Probably the first thing you need to understand about the current state of the Massage Industry in Australia is that it is not regulated.
There are a number of organisations that massage therapists can join once they have attained their Certificate, Remedial or Myotherapy qualification. Of these, the AMT, MMA, ANTA and IRMA are the best known.
For the therapist, there are numerous benefits derived from registering with an association, however, not a legal requirement. A massage therapist can complete their training, attain insurance and start treating patients. Some may even take the chance and not have insurance. For a therapist who wishes to register with the numerous health funds as a provider, then registering with an association is essential.
This process ensures that the therapist has met the minimum requirements stipulated by the chosen massage association, and in turn that association’s standards have been approved by the relevant health fund. This ensures (to a degree) that the therapist providing the massage is aptly qualified, insured and registered.
As the government encourages the public to attain private health insurance and more people do this, clinics, allied health practices, day spas and some massage shops request that as a minimum, therapist have a remedial qualification so they can offer health rebates to their clients. This encourages clientele to seek their services and hence business.
In theory this ensures a base standard of learned skill by the therapist, which translates as quality. What you need to consider is that as an unregulated industry, the educational guidelines for training organisations (RTOs) teaching massage is open to interpretation, and vary from college to college.
With sixteen years lecturing experience in this industry, I can assure you that not all therapists are trained equally in terms of knowledge, skill, emphasis of learning, quality of teaching staff and hours spent in theoretical and practical learning. And yet, these therapists attain the same qualification and are then allowed to join one of the associations.
Taking this one step further, there are a number of unethical massage businesses operating, where the person performing the treatment is not qualified or registered. In fact there is no legal precedent to stop owners of these businesses training staff ‘in-house’ or hiring staff who do not have a recognised Australian qualification, are registered or have individual insurance.
This can lead to injury, unsatisfied customers and give the unsuspecting public who are unaware of this issue, the wrong impression of legitimately trained massage therapists who spend a year or years attaining specialised knowledge and skills required to become a professional therapist.
The VET health training package continues to adjust and formalise the curriculum to be taught in massage courses, which has contributed to the acceptance of Massage as a legitimate and respected profession.
This increase in therapists attaining a remedial level qualification or higher, such as Myotherapy, has been driven by a number of factors;
1. The acceptance of massage therapy as a legitimate and beneficial treatment for muscular and other related soft tissue dysfunctions has created a higher demand for its services
2. This increase in popularity means that the level of knowledge and skill of the therapist must also increase
3. The Government’s push to have more people take out private health cover has meant that customers are demanding more cover for allied health services, such as massage.
4. With more customers wanting to claim on massage, health fund providers are demanding a higher skill base and education of therapists who wish to attain provider numbers and rebates for customers.
5. This push by health fund providers means that massage associations have tightened membership requirements for therapists to join and be eligible for health fund provider status.
6. Finally, this flows on to the colleges and institutions that teach massage to improve their standards.
Currently the government is reviewing the direction of non-registered health professions in Australia. Massage is here to stay, and with each year the push towards higher qualifications and national registration for massage therapists increases. With Myotherapy superseding Remedial Massage, we may one day see Massage Therapy taught as a degree within universities. Until then, I recommend the public seek quality establishments and do some research as to the therapists’ qualifications and training.
If you are looking for a qualified clinical therapist with 28 years’ experience in the Health and Fitness Industry, I recommend you contact Derek Miglietti on 0410 429 686 and book your appointment today.