Boundaries for Massage Therapists

A Boundary is a space within a perimeter that may be a physical, emotional or mental space.  The emotional (mental) space is determined by past experiences, values and morals. The physical space is the actual physical limits of space that is needed by each person to feel safe and secure.  Boundaries can be communicated by verbal conversations or body language.  Some people, especially those with a history of abuse of some sort, may not be aware of their boundaries let alone able to maintain their boundary.  Boundaries may be determined before a session to ensure the clients comfort.

Boundaries are often difficult to determine.  What may be good for one person, may not be appropriate for another.  It is important to explore boundaries and constantly readjust limits to accommodate each individual.
When boundaries are crossed, respect may be lost in the relationship.
There are a main types of boundaries we deal with include: Legal boundaries, professional boundaries, and personal boundaries.

Legal boundaries are those that of course deal with the law and the rules and regulations that are set up by each state, city or county. Your scope of practice is defined legally. Your scope of practice is the limits or boundaries that apply to your practice.  This may include areas you can work on and what you can or can not do. This will determine if you can do things like make diagnosis’s, do physical adjustments, work in the mouth or other body cavity and sell vitamins and other related items.
The laws vary so much that it is impossible to discuss here.  Make sure you contact your local authorities to determine what your legal boundaries are and that you work within the law.

Professional boundaries are determined by many things such as your type of practice, your business rules and practices.

Personal boundaries are just that- everything that determines your safety zone. They may be influenced by past experiences, beliefs and values.

Boundary violations usually begin quietly, little by little, and without many problems.  When you go through the process of looking at your values and needs and set your framework, boundary violations can be minimized.  Recognizing your own boundaries will be based on your values and needs.  There is no right or wrong here – only what is what is important to you.