What is massage therapy informed consent?

Best practices in every field of the healing arts now highly suggest the use of a signed “PARQ” or Informed Consent form. This acronym describes the necessary elements that should be included to inform a client or medical massage patient about the services rendered. The form should include, at a minimum, these elements:

  • P = Procedure(s). Use clear language to describe the types of massage to be used on patients.
  • A = Alternatives. List any alternatives to massage.
  • R = Risks. Describe any risks the patient may be subject to.
  • Q = Questions. Allow time for the client or medical massage patient to ask questions.

Massage therapists are not exempt from documenting PARQ. (See OBMT website for more information.) The following text is an example of the wording on a best practice informed consent form used at the last CHP Charting for Massage Therapists seminar.

(Provider & Clinic Name)
(Clinical or Practic Physical Address)
(Phone)

I hereby consent for my therapist to treat me with massage therapy after assessment, examination, and explanation of techniques recommended. I acknowledge the therapist is not a physician and does not diagnose illness or disease or any other physical or mental disorder. I clearly understand massage is not a substitute for a medical examination. I understand there are other options I may seek if massage doesn’t solve my needs. I understand no assurances or guarantees have been made to me as to the results of this treatment. I understand that as with any treatment there may be risks. Any risks have been explained to me. I assume responsibility for those risks. I understand that the massage therapist must be fully aware of any existing medical conditions. I have completed my health intake form accurately. I also agree to keep the therapist apprised of any new conditions or medications. I authorize my therapist to release or obtain information pertaining to my condition(s) and/or treatment to/from other medical providers or third party payers. I have been given time to ask questions about massage treatment.

Patient/Client Signature & Date
Patient/Client Printed Name

After, “Any risks have been explained to me,” a massage provider may choose to add: “Risks of massage may include, but are not limited to: skin irritation from scented oils and temporary pain from prolonged positions and deep pressure. Please inform the therapist if you have sensitive skin, require more or less pressure during the treatment, or if you need extra padding or pillows on the table for comfort.”

For more information on the concept of informed consent, please searching “medical informed consent” via your favorite search engine.