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Professional Indemnity Insurance For Massage Therapists

When you’re a busy massage therapist, ensuring you have the correct personal indemnity insurance in place can be the last thing that you worry about. After all, it’s not as if much can go wrong with a simple massage, can it? Sadly there are plenty of examples out there of massage therapists who have ended up in dire financial straits simply because a dissatisfied client has successfully sued them for an eye-wateringly large sum in damages. Not convinced? Read on to discover what might happen if you don’t get round to having that vital insurance in place.

Suppose you’re got a client booked for a massage. They enter your premises, you give them their treatment and off they go. On the way home, they have a car accident and then claim it was caused by an unexpected muscle spasm which was a direct result of the massage you administered. So they decide to sue you on the basis it was due to your negligence. It’s not just your client that can sue; the people who’ve ended up injured due to the accident, or with a damaged vehicle, can also sue you. Even people that weren’t directly involved but have suffered related loss can sue. Pretty soon you have what feels like half the town all instigating legal proceedings against you for something which probably had nothing to do with you at all! Similar scenarios can unfold should a client get a headache, suffer an unexpected side effect or even dispute the level of payment required. Clients can sue for all sorts of unlikely and bizarre reasons, hoping they’ll get some sort of compensation even if the evidence of fault is pretty flimsy.

Protect yourself. Take five minutes to contact a highly experienced broker and find out just how affordable a comprehensive personal indemnity policy can be. Products can be tailored to the individual needs of your business and once you’ve set the protection up, you can get on with the day to day running of your practice in the knowledge that you’re covered should any legal claims be made. You will not only enjoy the peace of mind which appropriate legal protection can bring but your policy can also give your clients more confidence in you. Buy one now.

Massage therapy - what is the worst that can happen?

Living in a modern, fast-paced world, humans often need to be told to stop and take some time out. Massage therapy is supposed to be an ideal way to relax. You are forced into a serene state, encouraged to reconnect with your body and get all of those stress-induced kinks and crunches out. However, the best laid plans often go awry, and booking your "dream" massage is no exception. Below are a few genuine tales of massage mishaps to make you think twice before spontaneously booking up with an unknown therapist.

Underqualified and proud

Picture the scene. Wall Street, New York. You and a friend book yourself into a posh hotel and make an appointment to see a masseuse. Settling in for what you hope is an hour of heaven, the woman you have been put with suddenly mounts you. This in itself is not unusual; certain types of massage involve getting really up close and personal. However, the woman then starts wobbling back and forth on top of you, using the heels of her feet to dig into your back. This is not normal. You stop the massage and complain, only to find out that this woman's antics are well-known by management, and even your friend suffered the same in silence! The real-life customer in question admitted that afterwards they had their money refunded and a free dinner, but she is rightly cynical about a hotel which clearly does not vet their therapists, and (understandably) won't be returning. The hotel got away lightly; only in the USA can there be lawyers specialising in suing for assault by masseurs!

Stinky, clammy, and distracted

This sub-heading perfectly summises every masseuse client's worst nightmare – a repulsive masseuse. But such a creature can take many different forms. For instance, one woman holidaying in Bali details her experience with a therapist who had the most horrific body odour. In a situation of such intense closeness, you would hope a masseuse would know that being clean and considerate is a necessary part of the role, and inherently professional. Similarly, keeping the experience all about the client is somewhat important. A young male therapist quickly got himself fired for being distracted on the job. His lady client noticed that sometimes he would only use one hand to massage her... Keep your minds out of the gutter, he was using the other hand to text his mates! Amusingly, the lady felt very bad for getting him sacked, mostly because he was actually great at the actual massage work. Shame he prioritised his own thumbs and social life! Finally, a therapist's hands ought to be the perfect temperature, helping maintain the pleasing sensation from skin to skin contact. A Californian mother was most disappointed when a greasy young gentleman turned up to massage her, complete with apathetic attitude and clammy hands. To make matters worse, he refused to whack up the cental heating to a tolerable level, prolonging the uncomfortable, clammy, unskilled pawing for the full session.

Failing to set the mood

Remarkabley, not all therapists seem to understand that a key element in the beauty of a massage is the calm, relaxed environment it takes place in. Some massages have been known to take place in cold, uninviting spaces, where the customer ends up feeling more like a slab of meat being pushed around than a temple ardently worshipped. Revisiting New York, one avid massage fan reported a masseuse who left her in a cold room in which there was just a table and a sheet, slapped some freezing lotion on her, and then only did 20 minutes of the agreed one hour session! Not exactly acceptable behaviour. But then, some therapists can be too enthusiastic in trying to connect with the client. All was well for this next person: peaceful area, mood set, massage explained. Unfortunately, the therapist – though skilled in massage – shattered the atmosphere with incessant talking. Her customer politely asked that she quieten down so that the peace could be maintained, and she would oblige... temporarily. Stopping and then restarting repeatedly, the customer left more wound up than when she arrived.

Judge not lest ye be judged

Massage therapists see it all. Fat people, skinny people, ugly people, uncomfortably attractive people. A professional masseuse ought to treat everyone exactly the same: with an air of attentive dettachment. Sometimes, that does not always work out. Sufferers of common skin conditions beware. One inexperienced therapist actually backed away in terror when she discovered her client to be blotchy and red underneath the sheet, asking if she was contagious before bolting from the room. The customer merely had psoriasis, something which had never gotten in the way of past massages, and the poor woman was massively humiliated by her would-be therapist's horrific overreaction.

Sexual Healing

Of course, being touched intimately by a stranger, one has to accept that a) they will be seeing A LOT of your body and b) there is a degree of sensuality about massage which can naturally charge a scene with sexual tension. However, a true professional will manage to make their client feel comfortable and make boundaries extremely clear. Having said that, it seems for some that the temptation is too great. There are numerous accounts of allegations against therapists, where massage practitioners have taken advantage of their vulnerable clients, and sought sexual gratification from their position of power. An infamous case in 2011 led to a woman claiming twenty five thousand american dollars in damages after a staff masseuse climbed on top of her and assaulted her during a massage*. But the crime does not have to be this obvious. It is likely that 99% of massages should not involve touching any of the overtly sexual organs, and a massage therapist should never touch a person anywhere without their express consent, so stand your ground and complain if you ever find yourself a victim of "wandering hands".

Doing more harm than good

Occasionally, a massage therapist may end up accidentally damaging a client, often because they have misread the body's signals due to inexperience or lack of concentration. Everyone is different, so everyone will need different amounts of pressure. A bit too much pressure applied by an inexperienced therapist and an injury takes place. For example, one man sued a chiropractor for allegedly causing injuries to his back through incorrect massage technique and spinal manipulation. The gentleman also claimed the therapist was practicing without the appropriate license, and thus incorrect training and lack of qualifications had led to a sloppy massage performance.

The above list of blunders is by no means exhaustive, and we are sure there are many of you out there live with your own traumatising stories. Nonetheless, let us take them as lessons learnt, and venture forth into the world of massage cautiously, ready to defend ourselves against any malpractice.

Prudent Plus Ltd is an introducer appointed representative of Seopa Ltd, of Blackstaff Studios, 8-10 Amelia Street, Belfast, BT2 7GS which is Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority number 313860. These facts can be checked by visiting the FCA website.

We do not give financial advice on this website. If in doubt get professional advice and always read the policy information before purchasing an insurance contract.