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S.O.A.P. Charting is a pain in your….wallet?

Many Massage Therapists really wonder if they need to keep charts and notes of their clientele. It just seems like busy work. But not keeping paper work for your clients and business can have a HUGE, negative impact like in the following 3 scenarios.

Scenario #1:

It’s been a LONG day at the massage table. You have seen 6 clients today and you have the same number of sessions tomorrow. You had several good sessions today that you really should write down so that you can remember what helped client #2 with their back pain and client #5 with their shoulder pain. Plus Client # 1 really liked the new CD and the extra time spent on her hands and feet and that would be good to remember too.

But you are TIRED. You will get to that later tomorrow or the next day. Besides, it’s just massage therapy. It’s not like you have to have notes for each person and session for insurance billing or something.

A couple of weeks go by and client #1, #2, and #5 all come back in saying “whatever you did last time was great! Can you just repeat it?” You think “Uhhh…. Maybe? That was 58 sessions ago! What was it I did? I hope I figure it out as I go.” Client #2 and #5 don’t reschedule with you because they are both disappointed with your treatment.

  1. If you had written down the treatment directly following the session you would have had something to help you remember and your clients would be much more satisfied with your service – and come back.

Scenario #2:

It’s Christmas and you would like to send out an email to all your clients. As you start to go through your clientele list you realize that you only have about 50% of the email addresses. In fact you only have about 60% of actual mailing addresses. Your advertising efforts are now only going to be about ½ of what you wanted them to be. To top it off, you don’t actually have all of your client’s phone numbers.

  1. If you just had a standard intake form you would have your client’s information to launch a great advertising effort.

And my favorite – Scenario #3:

You have a client that you have been working with for the last 2 years. Three months ago she was in a car accident. Prior to the accident she came in about 2 times a month and has now been seeing you weekly to help with the healing phase, post-trauma. The client informs you at this appointment that she has hired an attorney to help with the litigation aspects of her injuries and is requesting all notes and records from you so that she can get reimbursement. You didn’t have her fill out an intake or consent form (even 2 years ago) and you have no notes of the sessions for her. Your client is quite angry that there are no records for her to get reimbursement. She cancels her next appointment with you and doesn’t come back.

  1. If you had only had her fill out new paperwork at her first appointment 2 years ago and then AGAIN at the beginning of the new treatment for her injury, plus taken notes, you would still have a consistent client.

Paperwork? Really? It is just Massage-I don’t have to keep any kind of records do I? The answer is actually YES, you do!

  1. YES – You do need to maintain current client files.

  2. YES – You must have consent forms and HIPPA forms.

  3. YES – You need to maintain notes of all sessions.

  4. YES – It can affect your business A LOT.

  5. YES – If anything, your clients deserve it.

Now that you are a licensed Massage Therapist in Idaho (and in other state as well) all Massage Therapists are required to maintain good client records. It is part of the ethical standard that was agreed to when obtaining your license. If you are Nationally Certified or now Board Certified you also have the same standard. Below are some of the rules for Idaho with paperwork requirements in bold:


Standard I: Professionalism In his/her professional role the licensee shall: 1. Cooperate with any Board investigation regarding any alleged violation of the Massage Therapy law or rules. 2. Use professional verbal, nonverbal, and written communications. 3. Provide an environment that is safe for the client and which meets all legal requirements for health and safety. 4. Use standard precautions to ensure professional hygienic practices and maintain a level of personal hygiene appropriate for practitioners in the therapeutic setting. 5. Wear clothing that is clean and professional. 6. Obtain voluntary and informed consent from the client, or written informed consent from client’s legal guardian, prior to initiating the treatment plan. 7. If applicable, conduct an accurate needs assessment, develop a plan of care with the client, and update the plan as needed. 8. Use appropriate draping to protect the client’s physical and emotional privacy. When clients remain dressed for seated massage or sports massage, draping is not required. 9. Not practice under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any illegal substances, with the exception of legal or prescribed dosage of medication which does not impair the licensee.

24.27.01 – Rules of the Idaho State Board of Massage Therapy

Standard II: Legal and Ethical Requirements In his/her professional role the licensee shall: 1. Maintain accurate and complete client billing and records. Client Records includes notes written by a licensee and kept in a separate client file that indicates the date of the session, areas of complaint as stated by client, and observations made and actions taken by the licensee.

Most of us do keep some sort of paperwork for our clients in order to have just basic contact information. But are you keeping notes of each of your sessions? Do you have a Health History Intake Form for your business? Do you have a HIPPA consent form? Where do you get these forms – for massage?


If you are looking for a new and more comprehensive intake form for your massage business that includes a contact data collection area, body history and conditions form, consent form, HIPPA form, and S.O.A.P. note chart then I have a GREAT form for you. It is the same on I developed for my own practice – time tested and proven. And the best part is it’s only a 1-time purchase of around $20 to buy with the ability to print as many as you need. You can even download it and add your business logo to the top.

Visit: This valuable paperwork is available for purchase on this page along with a 1- hour FREE ethics class for those of you in Idaho who need 1 credit hour for your licensing requirements.


This new intake form has MORE then just the basics. These forms have something new that your old forms didn’t have; An EXPECTATIONS section. This section shows you very quickly how to break down the massage to fit what your client wants. No more guessing if you are offering the massage your client was looking for. You will know and so will your client. This section will make such a difference in HOW you approach massage for each client that you will wish you had this in the very beginning of your training!

For more information about understanding client expectations, visit our new business online training center and view the Massage Your Market Defining Clients Expectation 3 CE hour Class.

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