There are several relevant questions to ask if you want to ensure the massage therapist you are about to visit is qualified.
However, before we begin, we probably need to clarify what “qualified” means. We could be talking about formal training, or we could be talking about qualifications to treat a certain condition, injury or problem.
If we are simply talking about training, the Diploma of Remedial Massage (HLT50307) is generally considered the standard qualification for a Remedial Massage Therapist in our industry (although some therapists do continue on to post graduate Advanced Diploma qualifications). A Diploma qualified therapist will have completed several hundred hours of training in musculoskeletal anatomy, physical assessment and manual treatment, and should be able to treat most common musculoskeletal injuries, conditions and assist with most illnesses in so far as massage will do so. They will utilise a wide range of assessment techniques to work out what structures are likely to be causing the pain or issues, treat the affected structures with a combination of techniques such as myofascial release, METS and joint mobilisations, and then reassess to confirm success. A Diploma qualified therapist has the added advantage of being able to offer this as well as all the “basic” massage treatments such as relaxation and deep tissue massage (as they must complete their Cert IV and train in these modalities to continue on to Diploma level). Although the completion of a Diploma does not ensure the therapist offers a great treatment, the time, effort and money put into attaining a Diploma means that you are more than likely seeing a therapist who is passionate, loves what they do and are committed to achieving results for you.
However some therapists may only be qualified to the minimum industry requirement, the Cert IV Massage (HLT40312). This generally means they have a decent understanding of muscular anatomy and can give a general relaxation or sports massage, perhaps combining swedish techniques with trigger point therapy and / or stretches (the number of techniques they are trained in may depend on the college they attended). Indeed some legitimately qualified therapists may have completed non-government accredited courses such as Ka huna with Mettes institute or massage short courses - these are generally not considered to be as “high” a standard as the government accredited course as there is no outside body ensuring a foundation or certain level of training, however these therapists may still be able to provide an excellent massage that achieves relaxation benefits or muscular tension relief.
So, the level of qualification you need to look for really does depend on what you are looking to achieve with your massage. To simplify things, assuming you are wanting to receive a remedial massage, the easiest question to ask to ensure they are legitimately qualified is:
- Do they offer health fund rebates for major funds such as BUPA or Medibank Private ? (not essential but if they do almost all other questions are not necessary, as a therapist MUST hold a minimum Diploma qualification with current insurance and association membership to offer health fund rebates)
If the answer to the above is no, its entirely possible the therapist is still legitimately qualified. Here's a few more questions to ask to ensure this is the case:
I hope that all of this information assists - if you require any further or any clarification of the above, please don't hesitate to contact me,Cecilia Flux, RMTAAMT # email@example.com
- What is their qualification level?
- Do they hold professional indemnity insurance (an absolute MUST - if they don't hold this I would be very wary seeing them. There is no good reason not to if you have completed a legitimate massage course).
- Are they a member of a massage association, such as the Australian Association of Massage Therapists (AAMT), ANTA or ATMS?
- Do they complete regular continuing education (such as short courses, post graduate education, and self-study and research)?
(Note that if they are a member of one of the major associations above they will be required to complete this to maintain their membership)
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