Remedial Massage Is Physical Medicine.
This view is also taken by the Private Health Insurance Act that makes it illegal to refund any portion of cost of treatment for relaxation (recreation or entertainment) or sporting massage except in very limited circumstances. Remedial Massage instead must be used to treat, manage, prevent disease, injury or condition and therefore providers must not bill for those types of services. Most Health Insurers will not allow health providers (Massage Therapists) to work out of a clinic that is a retail outlet, such as beauty therapy or health food retail outlets.
By removing therapists from this environment it removes confusion – Ref Medibank Private letter to providers 30/11/2015. Clinics designed specifically for treating patients (Photo) and not for retailing are the recommended clinics to provide this service.
Why Have Insurers Enforced These Rules
Over the past few decades there has been a definite blurring of the lines between remedial massage therapy which was once only taught as part of a Diploma of Naturopathy (Diploma of Remedial Massage was a core modality) then fragmentation started to creep in when colleges realised they could make a lot more money by separating massages into different courses. Naturopathy is all about treating health conditions and massage was designed to fit that paradigm as well. Swedish Massage originated in Sweden but spread to Australia as Australia’s first massage modality and it was both relaxation and remedial until they separated it. From here there was a proliferation of massage courses some good some not so good. Chemists started selling Naturopathic treatments such as herbs, vitamins, creams as well as selling Homoeopathic pills and creams, before long they had Naturopaths working in their Pharmacy and then they introduced beauty products and had a beauty therapist working there. Health retreats had naturopaths supervising healthy pursuits and offering massage, then various other compatible wellness therapists found work offering meditation, yoga, diet gurus etc.
Members who joined the health funds wanted more coverage – value for money and massage therapists just wanted to expand their industry. Before long members were asking for relaxation massage to be charged to their health fund provider and costs escalated.
The Dangers Of Massage Therapy Are Grossly Overlooked
In Australia we have had major trauma caused by therapists such as chiropractors (Nov 14, 2010 SMH – Treatment could be a big pain in your neck) – Adam Scott of Hornsby collapsed with a stroke hours after having a minor neck adjustment by a chiropractor – he had a 7cm tear in the right vertebral artery, neurosurgeons saved his life with an emergency operation.
In a separate incident in Sydney years ago a masseuse (female massage therapist) was giving seated massage to office workers during their breaks when one woman complained of a headache and later that night she lost sensation in her body from the neck down, she was admitted to hospital and found to have cervical spinal nerve damage and finished up in a wheel chair, I don’t know whether she recovered from this or not, I remember the case but could not find it in quick searches.
Massage therapy is serious massage and it is physical medicine and, as with other medicine, it should be treated seriously. Look for well trained practitioners with a good reputation for treating these conditions.
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