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One of the topics currently being discussed in the massage industry is the level of qualification which should be required to practise massage.

Should massage be offered only by universities?

It has been suggested in some circles that massage should require a degree level qualification (offered by university). In this article, we set out the reasons why we disagree with this suggested approach.

Massage is a proven and very strong option for people seeking support for their body. It is sought as a modality when people are stressed, overwhelmed, in tension (relaxation massage), and it is also sought out when people have injuries, pain or problem areas in their body (remedial massage).

The importance of choice and accessibility in health-care

What is most important in the provision of health-care is that people must have a choice as to what health-care they wish to adopt. A central principle of this is accessibility. Health-care must be accessible.

Education affects accessibility

The introduction of university level qualifications as the minimum for massage would directly impact on its accessibility.

University level qualifications are undoubtedly necessary and valuable, however they also introduce a whole new level of cost for the student, with students spending large amounts on study at universities which far outweigh what is spent in the VET system (where RTOs operate). What is also a fact is that increased costs of education lead to increased costs for the clients/patients/customers who receive the service upon graduation.

Accessibility for students

VET qualifications are competitively priced and pitched at a level which are very affordable, including to those who have ruled out university as something they feel they cannot embark on.

It is very important that massage education be offered in a way that is accessible to a broad cross section of the public. This accessibility adds great value to the Australian workforce, through a meaningful and purposeful career option being available to people from a range of backgrounds and socio-economic circumstances.

However, the accessibility question is not ultimately for massage therapists themselves as the important point is that massage is a service industry. Hence the point of accessibility is really for clients, i.e. the public at large.

Accessibility for clients

The cost of education weighs into the cost of the treatment then offered. We can clearly see this from the cost of medical specialists, who must spend a very large amount on their education and the time taken to achieve it. They invest a lot in order to offer a highly specialised service to the public who require it, and the cost of education is a factor in the cost of treatment, rightly so.

The principle from which our Team operates is that all people deserve access to affordable, quality health-care. Massage is a great way to support someone’s body, whether through times of stress and strain – through the process of truly letting go, or through injury and the remedial massage and therapeutic benefits it affords.

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