our health changes all the time and we can’t stop but we can monitor and observe any tell-tale signs that tell us our body is not feeling well. If not feeling well, please seek the right medical team for assistance.

Lastly, it is my legal right to practice using a consent form and this practice has also been practiced by other therapists. It helps the therapist to feel more CONFIDENT and EMPOWERED to our business knowing we are protected and safe on the legal fronts, which supports me and also protects you as a client about your health.

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