Unit of competency details

HLTREM407C - Plan massage treatment (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by HLTMSG002 - Assess client massage needsThis version was released in HLT Health Training Package release 2.0 and meets the requirements of the 2012 Standards for Training Packages. Merged HLTREM407C/HLTREM408C/HLTREM409C Significant changes to the elements and performance criteria. New evidence requirements for assessment, including volume and frequency requirements. Significant change to knowledge evidence. Minimum clinic hours added. Additional assessor requirements. 05/Aug/2015
Supersedes and is equivalent to HLTREM3A - Plan the Remedial Massage treatment strategyUnit updated in V4 - equivalent competency outcome 24/Mar/2011

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 25/Mar/2011


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 061711 Massage Therapy  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 061711 Massage Therapy  04/Nov/2011 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor


This unit of competency describes the skills and knowledge required to prepare clients for basic massage and negotiate treatment with them

Application of the Unit


This unit may apply to work in massage in a range of settings and contexts

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not Applicable


Not Applicable

Employability Skills Information

Employability Skills 

This unit contains Employability Skills

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements define the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

The Performance Criteria specify the level of performance required to demonstrate achievement of the Element. Terms in italics are elaborated in the Range Statement.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Select the therapeutic principles to determine treatment

1.1 Determine appropriate therapeutic principles  of treatment according to assessment of client and within the skills of competence of the practitioner

1.2 Ascertain contra -indications  to treatment and possible complicating factors and modify treatment strategy used according to massage principles

1.3 Select treatment appropriate to the client's condition and supported on the basis of established massage practice

2. Discuss the treatment strategy with the client

2.1 Allocate sufficient time to conclude sessions at a pace appropriate to the client

2.2 Negotiate client compliance 

2.3 Explain any perceived risks  of the client's condition and treatment

2.4 Discuss the responsibilities of practitioner and client  within the treatment plan

Required Skills and Knowledge


This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Essential knowledge :

The candidate must be able to demonstrate essential knowledge required to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes knowledge of:

  • Basic assessment procedures and options
  • Basic surface anatomy
  • Environmental physiology and the effects of drugs on the individual
  • Ethical and legal implications of enquiry and treatment
  • Functions of major muscle groups.
  • Fundamental human physiology
  • Indications and contra-indications for massage
  • Pathology and symptomology
  • Possible obstacles to treatment
  • Reproduction as it relates to massage
  • Skeletal musculature
  • The articular system, classification of joints and types and ranges of motion
  • The ethical and legal implications of the practice of massage
  • The organisation of the body
  • The organisation of the nervous system
  • The systems and regions of the body

Essential skills :

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes the ability to:

  • Comprehend common medical terminology
  • Demonstrate communication and negotiation skills
  • Demonstrate communication skills to gain and convey required information
  • Demonstrate skills in applying basic assessment techniques
  • Identify contra-indications to massage
  • Identify prominent bones, structures and muscle groups through palpation
  • Identify treatment options
  • Manage time throughout consultation and treatment
  • Transcribe assessment findings and treatment in a client history

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate this competency unit :

  • The individual being assessed must provide evidence of specified essential knowledge as well as skills
  • Observation of performance in the workplace or a simulated workplace (defined as a supervised clinic)
  • Consistency of performance should be demonstrated over the required range of situations relevant to the workplace
  • Where, for reasons of safety, space, or access to equipment and resources, assessment takes place away from the workplace, the assessment environment should represent workplace conditions as closely as possible
  • Assessment may contain both theoretical and practical components and examples covering a range of clinical situations
  • Assessment of sole practitioners must include a range of clinical situations and different client groups covering at minimum, age, culture and gender
  • Assessment of sole practitioners must consider their unique workplace context, including:
  • interaction with others in the broader professional community as part of the sole practitioner's workplace
  • scope of practice as detailed in the qualification and component competency units
  • holistic/integrated assessment including:
  • working within the practice framework
  • performing a health assessment
  • assessing the client
  • planning treatment
  • providing treatment

Context of and specific resources for assessment :

  • An appropriately stocked and equipped clinic or simulated clinic environment
  • Relevant texts or medical manuals
  • Relevant paper-based/video assessment instruments
  • Appropriate assessment environment

Method of assessment 

  • Observation in the workplace
  • Written assignments/projects or questioning should be used to assess knowledge
  • Case study and scenario as a basis for discussion of issues and strategies to contribute to best practice
  • Clinical skills involving direct client care are to be assessed initially in a simulated clinical setting
    If successful, a second assessment is to be conducted during workplace application under direct supervision
  • Explanations for plan preparations
  • Oral questioning and discussion

Access and equity considerations :

  • All workers in the health industry should be aware of access and equity issues in relation to their own area of work
  • All workers should develop their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment
  • In recognition of particular health issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workers should be aware of cultural, historical and current issues impacting on health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Assessors and trainers must take into account relevant access and equity issues, in particular relating to factors impacting on health of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities

Related units :

This unit should be assessed in conjunction with the following related unit:

  • HLTCOM404C Communicate effectively with clients

Range Statement


The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Therapeutic principles refers to :

  • Principles and practices of the massage therapy framework:
  • relevant code of ethics or code of conduct documents/policies, regulations and guidelines from state/territory or local massage therapy organisations and/or associations
  • relevant national, state/territory or local government regulations and guidelines
  • accepted preventative practices adopted by self or peers to minimise safety hazards and risks in the same or similar situations
  • current and past good practice demonstrated by self or peers in the same or similar situation

Contraindications to treatment and possible complicating factors may include :

  • Massage therapists are not expected to diagnose any conditions but must be able to recognise the indications and contra-indications of conditions
  • Massage is contraindicated in all infectious diseases suggested by fever, nausea and lethargy until a diagnosis is received and recommended by a medical practitioner
  • Always refer for diagnosis when symptoms do not have a logical explanation
    Indications for referral may include:
  • pain local, sharp, dull, achy, deep, surface
  • fatigue
  • inflammation
  • lumps and tissue changes
  • rashes and changes in the skin
  • oedema
  • mood alterations, eg depression, anxiety
  • infection
  • changes in habits such as appetite elimination or sleep
  • bleeding and bruising
  • nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • temperature-hot or cold
  • Endangerment sites are areas where nerves and blood vessels lie close to the skin and are not well protected:
  • anterior triangle of the neck
  • posterior triangle of the neck
  • axillary area
  • medial epicondyle
  • lateral epicondyle
  • area of the sternal notch and anterior throat
  • umbilicus area
  • twelfth rib dorsal body
  • sciatic notch
  • inguinal triangle
  • popliteal fossa

Treatment may involve :

Massage techniques to be performed in a variety of positions, i.e. standing, seated, prone, supine and side recumbent lying, and through clothing as well as conventional table massage
This may include:

  • Passive joint movement techniques
  • joints are moved through their range of movement, ie to the point of mild tissue resistance
  • Passive soft tissue movement
  • technique is applied with palmer surfaces of the hand, heel of hand and/or fingers
  • jostling: shaking of the muscle from origin to insertion
  • Gliding techniques
  • Effleurage: broad superficial strokes using the entire palmer surface of the hands to cover large surface areas of the body
  • longitudinal stroking: deep gliding movement is applied in the direction of the muscle fibres through focal pressure using fingers, palm, heel of hands, forearm and/or knuckles
  • transverse gliding
  • cross over stroke: pulling and pushing of the tissue using the hands in a criss-cross manner
  • Kneading
  • technique is applied with palm surface of the hand, heel of hand and/or fingers
  • soft tissue is mobilised with rhythmical circular rolling, squeezing or pulling movements
  • Friction techniques
  • superficial tissue is moved over an underlying structure in circular, longitudinal or transverse directions
  • deep repetitive movements of short amplitude are applied usually with thumbs, fingers and knuckles
  • Friction techniques
  • superficial tissue is moved over an underlying structure in circular, longitudinal or transverse directions
  • deep repetitive movements of short amplitude are applied usually with thumbs, fingers and knuckles
  • Friction techniques are believed to be beneficial in releasing adherent/scar tissue

continued  ...

Treatment  (contd ):

  • Compressive techniques
  • digital pressure
  • compression: successive and rapid pressure, ie a series of short duration compressions, is applied to soft tissue between two structures, ie, underlying bone structures and therapist's hand, or hand to hand
  • percussion: cupping, tapping, hacking, pummelling and flicking are applied rhythmically using the hands
  • Petrissage
  • Temperature therapy
  • conduction, eg heat packs and immersion baths
  • radiation, eg ray lamps
  • friction
  • topical applications
  • Stretching techniques

Client compliance refers to :

  • Ability to follow instruction or suggestions
  • Willingness/motivation to follow instructions or suggestions

Perceived risks may include :

  • Discussion
  • Illustration using resources

Practitioner responsibilities may include :

  • Appropriate hygienic or sexual behaviour
  • Commitment to providing the agreed treatment
  • Discussing relevant contra-indications or potential complications to treatment
  • Reviewing of treatment

Client responsibilities may include :

  • Following instruction/advice during and post massage
  • Advising practitioner of any relevant contra-indications or potential complications to treatment
  • Advising practitioner of compliance issues
  • Commitment to the treatment agreed upon

Unit Sector(s)

Not Applicable