• Josip Lilić

The benefits of choosing a Massage New Zealand (MNZ) registered therapist.

Did you know that massage therapy in New Zealand is completely unregulated profession! That means that anybody can set up shop as a massage therapist without any qualifications or experience. Unlike other health care modulates in New Zealand such as Physiotherapy and Osteopathy, Massage Therapists don’t need to have any level of qualification putting the public in risk. The aim of this blog is to make the public more aware of the inconsistency in the level of education and standards in New Zealand with massage therapy so you are able to make more informed decisions when choosing a massage therapist.

The massage industry in New Zealand does have a self-regulating body however, currently it is not compulsory to register. To become registered with MNZ applicants need to provide proof of qualification, police clearance and evidence of continued education.

By choosing a MNZ registered Massage Therapist, you can be sure that your massage therapist has achieved industry approved qualification(s), competence, experience, and are committed to high standards of practice and professionalism. MNZ therapists work within their scope of practice ( only use techniques they have been trained in), abide by the MNZ Code of Ethics, and will update their skills frequently through Continuing Professional Development requirements.

Here are some of the benefits of choosing a Massage NZ registered therapist.

High Standards

Massage New Zealand members follow the MNZ Code of Ethics, as well as adhering to the Health and Disability Commissioner’s Code of Rights. This means MNZ members adhere to high ethical standards regarding their interactions with clients. From time to time there are reports of misconduct and inappropriate incidents in the media with massage therapists, all these cases have been with therapists who are not registered with MNZ, so I recommend always asking your massage therapist whether they are registered with MNZ.

Your safety

All MNZ members have police clearance and are required to have an up to date first aid certificate, ensuring the public is in safe hands in the case of a medical emergency. Although I have never had to provide first aid to a patient in my 8 years in practice, it is reassuring news that all MNZ members are trained in first aid just in case. I continue to refresh my first aid certificate through ST John every 2 years. Qualified therapists can identify serious problems or conditions and refer patients on to doctors or other health care professionals if necessary.

A few years ago, a patient came to see me and was presenting with a sore calf muscle, localised heat, swelling, redness and looked very pale faced. There was no explanation for the pain that suddenly began to present discomfort. My questioning and orthopedic testing lead me to believe that the patient was suffering from a potential DVT (blood clot) rather than a sore calf muscle. Left untreated DVT can lead to heart failure. I immediately informed the patient and sent them to their doctor for treatment. I can thank my education and knowledge of human anatomy and physiology for discovering the DVT.


MNZ members have completed NZQA approved or equivalent courses of study in massage therapy relevant to their registration level, 5, 6, or 7. Personally, I hold a Bachelor of Neuromuscular Therapy (BNMT) level 7 which is the highest-level qualification in New Zealand and overseas. New Zealand is one of the few countries that to date offer a degree in massage. My qualifications allow me to make informed decisions on my client’s condition and allows me to treat the condition within my scope of practice. By choosing a non-registered massage therapist you risk the condition getting worse or cause further injury as there is a possibility that the therapist in not qualified.

Professional Development

MNZ members are required to engage in 20 hours of continued professional development per year. This may be hands on or theoretical training in any discipline relevant to a therapist’s practice. Like most industries the massage industry continues to evolve because new research is constantly being produced.

If you would like to find out if your current massage therapist is registered with MNZ or would like to find a local registered massage therapist, you can click on the image below.

I hope this blog has added some valuable insight on the massage therapy industry in New Zealand and inform you to make the best decision when choosing a massage therapist.


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