The Health and Disability Commissioner is an independent agency set up to help resolve problems, promote and protect your rights as a client or patient, and to improve the quality of healthcare. Their Code of Consumer Rights apply to all health care organisations including hospitals, doctors, counselors, nurses, optometrists, rest homes, homeopaths, home care providers, midwives and indeed massage therapists.
I feel it's important that, as a trained therapist I teach people about my industry and their bodies for several reasons. Firstly, it enables them to truly carry out informed consent. This is the single most important aspect of healthcare and is Right 7 in the HDC Code of Rights. It also helps people understand what is normal and acceptable within the massage industry. Unfortunately the industry is not regulated which means absolutely anyone can claim to be a massage therapist. Not only can this provide people with bad experiences, but without adequate training a therapist can inflict real harm upon a client and breach boundaries. At Kōwhai I want you to know your rights as a consumer and as my client. I believe the client and I are a team. We share a common goal, whether it is relaxation, pain management or addressing some kind of dysfunction. Informed consent starts at the beginning of my appointments during the consultation. This is an important part of your massage where I gain an understanding of your needs, discuss how to proceed, and gain your permission to proceed. I will inquire as to whether there are any parts of your body you prefer not to have touched for religious, sensory or personal reasons, and this will be noted for future appointments. Once on the table, I ask for feedback during deeper strokes and spot work, and am careful to stay within your level of comfort. Some clients enjoy engaging in conversation, however, if you prefer quiet during your session, I am vigilant in following my client’s cues. Your safety and autonomy are things I’m passionate about, and I embrace feedback as both an important part of informed consent and the session itself.