A collage of Social Media icons

Becoming socially acceptable.

In today’s digital age, social media has become an integral part of our lives. It has revolutionised the way we communicate, connect, and market ourselves. While social media offers numerous benefits for businesses and professionals, it also poses certain risks, especially in professions that require a high level of trust and professionalism, such as massage therapy.

Over recent years, AMT has been approached by external regulators on several occasions seeking details on industry standards relating to social media usage. This was following investigations relating to inappropriate online interactions between therapists and their clients. In 2022, AMT put the call out for members to join our new “Social Media Standard” committee to help develop a new standard for inclusion in the AMT Massage Therapy Code of Practice.  It was very important to the Board that this was a member led standard.  Once the initial standard was developed by the committee, it was released to the wider membership base for feedback.  More than 90 members took the opportunity to provide feedback and the final release of the standard has incorporated this input from members.

Subhadra Gerard, our AMT Chairperson, and a committee member commented “Our new social media standard reflects our dedication to the ongoing growth and excellence of massage therapy as a reputable profession.  Social media is a powerful tool, and with that power comes responsibility.  We believe this standard will guide our members in harnessing the potential of social media while adhering to the ethical standards that our Association stand for”.  See the full media release here.

Since the evolution of social media, there have been a range of statutory requirements implemented to try and mitigate the risks that may be associated with misuse. Social media now falls under so many different types of legislation, including Privacy, Advertising, Online Safety Act, National Codes of Conduct, and laws relating to discrimination, defamation, and sexual harassment.

The aim of the Social Media Standard Committee was to look at all this legislation and give our members and members of the public a clear, comprehensive overview of the ethical and legal obligations in relation to social media usage.

There are eight guiding principles to the social media standard that massage therapists should be aware of.

  • Nothing is truly private on social media.
  • Dual relationships carry associated risks.
  • Informed consent applied to content and photos that are published on social media.
  • Professional boundaries in the virtual world are just as critical to the therapeutic relationship as the real-world professional boundaries.
  • Keep things client centred.
  • It’s your business, it’s your responsibility.
  • You are like an editor of a newspaper.  You must moderate your content.
  • Reputation is a precious asset.

The AMT Social Media Standard can be used to write a Social Media Policy for your own practice.  Social media has transformed the way businesses connect with clients, share information, and manage their online presence. However, the use of social media in the massage industry comes with its own set of challenges and risks, including patient confidentiality, professionalism, reputation management, regulatory compliance, and crisis situations.

It doesn’t matter if you are self-employed or running a large clinic, a well-defined Social Media Policy is an essential tool that will help your massage business navigate these challenges and ensures that your online presence remains in alignment with your values and obligations. In doing so, it protects client, employees, and your practice itself, fostering a safer and more responsible digital environment for all.

AMT would like to thank those members that stepped up to help develop this Standard. Your commitment to help your peers to better understand their ethical, legal and professional obligations is appreciated.  Thanks also to all those members who took the time to complete the feedback survey.  We hope that you find this new addition to the AMT Code of Practice a valuable resource.

A full copy of the Standard can be found on  page 21 of the Code of Practice.

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  1. Thanks to all involved for their contributions and for once again leading the massage industry.

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