Massage Health History Forms -Why Do They Ask All Those Questions ?
In most countries it is a legal requirement for a massage therapist to keep client records. Insurance companies, Workers compensation insurers and Health fund providers all have their own requirements that therapists keep a record of the treatment that is provided to their claimants.
Let us now take a look at the main questions asked on client intake forms to see the rationale behind each. The example form is used with permission of
Some of these questions may seem quite basic, but they have a reason.
DATE: This indicates when the treatment was begun, and the length of time that the treatment continued.
NAME: This identifies the client and distinguishes the client from other clients of the same surname. For this purpose a middle name is sometimes also sought.
DATE OF BIRTH: This distinguishes the client from others of the same name. It also serves to indicate whether the client's symptoms commonly occur for a person around about that age, or whether they are early onset.
ADDRESS: Insurers and Health Funds require a physical address. A therapist may need to mail invoices or receipts. If the therapist conducts a mobile business, it enables the therapist to find the client. An address also provides the therapist with information about her/his catchment area and the effectiveness of any advertising.
PHONE NUMBER: This enables the therapist to confirm or change booking times.
REFERRED BY: Tells the therapist how much "word of mouth" advertising is happening. It also gives an indication of which doctors and other health professionals value massage and are sending clients.
ANY PREVIOUS MASSAGE: Indicates whether the client is familiar with the general protocols of receiving a massage or whether s/he will require explanations before and during the massage.
HOW CAN I HELP YOU TODAY? Allows the client to explain why s/he has come for the massage, what s/he wants from the massage and to mention any specific problem.
PREFERRED PRESSURE: This knowledge enables the therapist to provide a massage that is within the pain tolerance of the client. This avoids the possibility of the client feeling that s/he did not really get a decent massage if the client likes a firm massage. If the client prefers a gentle massage and receives a deep massage, the client may feel unexpected soreness on the days following. This bad experience can turn a person off massage. Consequently s/he will miss out on the benefits that massage can provide.
QUESTIONS ABOUT ANY PAIN: The purpose of these questions is to gain a more precise knowledge of the type of any injury (neurological or soft tissue), where the pain is, and the structures involved. For instance, pain between the shoulder blades. They give information as to whether massage is a suitable treatment by evaluating the client's current symptoms, and also provide a starting point and a yardstick to assess the efficacy of the treatment as it progresses.
ARE YOU UNDER THE CARE OF A HEALTH PRACTITIONER? The problem may already have been diagnosed. It enables the therapist to determine if his/her treatment will assist or hinder the treatment already being received. There may be other problems for which the client is not requesting massage - these issues may be contra-indication to massage.
MEDICATIONS: Can prompt the client to remember vital information that s/he has forgotten to mention.
PREVIOUS INJURIES: Adhesions, scarring and other abnormalities may have formed.
PREVIOUS SURGERIES: There may be areas that must be avoided.
OCCUPATION: The client's work may have caused stress or overuse syndrome which can lead to muscle imbalance. This also tells the therapist how the client uses his/her body.
RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES: Helps build a picture of the client's lifestyle. Whether the client is generally healthy and active.
SLEEP: Sleep position can be a contributing factor to the client's symptoms. A stress/lifestyle indicator.
EAT AND DRINK: Again helps build a picture of the client's lifestyle.
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BODY'S SYSTEMS: To evaluate any contra-indications to massage, or a pathology that may need referral to a doctor, as well as indicating any precautions that need to be taken.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO TELL ME? Prompts the client in case s/he has forgotten to mention something previously.
Sample Health History Forms
- Sydney Hills Massage
The form discussed above is used by Sydney Hills Massage
- Health History Form - In Balance Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork
This is an example of a very comprehensive health history form.