Start by thinking about what type of massage you’re looking for. The very first thing to do, says the Australian Association of Massage Therapists (AAMT) is to ensure that your therapist is qualified.
Here’s how to choose
If you’re looking for a relaxing massage, your therapeutic massage therapist should hold a Certificate IV in Massage Therapy Practice.
Worried about an old injury? Or perhaps you can’t put your finger on what’s causing that sore shoulder? Your massage therapist should hold a Diploma of Remedial Massage. A remedial massage therapist can assess and treat muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue.
Living with chronic pain of musculoskeletal conditions? Consider a myotherapy treatment. A myotherapist should hold an Advanced Diploma of Myotherapy and employs a number of treatment modalities for use of pain management for chronic musculoskeletal conditions, postural conditions, sporting and occupational injuries by method of advanced assessment and treatment protocols.
Did you know remedial and myotherapy and even some therapeutic massage therapy treatments allow rebates with the private health fund? Ask your therapist and private health fund to double-check if you can claim. Many therapists use electronic claiming terminals; so all you need to do is swipe your health fund card!
Therapists who belong to a professional association such as the AAMT follow the industry standard and that ensures they have valid first aid and Insurance and agree to further their lifelong continuing education. So find out which association they belong to.
What’s your next step? Make sure you feel comfortable with your therapist when you meet for the first time. Your therapist should ask you a series of questions and take notes. Part of this process means signing an ‘informed consent’ form to allow you to understand what kind of treatment you will receive; this is a legislative requirement. If you feel uncomfortable, or your potential therapist is not communicative, it may be a good idea to keep searching.
Your therapist should briefly explain disrobing. You should only remove an item of clothing you feel comfortable removing. AAMT recommends appropriate full draping during any massage treatment and, unless modality-specific, there is no requirement for any area other than that being treated to be exposed. Ask your therapist what draping technique they will be using. If your therapist cannot help, you may want to consider your decision and move on.
Please keep in mind that massage therapy in Australia is self-regulated by professional associations and health funds. Massage therapists fall under the National Code of Conduct for Health Care Workers. It is important to do research on your potential massage therapist to ensure you get the best result from of your treatment.
Daniel Lambro is Communications Coordinator at AAMT.
If you would like more information or to find a massage therapist/myotherapist in your area, check the Australian Massage Directory at www.ausmassagedirectory.com.au
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