Your Safety Net
No massage therapist or bodyworker ever intends to hurt a client, but it happens. From falling off a massage chair, to tripping on rugs, to suffering bruised and broken ribs when a practitioner applies massage too deeply, clients can come away from your sessions injured.
That is why professional liability insurance is the safety net every massage therapist or bodyworker needs to protect themselves and their business. “Claims in massage can really vary, whether its burns from hot stone, pinched nerves, broken ribs, to even the table collapsing,” says Spencer Bellott, a risk management specialist at Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP). “It’s really hard to tell which claims are going to be the big one. I have seen claims that are similar in nature end up having very different outcomes—some get settled for a nominal amount and for some, the costs go well into six figures. And nearly half of those costs can be the legal fees associated with the claim.”
Minimize Your Risk
Bellott says there are important things massage therapists or bodyworkers can do to minimize risk.
Health intake forms and medical histories are an important part of the due diligence massage therapists and bodyworkers need to undertake to protect their clients. It is through these intake processes where you might be forewarned of possible client conditions that are contraindicated for massage, or the client’s use of a particular medication that requires you to adapt the massage therapy session to more properly meet their therapeutic needs. This is not only best practices, it’s also invaluable to your client’s care.
Follow manufacturer recommendations on all your products and equipment. Check the guidelines for weight limits, proper maintenance, and lifespan on your massage table and/or chair and frequently inspect your equipment to ensure nothing has broken or been loosened during the wear and tear of daily use. “Always make sure it is in good working order,” Bellott says.
Have professional liability insurance. As much as you can prepare for the unexpected, you can never predict the unforeseen—sheets that spontaneously combust in your dryer and start a building fire; a client who trips and falls through a glass display case; a product reaction to your new massage oil that has lasting effects for the client. That’s why the peace of mind that comes with professional massage liability insurance is priceless.
“Professional liability insurance is important because claims can happen to anyone, even the seasoned practitioner,” Bellott says. “I see claims from our newest members to some of our most tenured therapists. That’s why insurance is one of the most important and valuable benefits that come with ABMP membership. We want our bodyworkers and massage therapists to be able to focus on their craft and not the unexpected.”
ABMP members can access certificates of insurance, add additional insured endorsements, and more at ABMP.com/members/my-membership/membership.
Want to learn more about ABMP membership?
Visit abmp.com/more to learn how ABMP goes above and beyond to help our members succeed, bringing you the insurance you need, the free CE you want, and the personalized benefits and service you deserve.