Scope of practice
Scope of Practice refers to the extent and limits in the types of techniques, treatment approaches and conditions that determine the boundaries that a health professional is required to follow in order to practice within the terms of their professional registration and code of ethics.
MNZ has several levels of registered Massage Therapist membership and they have their own scopes of practice. This means that therapists must work within the scope that they are qualified to do so. If an MNZ therapist works outside of their scope, this is considered a breach of scope of practice.
You can check the scope of your Massage Therapist by asking to see their Annual Practicing Certificate which must be displayed where they practice. A current annual practising certificate indicates that your therapist has met the membership and educational requirements of MNZ and is deemed by MNZ to be a Registered Massage Therapist at the appropriate designated level.
Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) Level 6 (and 7) Scope of Practice
The Massage New Zealand Te Rōpū Kaitiaki and Education Working Group have determined the scope of practice for Level 6 (and 7) Registered Massage Therapists (RMT) in Aotearoa New Zealand (updated March 2023).
Please note that a more specific Level 7 Scope of Practice is a current work in progress. MNZ will provide updates on this review in due course (June 2023).
Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) Level 6 and 7 Scope of Practice
- Massage at Level 6 and Level 7 is a client-centred form of manual therapy facilitating remedial massage throughout the life stages and with culturally responsive, safe and supportive interventions that are informed by massage principles, current best-practice and evidence-based approaches.
- Accreditation with a relevant remedial massage qualification and awarded by an MNZ approved institution.
- Remedial massage therapists are required to comply with the Health & Disability Commissioner Act 1994, and recognise that the health and disability system is committed to fulfilling the special relationship between Māori and the Crown under *Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Level 6 and Level 7 Registered Massage Therapists (RMT) must meet the ethical and professional standards set by Massage New Zealand and have professional skills, knowledge and applications in:
- Client health information gathering and physical assessment of the client’s conditions.
- The reduction of pain, fatigue, stress, tension and injury related conditions to enhance client health and wellness.
- Inclusive, culturally responsive, person-centred and safe massage practices.
- Explore lifestyle factors then develop a home programme to support prevention of injury, rehabilitation and recovery outcomes. This programme may include wellness promotion, lifestyle adaptation, and therapeutic exercise.
In addition, within their Scope of Practice, Level 6 and 7 Registered Massage Therapists (RMT) will:
- Be registered as a member with Massage New Zealand, and act in accordance with MNZ Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
- Maintain continuing professional education with Massage New Zealand approved courses.
- Act in accordance with social determinants of health and wellbeing through client services that support self-management of client-specific needs, and health autonomy.
- Discern how complementary health and wellbeing modalities inform remedial massage principles and practices. For example, when nutrition, physical activity, Kaupapa Maori Research or Kaupapa Informed Maori Research may apply to enhance remedial massage interventions.
- Refer clients to other health and wellbeing professionals when remedial massage is not suited to the individual.
* Te Tiriti o Waitangi is necessary if we are to realise the overall aims of He Korowai Oranga: Māori Health Strategy and achieve outcomes for the health and disability system as a whole. This includes a desire to see all New Zealanders living longer, healthier and more independent lives. Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations underpin Whakamaua: Māori Health Action Plan 2020–2025, which sets the government’s direction for Māori health advancement over the next five years. To be culturally responsive in Aotearoa New Zealand, remedial massage therapists will need to be able to apply Te Tiriti o Waitangi in their clinical practice, for example:
- Deliver greater responsiveness, accessibility and integrated services and support.
- Ensure that whānau, rangatahi and mokopuna are supported to achieve the holism of good health and wellbeing.
- Improve feedback loops and information flow for whanau-centred care.
- Work with families, whānau, community, and relevant agencies to help promote social inclusion in English and Māori medium settings.
Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) Level 5 Scope of Practice
MNZ Level 5 Scope of Practice Definition (updated December 2022)
The Massage New Zealand (MNZ) Executive and Education Working Group have determined the scope of practice for Level 5 Registered Massage Therapists (RMT) in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Level 5 Massage therapists have professional skills and knowledge in the reduction of fatigue, stress and tension to enhance wellness.
- Massage at Level 5 is a person-centred form of manual therapy facilitating wellness and relaxation throughout the life stages with culturally responsive, safe and supportive interventions informed by massage principles, current best-practice and evidence-based approaches.
- Massage therapists are required to comply with the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act, and recognise that the health and disability system is committed to fulfilling the special relationship between Māori and the Crown under Te Tiriti o Waitangi* - https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/populations/maori-health/te-tiriti-o-waitangi
*Te Tiriti o Waitangi is necessary if we are to realise the overall aims of He Korowai Oranga: Māori Health Strategy and achieve outcomes for the health and disability system as a whole. This includes a desire to see all New Zealanders living longer, healthier and more independent lives. The Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations underpin Whakamaua: Māori Health Action Plan 2020–2025 which sets the government’s direction for Māori health advancement over the next five years
Within their Scope of Practice, Level 5 RMTs will:
Hold a relevant massage qualification awarded by an accredited institution.
- Provide person-centred, culturally responsive, and safe wellness and relaxation massage.
- Massage therapists to be culturally responsive in Aotearoa will need to be able to apply Te Tiriti o Waitangi in their clinical practice
- Provide wellness and relaxation massage that is informed by the application of basic medical sciences, and methods* to manage client-specific needs.
- Act in accordance with new concepts for understanding social determinants of wellbeing and health.
- Empower clients through self-care strategies and lifestyle choices to improve wellbeing and relaxation outcomes.
- Refer clients to appropriate health professionals when wellness and relaxation massage is not suitable for the individual
- Be registered as a member with Massage New Zealand, and act in accordance with MNZ Code of Ethics and MNZ Standards of Practice.
Level 5 Registered Massage Therapists (RMT) are NOT ABLE TO:
Diagnose or treat clients with moderate to severe physical, mental or emotional conditions, symptoms of disease or pathologies including musculoskeletal injuries.
*Wellbeing and Relaxation methods include (but are not limited to and in keeping with the wellness and relaxation scope).
Acupressure, Aromatherapy massage, Bowen Therapy, Chair massage, De Mousgraffe method of healing, Gerontology massage, Holistic Pulsing, Hot-stone massage, Indian head massage, Infant massage, Mirimiri, Nutrition for general health and wellness, Ortho-bionomy, Palliative massage, Polarity, Positional release, Pregnancy massage, Reflexology, Shiatsu, Sports pre/post event, Swedish (classic) massage, Thai massage.
Client-specific needs across life stages include Pregnancy, infant, elderly, terminal illness (palliative massage), sports massage (pre-event, post-event, maintenance) and disability (mobility, cognitive, audial, visual).
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