Clients visit massage spas to relax, receive therapeutic treatment or indulge themselves. Because massages and spa treatments sometimes require clients to reveal personal information, such as a recent surgery, or require clients to remove their clothes, standards for professionalism must be in place. Establishing a code of conduct in the massage space workplace can help articulate explicit expectations for employee behavior. Codes of conduct can include elements from guidelines established by professional associations related to the massage and spa industries, but can be tailored to suit the particular needs of your establishment.
Because of the nature of massage, customers and employees must work together, sometimes quite intimately. Part of creating a safe, professional and effective workplace for employees includes communicating code of conduct expectations to guests. The code of conduct can be posted in dressing rooms, on spa menus and at the front desk, according to the International Spa Association. Customers should know that they have the right to a clean, safe environment and that they should communicate their preferences and concerns to employees. They must treat employees with dignity and respect, but can request information regarding staff licensing and certification standards. The code also can emphasize that their personal information will remain confidential.
The employee code of conduct should also make explicit expectations about sensitivity, privacy and confidentiality. Answers to questions about health, stress levels, injuries and personal goals for massage treatment should not be shared with others. During massage treatments, clients should be draped to keep muscles warm but also to expose only those body sections being massaged during a particular section of the treatment.
As part of the massage spa code of conduct, employees should set clients at ease by presenting themselves as professionals. This includes dressing in a professional manner and refraining from using drugs, alcohol or other substances before entering the workplace. Professionalism also involves being honest about experience levels, trainings and certifications and the limitations of their abilities. For example, if a client requests a treatment technique that an employee is not trained to perform, the employee should be expected to refer the client to another massage professional.
Because of the physical nature of interaction in a massage spa workplace, employees must refrain from sexual language or activities with clients, according to the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Even in circumstances where clients initiate sexual relations, employees must refrain from participating. Additionally, employees may not discriminate against clients, refusing to perform massage treatments, based on personal prejudice.
- International Spa Association: Code of Conduct
- Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals: ABMP Code of Ethics
- American Massage Therapy Association: Code of Ethics
- National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork: Code of Ethics
- Body Rest.com: Philadelphia Day Spa Therapists Code of Ethics
Morgan Rush is a California journalist specializing in news, business writing, fitness and travel. He's written for numerous publications at the national, state and local level, including newspapers, magazines and websites. Rush holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego.