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Industry • Best Practice

What to Include in Your Massage Intake Form

Feature these fields on a massage intake form to refine your services and better assist clients

Developing a massage intake form is useful for getting up to speed on your client and can help inform your service recommendations. For an intake form to be valuable, it needs to contain a carefully curated set of questions that gets to the heart of your client’s needs without being overwhelming. Here’s how to combine medical information, prior treatment information, and basic information to create a form that uncovers your client’s expectations without being overbearing.

What should a massage intake form accomplish?

A massage client intake form’s primary goal is to establish expectations between you and your client. It will inform you of your client’s basic information, any particular pain points that your client is experiencing, medical conditions that could impact their massage therapy session, and any miscellaneous information that could be relevant to their treatment. 

Beyond establishing expectations, an intake form will make your spa more efficient, and help build trust between you and your clientele. Use the massage therapy client intake form to project an air of authority. Include a key question that other spas may not have considered. It can instill a lot of confidence in your clients.

Your massage intake form doesn’t need to be a pen-and-paper deal, either. It’s easier to store and sort through digital documents than it is to retain physical client files, and it makes the onboarding process more convenient for your client because the forms can be completed at home before their appointment. 

Remember: Your intake form is for new clients, and possibly clients with no prior experience receiving massages. First impressions are lasting impressions, and they’re all the more important in an industry that’s built on relationships. By going digital, you’re making it easier to customize all of the fields on your form and giving the impression that you run a savvy salon.

Everything to include in a simple massage therapy intake form

A massage intake form shouldn’t be a particularly long piece of paperwork. It should be comprehensive enough to paint a complete picture of a client’s expectations and unique needs without diving into extreme detail. Use these fields to give them a stellar massage without feeling like they’ve arrived at the ER:

Basic information

The first thing you’ll need to collect from your client is their basic information. Their name, phone number, and emergency contact details are all staples of an intake form for a massage therapist. Include a space for the client’s email address, with an option to opt into any newsletter or promotional information you send, and a space for their pronouns and gender identity. It’s wise to leave a spot open that asks whether they prefer a male or female masseuse.

Prior treatment

Include a section that gauges the client’s prior experiences with massage therapy. Ask how long ago their last massage was, what type of massage they received, and if there was anything they particularly enjoyed or disliked about it. Use this information to tailor your service to your client’s needs. For instance, if they thought that a deep tissue massage was too painful, recommend a gentler option instead, like a Swedish massage. 

Medical information

It’s important to know if your client has a history of medical issues that could impact their enjoyment of your services. Allergies and injuries are particularly important to take note of. Your massage intake form should ask your client if they’ve ever developed a skin rash, blisters, redness, or swelling after using skin lotions, oils, or soaps. Asking clients if they’ve experienced congestion or sneezing after using scented soaps or specific fragrances can likewise be useful. Further, ask if they’ve experienced hay fever, asthma, or food allergies in the past. Nut allergies are fairly common, and many oils use them as an ingredient.

Physical injuries are just as important as allergens. Understanding a client’s history of surgeries and physical injuries can help guide your hand (figuratively and literally) during the massage. In addition to asking for this information on the intake form, have a face-to-face conversation with the client about their injuries before you begin. Make sure they understand the difference between pain that typically comes from deep tissue or other high-pressure massage techniques and the sharp, piercing pain that comes from sensitive injuries. Tell them it’s okay to vocalize if something feels wrong or the pain is too much to bear.

Pain hotspots

Include a portion on your massage intake form dedicated to your client’s pain hotspots. This can be as simple as a blank line to describe where they experience pain, like their neck or back.  Being mindful of these areas will ensure that your clients receive the best treatment possible, and help you recommend the perfect service to fit their needs.

Designing your massage intake form

It’s fine to use a template that checks all the boxes of boxes to check, but why not give it a glow-up? Even a simple massage therapy intake form can benefit from sharp, modern letterhead and a visually distinctive design. Use your brand’s logo and accent colors to inform your layout and design, with the goal being to design something that is legible, striking, and coherent. If you’re just looking for the basics, the American Message Therapy Association has published this ready-to-use massage intake form template.

Protecting client information

No matter what you choose to do, remember that any client's medical information is protected under HIPAA guidelines. You need to take special precautions to ensure that you’re following said guidelines, as HIPAA violations carry massive fines and cause serious damage to your reputation. Keep physical documents in a secure, locked location with minimal access. And while you need to be responsible with both digital and physical documents, many applications feature built-in HIPAA compliance protocols that make it less likely you’ll suffer from a breach using digital intake forms.

Combining digital record keeping with a to-the-point intake form can improve your spa’s efficiency while simultaneously providing clients with a faster onboarding experience. Just remember to include spots for their basic info, massage history, medical information, and pain hotspots. With all of that information at your side, you can offer a world-class, personalized massage.

For more helpful tips for starting or improving your massage business, check out our guide: Starting a Massage Business: Everything You Need to Know.

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