Frequently asked questions
The Importance of taking a Client History and Assessment
Client history includes finding out about you and the history of your ailment, aggravating factors (what makes it worse), previous diagnosis and treatment, and effectiveness of any previous treatment. It also builds up information about your general health, since there are a number of conditions which can contribute to muscular problems; a previous whiplash injury, for example, could lead to headaches or dizziness.
A client history ensures that the massage therapist’s diagnosis of the condition they are treating, as well as the treatment they give, is accurately recorded for future reference if necessary. Since the treatment you receive is likely to continue over a period of time, and may involve more than one visit, the therapist can monitor your progress and vary the treatment if necessary to ensure you receive the optimum benefit.
A client history includes an initial assessment of your condition: this enables the therapist to use the appropriate techniques to help relieve any discomfort that you may be experiencing. If you have any serious health issues, these should be disclosed during the assessment; the therapist can then determine if it is appropriate for you to have massage at that time or whether your condition is contraindicated for massage.
Your massage therapist is aware of their limitations, and is required to work within their scope of practice. Taking a client history when you first arrive will allow them to talk through all your needs to establish if it would be in your best interest to be referred to another health professional, or whether having complementary treatment (e.g. using acupuncture, chiropractic, osteopathy or physiotherapy) is going to be beneficial to you. Taking the time to sit down to discuss what is causing you discomfort gives you time to become comfortable with the therapist, especially if you are new to massage therapy; it is the first step in building a rapport and trust between you both.
Does massage have any scientific background?
Research on massage therapy is still in its early stages. A lot of the scientific research on massage therapy is preliminary or conflicting, but much of the evidence points toward beneficial effects on pain and other symptoms associated with a number of different conditions. Please see ‘Massage Therapy – the evidence for practice’ under the ‘About Massage Therapy’ tab for more information.
You can search for information and articles on massage therapy through Index New Zealand, the online National Library Catalogue here.
When should I ask my doctor before receiving a massage?
The following conditions should be checked out with your doctor before getting a massage:
- Severe back pain, especially if pain is keeping you awake at night:
- A high fever or the symptoms of a cold or flu.
- Blood clots
- Skin conditions such as burns, cold sores, bruises, open wounds or swollen areas. You should not have a massage in those areas.
- Pregnancy, especially during the first trimester (massage is not advised during the 10 to 12 week period)
- High blood pressure
- Allergies (especially to nuts, as many therapists use sweet almond oil)
- Varicose veins
- Lymph node removal
If you have any concerns about ANY existing conditions, you should always check with your healthcare provider to see if massage therapy is an appropriate treatment for you.
Can I combine massage therapy with other treatments?
Massage works well with physiotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathy. It can also be used in conjunction with acupuncture. However, you should inform the massage therapist and any other healthcare professional of the treatment you are undergoing to ensure the treatments complement each other.
Is massage therapy covered by ACC or medical insurance?
Unfortunately massage therapy is not covered by ACC. Southern Cross Medical Insurance do have policies which include refunds for massage therapy payments made to MNZ RMT members. If you have a policy with Southern Cross Medical Insurance, ask them if your policy covers massage therapy.
What can I do if I feel that the massage is too painful?
Some forms of massage can leave you feeling a bit sore the next day. But massage shouldn't ordinarily be painful or uncomfortable. If any part of your massage doesn't feel right or is painful, speak up right away. Most serious problems come from too much pressure during massage.
Massage is all about making you more comfortable and reducing pain, if you find your massage sessions are increasing your discomfort over the long term then please let your massage therapist know immediately.
Will I be covered during the massage?
All massage therapists are trained to drape/cover their clients so that only the part of the body they are working on will be exposed. If this does not happen, you should ask to be covered or ask your therapist why you are not covered. If you are not satisfied with the answer you can terminate the appointment. More information can be found in the section Visiting a massage therapist for the first time.
Do I have to take my clothes off?
Massage is a healthcare practice that needs clothes to be removed as it involves using oil, massage waxes and lotions. It is a ‘whole body’ treatment which requires direct contact between the therapist and client. It is usual for the therapist to leave the room while you undress and get on the table. It is not always necessary to remove all clothing; this depends on what your massage needs are at the time of treatment. Even with a full body massage you can leave your lower undergarments on. . More information can be found in the section ‘Visiting a massage therapist for the first time’.
How do I know my Massage therapist is qualified?
Ask your therapist where they were trained and to what level they have trained at. There are many reputable massage training providers in New Zealand. Most of these courses are recognized by MNZ. Refer to our list of NZQA accredited providers.
MNZ members have to meet specified requirements to obtain membership. You can ask to see your therapist’s qualifications and many will display these at their practice. You can also visit our online public register (an alphabetical listing) of all registered massage therapists in New Zealand who hold a MNZ current practising certificate, who have met the MNZ conditions of membership, and who adhere to the MNZ Code of Ethics.
Find a Therapist: