We have a saying at MassageFIX, “It isn’t massage “therapy” without documentation.” Have you ever felt that your massage therapist forgot what she worked on in your last massage? I get incredibly annoyed when I’ve paid a therapist good money to help me through a problem, only to start at the beginning every time. Why doesn’t she remember what she did and what she needs to do next? Why is it my job to remind her?
There is a simple answer. Your massage therapist CANNOT remember! That’s why professional massage therapists take notes like doctors, lawyers, etc., every session. We call those notes “S.O.A.P Notes.” That stands for subjective, objective, assessment, plan. It lets us document many things:
- Exactly what you said the problem was
- What we agreed to work on today
- Summarization of your health
- What we found in the session
- What we did in the session that matches what we agreed on
- What we were able to accomplish
- What we were not able to accomplish
- What we recommend next for you
- How you felt about the session
- Our analysis of your problem
- Our plan to address the issue in future
- Any referrals
- Any follow-up communications
Licensed professionals cannot make excuses for not doing this work. As far as I know, pen and paper still exist, and you can always find ten minutes to make a note. When you lay your hard-earned money down for a massage, you should be getting this level of work-product back. Believe me, your therapist was taught better in school. To get a state license in massage therapy, they had to sign their name on the dotted line, promising that they would do a certain level of documentation for you. Are they? Have they?
I challenge every massage therapy consumer to request their S.O.A.P. Notes and or summarization of their file. The law says they have to give it to you within 30 days. We send records all the time to clients, lawyers, and insurance companies. We require photo ID and a HIPPA release form to be signed by the client, and we are also required to store your file for five years.
Imagine having spent hundreds of dollars with a massage therapist…getting into a car accident… and your insurance company saying you already had ankle problems? Then your therapist cannot produce your file to help you prove otherwise because she was too LAZY to do her job? Or what if you needed back surgery and your insurance company wanted more proof of how long and how intensely you’ve suffered before they will pay for your $70,000 surgery? Please, please don’t waste your time and trust with this kind of massage-giver. Make your massage therapist prove that they do real, complete MASSAGE THERAPY………after all, you are legally and ethically entitled to it.