Standards of Practice

The purpose of WWAHT's Standards of Practice is to foster high standards of ethical and professional practice in the delivery of services. It is also possible, if necessary, to ask our members to take a recognized credible certification program that assures the competency of practitioners of therapeutic massage, beauty and bodywork.

These Standards of Practice ensure that our members are aware of, and committed to, upholding high standards of practice for the profession. Also, the Standards of Practice are meant to assist members of the general public, including consumers, other health care professionals, and state and municipal regulatory agencies with understanding the duties and responsibilities of our work.

 

These Standards of Practice for the profession of therapeutic massage, beauty and bodywork are the guiding principles by which our members conduct their professional practice. These principles help to assure that all professional behaviors are conducted in an ethical, compassionate, and responsible manner. Through these Standards of Practice, we seek to establish and uphold high standards, traditions, and principles of the practices that constitute the profession of therapeutic massage, beauty and bodywork. These Standards of Practice are enforceable guidelines for professional conduct, and therefore, are stated in observable and measurable terms intended as minimum levels of practice to which our members are held accountable. 

Members who fail to comply with the Code of Ethics and these Standards of Practice shall be deemed to have engaged in professional misconduct which may result in sanctions, or other appropriate disciplinary actions, including the suspension or revocation of the membership.

Our Members are obligated to report unethical behavior and violations of the Code of Ethics and these Standards of Practice they reasonably and in good faith believe have been performed by other colleague.

These Standards of Practice reflect our clear commitment that members provide an optimal level of service and strive for excellence in their professional practice. This includes committing to continued personal and professional growth through continuing education, and understanding and accepting that personal and professional actions reflect on the integrity of the therapeutic massage, beauty and bodywork profession. 

WWAHT requires our members to conduct themselves in a highly professional and dignified manner. We will not consider and/or adjudicate complaints against any member that are based solely on consumer related issues or are based on competitive marketplace issues.

As the therapeutic massage, beauty and bodywork profession evolves, so, too, will these Standards of Practice. These Standards of Practice are, therefore, a live and dynamic document and subject to revision in keeping with the changing demands and expectations of the therapeutic massage and bodywork profession.

STANDARDS OF PRACTICE

STANDARD I: PROFESSIONALISM

Our Members must provide optimal levels of professional therapeutic massage, beauty and bodywork services and demonstrate excellence in practice by promoting healing and well-being through responsible, compassionate and respectful touch. In his/her professional role, they shall:

Standard I(a): adhere to WWAHT's Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice;

Standard I(b): comply with the peer review process conducted by our Ethics and Standards Committee regarding any alleged violations of the WWAHT Code of Ethics and these Standards of Practice;

Standard I(c): treat each client with respect, dignity and worth;

Standard I(d): use professional verbal, nonverbal and written communications;

Standard I(e): provide an environment that is safe and comfortable for the client and which, at a minimum, meets all legal requirements for health and safety;

Standard I(f): use standard precautions to insure professional hygienic practices and maintain a level of personal hygiene appropriate for practitioners in the therapeutic setting and on Yoga classes;

Standard I(g): wear clothing that is clean, modest, and professional;

Standard I(h): obtain voluntary and informed consent from the client prior to initiating the session;

Standard I(i): if applicable, conduct an accurate needs assessment, develop a plan of care with the client, and update the plan as needed;

Standard I(j): use appropriate draping to protect the client's physical and emotional privacy;

Standard I(k): be knowledgeable of his/her scope of practice and practice only within these limitations;

Standard I(l): refer to other professionals when in the best interest of the client and practitioner;

Standard I(m): seek other professional advice when needed;

Standard I (n): respect the traditions and practices of other professionals and foster collegial relationships;

Standard I(o): not falsely impugn the reputation of any colleague;

Standard I(p): properly designate his/her professional ability and competency to practice therapeutic massage, beauty and bodywork;

Standard I(q): use WWAHT logo and certification number on business cards, brochures, advertisements, and stationery only in a manner that is within established by our guidelines;

Standard I(r): not duplicate WWAHT certificate for purposes other than verification of the practitioner’s credentials;

Standard I(s): immediately return the certificate to WWAHT if certification is revoked; and

STANDARD II: LEGAL AND ETHICAL REQUIREMENTS

Our Members must comply with all the legal requirements in applicable jurisdictions regulating the profession of therapeutic massage, beauty and bodywork. In his/her professional role, they shall:

Standard II(a): obey all local, state, and federal laws;

Standard II(b): refrain from any behavior that results in illegal, discriminatory, or unethical actions;

Standard II(c): accept responsibility for his/her own actions;

Standard II(d): report to the proper massage therapy regulatory body within thirty (30) days of discovery of, any evidence, such as first-hand knowledge, indicating any unethical, incompetent or illegal act committed by other colleague;

Standard II(e): maintain accurate and truthful records;

Standard II(f): report to us, within thirty (30) days of discovery of, any evidence, such as first-hand knowledge, of violations of WWAHT Code of Ethics and these Standards of Practice by himself/herself or by other colleague;

Standard II(g): report to us, within thirty (30) days of discovery of, any criminal conviction of, or plea of guilty, or no contest to, a crime in any jurisdiction (other than a minor traffic offense) by himself/herself or by other colleague;

Standard II(h): report to us, within thirty (30) days of discovery of, any pending civil litigation and the resulting resolution related to the professional practice of the member and the professional practice of other colleague;

Standard II(i): report to us, within thirty (30) days of discovery of, any pending complaints in any state or local government or quasi-government board or agency against his/her professional conduct or competence, or that of another colleague, and the resulting resolution of such complaint; and

Standard II(j): respect existing publishing rights and obey copyright and trademark laws.

STANDARD III: CONFIDENTIALITY

Our Members shall respect the confidentiality of client information and safeguard all records.  In his/her professional role, they shall:

Standard III(a): protect the confidentiality of the client’s identity and information in all conversations, advertisements, and any and all other matters unless disclosure of identifiable  information is requested by the client in writing, is medically necessary, or is required by law;

Standard III(b): protect the interests of clients who are minors or clients who are unable to give voluntary and informed consent by obtaining prior written permission from a legal guardian;

Standard III(c): solicit only information that is relevant to the professional client/therapist relationship;

Standard III(d): securely retain client files for a minimum period of four (4) years from the termination of the therapeutic relationship; and

Standard III(e): dispose of client files in a secure manner.

STANDARD IV: BUSINESS PRACTICES

Our Members shall practice with honesty, integrity, and lawfulness in the business of therapeutic massage, beauty and bodywork. In his/her professional role they shall:

Standard IV(a): provide a physical setting that is safe and meets all applicable legal requirements for health and safety;

Standard IV(b): maintain adequate and customary liability insurance;

Standard IV(c): maintain adequate progress notes for each client session, if applicable;

Standard IV(d): accurately and truthfully inform the public of services provided;

Standard IV(e): honestly represent all professional qualifications and affiliations;

Standard IV(f): promote his/her business with integrity and avoid potential and actual conflicts of interest;

Standard IV(g): advertise in a manner that is honest, dignified, accurate and representative of services provided and remains consistent with WWAHT's Code of Ethics and these Standards of Practice;

Standard IV(h): advertise in a manner that is not misleading to the public and shall never use sensational, sexual or provocative language and/or pictures to promote his/her business;

Standard IV(i): comply with all laws regarding sexual harassment;

Standard IV(j): not exploit the trust and dependency of others, including clients and employees/co-workers;

Standard IV(k): disclose a schedule of fees in advance of the session;

Standard IV(l): make financial arrangements in advance which are clearly understood by, and safeguard the best interests of, the client or consumer;

Standard IV(m): file all applicable municipal, state and federal taxes; and

Standard IV(n): maintain accurate financial records, contracts and legal obligations, appointment records, tax reports and receipts for the most recent three (3) fiscal years.

STANDARD V: ROLES AND BOUNDARIES

Our Members shall adhere to ethical boundaries and perform the professional roles designed to protect both the client and the practitioner, and safeguard the therapeutic value of the relationship. In his/her professional role, they shall:

Standard V(a): recognize his/her personal limitations and practice only within these limitations;

Standard V(b): recognize his/her influential position with the client and not exploit the relationship for personal or other gain;

Standard V(c): recognize and limit the impact of transference and counter-transference between the client and our member;

Standard V(d): avoid dual or multidimensional relationships that could impair professional judgment or result in exploitation of a client, student, employee, supervisee, mentee, trainee, or anyone else with whom a power differential exists;

Standard V(e): acknowledge and respect the client's freedom of choice in the therapeutic session;

Standard V(f): respect the client’s right to refuse the therapeutic session or any part of the therapeutic session;

Standard V(g): refrain from practicing under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any illegal substances (with the exception of a prescribed dosage of prescription medication which does not impair our member's work);

Standard V(h): have the right to refuse and/or terminate the service to a client who is abusive or under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any illegal substance; and

Standard V(i): have the right to refuse and/or terminate the service to a client who exhibits language or behavior which the therapist deems as an immediate or potential risk to the safety of the: (i) client;( ii) himself; or (iii) therapeutic relationship.

STANDARD VI: PREVENTION OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT AND INAPPROPRIATE TOUCH

Our Members shall refrain from any behavior that sexualizes, or appears to sexualize, the client/therapist relationship. Our Members recognizes the intimacy of the therapeutic relationship may activate practitioner and/or client needs and/or desires that weaken boundaries which may lead to sexualizing the therapeutic relationship. In his/her professional role, our member shall:

Standard VI(a): refrain from participating in a sexual relationship or sexual conduct with the client, whether consensual or otherwise, from the beginning of the client/therapist relationship and for a minimum of six (6) months after the termination of the client/therapist relationship, unless an ongoing current sexual relationship existed prior to the date the therapeutic relationship began. In the case of a pre-existing ongoing sexual relationship, providing therapeutic massage and bodywork on such a person is discouraged, but may be done with informed consent which acknowledges the power differential in a therapeutic relationship and the complexities of dual relationships;

Standard VI(b): in the event the client initiates sexual behavior, interrupt therapy to clarify the purpose of the therapeutic session. Provided that the client’s initial sexual behavior ceases, our member may, at his or her discretion, take action to terminate or continue the session. Our Member shall terminate the session if the sexual conduct continues;

Standard VI(c): with the exception of a pre-existing ongoing sexual relationship, as set forth in Standard VI(a), recognize that sexual activity with clients, students, employees, supervisees, mentees, trainees, or anyone else with whom a power differential exists, is prohibited even if consensual;

Standard VI(d): not touch the genitalia;

Standard VI(e): only perform therapeutic treatments beyond the normal narrowing of the ear canal and normal narrowing of the nasal passages: (i) as indicated in the plan of care; (ii) after receiving informed voluntary written consent; and (iii) only if our member is permitted to do so  under state law;

Standard VI(f): only perform therapeutic treatments in the oral cavity: (i) as indicated in the plan of care; (ii) after receiving informed voluntary written consent; and (iii) only if our member is permitted to do so under state law;

Standard VI(g): only perform therapeutic treatments into the anal canal: i) as indicated in the plan of care; (ii) after receiving informed voluntary written consent; and (iii) only if our member is expressly authorized to perform colonic irrigation under state law; and

Standard VI(h): only provide therapeutic breast massage: (i) as indicated in the plan of care; (ii) after receiving informed voluntary written consent; and (iii) only if our member is permitted to do so under state law.