The National Association of Massage and Manipulative Therapists Handbook is designed to help members and their patients.
The Committee of the National Association of Massage and Manipulative Therapists
Avelino Manuel Leann Birdwell
Avelino Manuel Leann Birdwell
Vicky Pritchard Sophie Chillingworth
Practitioners often work alone and have little contact with others in their profession and may become isolated. NAMMT is committed to helping members and being available for guidance or advice.
If you need guidance or advice regarding your practice or patients, your first contact should be your training school. If for any reason you cannot find the answer to your problem, then contact NAMMT and we will try to help. Please email with full details to the following:
NAMMT members must have been trained to approved national standards, i.e. Meeting the requirements of the General Council of Massage Therapies (GCMT) and the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).
Training will have to be at an approved school, e.g.
- The Society of Sports Therapists
- Northern Ireland School of Massage (Londonderry)
- The Irish Institute of Physical Therapies (Cork)
- Advanced Massage Training School (Edinburgh)
Although this list is not an exclusive list, prospective members must be able to show that their level of training is from a school or college that meets the national standard outlined above.
All members must have current professional insurance. The minimum indemnity for Massage is £3,000,000 and for Manipulative Therapy £5,000,000, Insurance may be obtained from a number of companies. If you have any problems or would like to take advantage of our block scheme, please see our Insurance page or contact the Secretary.
This level of membership will be awarded at the committee’s discretion to individuals outside the UK or outside the Massage or Manipulative Therapy professions for outstanding merit or service – Post-nominal or designatory letters: NAMMT (Hon)
The Therapist and the Law
It happens (rarely, thank goodness) that a practitioner may find his or herself in the position being accused of breaking the law. There are several areas of the law that may affect therapists; some obvious, others not.
Remember you must never discuss a patient with anyone, unless you have a signed letter allowing you to discuss the patient with the named person.
Correct legible records must be kept for at least 7 yrs (or if the Patient was 18 or under up to the age of 25 of the patient). If kept on a computer, you must inform the Data Protection Agency. If kept as a written hard copy, they must be legible to other practitioners. Records must should show:- name, address, contact number, GP’s address, where the patient’s pain is and intensity, confirmation that the patient has been fully informed as to their condition, and treatments given as well as subsequent progress at further treatments. Consent should be signed by patient or parent (guardian) if patient is a under 16, check with NAMMT for further details.
Work within your qualifications
No matter how tempted you may be to treat a patient in pain with something that you are either not qualified or insured for, remember you could be liable for prosecution if something went wrong. NAMMT insists you only treat patients within your qualification and insured abilities.
Patients should be made to feel welcome in your practice and that any questions or nervousness will be addressed in a caring competent manner. The patient should be allowed to relax and not feel pushed into a rushed treatment, remembering the more relaxed the patient feels, the easier the treatment will be. A calm presence even if the patient is in pain shows that you are empathetic and that you will do your best to ease their pain, but never promise to cure their problems. Carry out a full physical examination after explaining what you are doing and why. If possible, perform a neurological test and make a note of their condition. The room should be light airy and warm towels and /or a robe should be made available for the patients. Always present yourself in a clean and professional manner. The couch should be at a comfortable height for the patient to get on and off, as well as you to work comfortably. If you have music playing in your clinic check with Public Performers Licence (PPL) to see if you need a licence. If the practitioner is male working on female patients or vice versa, a chaperone should be available. Alternatively, a waver to be signed if the patient does not require this service. Remember the chaperone cannot be a male (or visa versa) or a member of the patient’s family. Check that any female patient is not pregnant or trying for a baby as sensitively as possible. When doing a visual examination, check for any blemishes, bruising and pustules, and mention them to the patient, especially bruises BEFORE you begin treatment.
Continual Professional Development (CPD) is a requirement for NAMMT members with a minimum of 20 hours per year, of which 12 hrs must be with a regulated certified training body and 8 hrs may be self-tuition. CPD must also relate to the discipline and qualification in which you are qualified to treat. Many Training Schools and Professional suppliers (e.g. Physio – Med) will provide CPD Seminars. CPD confirmation is required at the start and renewal of memberships. Private (self) CPD can be anything from reading a book, watching a DVD, TV or radio programme or via computer so long as you record the length, subject and what you have learned and how it has helped you and /or your practice. One of its main benefits of undertaking a structured CPD programme is the paper trail which it produces and which can be used as evidence of what you have accomplished. There is little point in increasing your performance levels if you are unable to prove it. NAMMT expect records to be kept.
The basics of the Record Form are simple.
- What I did: Identify each specific task that you have set out to accomplish – i.e. what have you been trying to learn.
- Why I did it: What was the rationale behind your actions? Was it to achieve a specific requirement for advancement within your current job, was it to increase your likelihood of promotion, or was it just to satisfy a long held ambition?
- What did I achieve: What evidence do you have? Have you passed an examination or similar test, or have you managed to achieve a specific level of performance in your job over a period of time.
- Other comments: These may relate to the specific requirements of NAMMT or a similar organisation, such as any “points” which you may have achieved and which have to be quantified annually as one of your membership responsibilities.
Constitution and Code of Ethics
NAMMT has, as with other Professional Bodies, a Constitution by which it operates by and must adhere to.
The Constitution in its full form is too long to be included in this Handbook. All new members will receive a copy on joining and there is a copy on the NAMMT Website.
Code of Ethics
As with the Constitution, there is not enough space in this Handbook section to reprint the whole Code of Ethics. This also will be given to new members and is available on the NAMMT Website.
Success in Practice
Below are some extracts from Mr Eddie Caldwell book “Success in Practice” that you may find very valuable advice
WHAT FACTORS HELP YOU TO SUCCEED IN PRACTICE? – HERE ARE A FEW EXAMPLES
Smile and be courteous and friendly with all patients all the time.
Present a positive and professional image all the time.
Professionally produced business cards, letterheads.
A neat, professional appearance.
The ability to listen to patients and to hear what they tell you.
Remembering previous conversations with patients and thanking them for any referrals to you.
Keep patients informed about your professional development and practice Improvement.
You are the most important factor in the success or otherwise of your emerging practice. You have to make a good impression on each and every one of your patients. You cannot afford to fail at this first hurdle.
Make sure that you present yourself in a way that will help you rather than hinder your future career. You must dress smartly and neatly. You need to fit into the patient’s preconception of what a therapist should look like. We suggest that therapists should wear a tunic or white polo shirt, trousers and shoes. Look like a therapist. Do not present yourself, for example, in a logo emblazoned t-shire proclaiming “No Fear”, a pair of old trainers and baggy tracksuit bottoms. This may pass muster down at the local rugby or athletics club but it is not for the ordinary member of the public seeking massage treatment.
Greet each patient and smile a little. A warm welcome works wonders with patients who may be apprehensive or in pain. They hope for a kind, sympathetic person to treat their aches and pains. The lack of a civil greeting or a smile, the practitioner’s perceived diffident manner, will have a negative effect on the patient and lessen the chances that your treatment will be a good one for that patient.
Remember this, too, when speaking to patients on the telephone. If this is the first contact between you, an abrupt manner will be off-putting.
Check whether or not your insurance covers every aspect of the home visit: yourself and your equipment (including vehicle).
Home Visits and Safety
How safe is a home visit? Do you know the patient? How did they get your details? We recommend that you do not visit people you do not know. For those you do know, find out who else will be in the house? Do you know them?
Will there be a suitable chaperone present? You could always take your own chaperone, but think of the extra cost.
How safe will your car and equipment be whilst you do your treatment?
Always ask yourself (and possibly the patient, too) why do you want a home visit? If you are not happy with the answers, the solution is simple: do not go!
If you feel ill at ease or become suspicious when in the house, finish the treatment and go home; get out quickly.
Most practitioners do outside visits (or domiciliary) from time to time, as part of the service they provide for their patients. Many new practitioners take on outside visits without due thought for the factors involved.
Outside calls take much longer than you think and two hours can easily be needed from setting out to arriving back home. During the visit, watch the time carefully. You may arrive on time but, due to a variety of reasons, you may be much later after the treatment and miss your time for another patient.
Does your equipment fit comfortably into your car? How heavy or light is it to carry more than a few yards?
Make sure that access to the property is straightforward. You may be facing remote country lanes, which can damage your vehicle, lack of signposts, or you may be in the city with very limited or high cost or inconvenient parking.
What will you charge the patient: your normal fee or one that will realistically reflect the time involved and any additional expenses, e.g. a chaperone, petrol?
The Therapist and the Law
It happens (rarely, thank goodness) that a practitioner may find him or her self in the position of being accused of breaking the law. There are many areas of the law that may affect the therapist; some obvious, others not.
This covers everyone and would include events like common assault and indecent assault. There are strict interpretations concerning these offences and practitioners should be aware of what may constitute either: Be aware that if you keep any patient details on a P.C. you must notify DATA Protection.
A patient may resort to law if he or she feels that the therapist has been negligent or has failed in his or her duty of care. This may be a failure to examine a patient and then give a treatment that has harmed the patient. Another example is that, upon examination, a practitioner notes a potentially serious problem but then does nothing about it and, later, the patient may be taken seriously ill, maybe with fatal consequences. Do not take chances; do not be lazy; pay close attention to your patient and do everything you can to help them.
Continuing Professional Development
CPD is used to describe the process of systemic maintenance, improvement and broadening of knowledge and skills.
CPD also involves identifying areas of practice that need updating or extending, planning, implementing and identifying learning outcomes.
CPD is a necessary component for the successful application of safe, effective practice.
CPD prevents stagnation and loss of contact with our developing profession and encourages practitioners to meet and share.
The General Council for Massage Therapies has already initiated guidelines for professional associations to follow and most professional associations, for example the National Association of Massage and Manipulative Therapists (NAMMT) have a CPD policy and a requirement that members undertake approximately 20 hrs per year of CPD activities.
Examples of Activities Likely to Qualify for CPD
Diploma courses (Advanced Remedial, Manipulative Therapy, Modular Diploma in Sports Massage, Sports Therapy Diploma).
1 and 2 day seminars, workshops designed to maintain, improve and broaden the practitioner’s knowledge and skills, e.g. Electrotherapy, Soft Tissue Release, Baby Massage, etc.
Teaching: Preparing and delivering seminars and relevant classes
Giving talks: e.g. local groups or at sports clubs
Self Qualification such as reading anatomy books or watching DVD’s or web sites
Patients may seek damages against a practitioner in a general recompense for inadequate or harmful treatment or may be more specific and claim special damage for loss of a function or sense.
Medico legal reports may be required by the courts, other health professionals, Insurance companies, etc.
Your patient records are legal documents and must be accurate and accessible.
Disclosure of Records (Access of Health Records 1990)
Data Protection Acts (1984, 1988 and implementation 2000)
Professional Conduct and Code of Practice – this is usually your Professional Association and /or the General Council for Massage Therapies.
Attending meetings: e.g. Professional meeting, committees, branch meetings
Structured reading: Planned reading to update knowledge on current work practice and research
Case studies: Accurately documenting clinical findings, treatment protocols, Measuring outcomes – use of photographic evidence.
Media presentations: e.g. writing structured articles for publication.