Unit of competency details

HLTREM409C - Perform massage health assessment (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Is superseded by HLTMSG002 - Assess client massage needsThis version was released in HLT Health Training Package release 2.0 and meets the requirements of the 2012 Standards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 HLTREM5A - Perform Remedial Massage health assessmentUnit 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 observe the condition of the client and gather information relevant to the case in order to provide a basic massage

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. Determine the scope of the assessment and the client's needs

1.1 Establish client's purpose for consultation and identify the symptoms experienced

1.2 Determine client's eligibility for service using clinic/personal policies

1.3 Explain services able to be provided and limits of available services clearly

1.4 Explore and clarify client's expectation of the service/clinic

1.5 Define personal abilities, level of professional competence and parameters of role to the client and determine practice at all times

1.6 Identify factors likely to have a negative impact  on assessment in consultation with the client and strategies implemented to minimise the effects of these factors wherever possible

1.7 Refer client to other health care professionals  where the needs of the client are identified as beyond the scope of the services able to be provided, or if in the opinion of the practitioner the needs of the client are best met by doing so

1.8 Identify and promote the legal rights of the client

2. Obtain and record an accurate history of the client

2.1 Seek information required from the client for the client's history  in a respectful way with all enquiries asked in a purposeful, systematic and diplomatic manner

2.2 Collect and record accurate, relevant and well organised information in a form which can be interpreted readily by other professionals

2.3 Manage information in a confidential and secure way

3. Prepare the client for assessment

3.1 Ensure the client's body is not unnecessarily exposed during assessment/treatment

3.2 Respect client boundaries at all times

3.3 Seek client feedback on comfort levels

4. Perform an assessment of the client

4.1 Obtain informed client consent prior to conducting assessment, in accordance with relevant legislation and regulations

4.2 Identify, establish and routinely observe essential requirements for the maintenance of clinical and practitioner hygiene

4.3 Anticipate potential sensitivities of the client , adapt approach is adapted accordingly to take these into account and take steps to ensure the client's dignity is maintained at all times

4.4 Assess client through palpation, observation and sensory information gathering techniques

4.5 Identify contra -indications  to treatment

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:

  • Best practice massage therapy principles
  • Environmental physiology and the effects of drugs on the individual
  • Ethical and legal implications of enquiry
  • History, philosophy and beliefs of massage therapy within a health framework
  • Indications for massage
  • Indications, possible reactions and contra-indications to treatment
  • Physical signs and symptoms of disease
  • Structure and function of anatomical systems appropriate to massage therapy and the scope of practice
  • Technical and practical knowledge of treatment
  • Terminology correct to discipline
  • Understanding of physiology and anatomy according to massage therapy
  • Understanding of the fundamental principles of biomechanics and functional anatomy

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:

  • Demonstrate communication skills
  • Demonstrate communication skills to gain and convey required information
  • Demonstrate observation skills
  • Demonstrate record keeping skills
  • Demonstrate skills in using appropriate assessment techniques
  • Discuss and observe treatment protocols
  • Gather and interpret information through the tactile senses
  • Identify contra-indications for massage
  • Identify prominent bones/structure and phasic and postural muscles
  • Manage time throughout consultation and treatment
  • Observe and identify variations of posture
  • Palpate prominent bones/structure and phasic and postural muscles
  • Recognise and adjust to contra-indications for treatment
  • Use terminology correct to discipline

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 :

  • A fully stocked and equipped clinic or simulated clinic environment
  • Relevant assessment instruments
  • Appropriate assessment environment
  • Skilled assessors

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
  • Examples of assessment notes
  • Oral questioning on technique or assessment strategy

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 units:

  • HLTCOM404C Communicate effectively with clients
  • HLTHIR301B Communicate and work effectively in health
  • HLTIN301C Comply with infection control policies and procedures

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.

Factors likely to have a negative impact on assessment may include :

  • Language difficulties
  • Disabilities
  • Emotional trauma
  • Lack of privacy or focus due to additional parties being present
  • Cultural or gender factors

Other health care professional may include :

  • Podiatrists
  • Osteopaths
  • Energy therapists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Chiropractors
  • Medical practitioners
  • Registered nurses
  • Social workers
  • Alternative health practitioners
  • Counsellors
  • Other allied health care professionals

Client history may include :

  • Date of presentation
  • Identifying personal details
  • Source of referral (if applicable)
  • Main presenting complaint or reason for massage
  • Presenting symptom picture
  • General state of health
  • physical
  • emotional
  • allergies
  • dietary picture
  • sleep pattern
  • exercise
  • leisure activities
  • Childhood and adult illness
  • Accidents, injuries, operations
  • Hospitalisations
  • Occupational history and environment
  • Other current medical/alternative health care treatment
  • Previous occurrence of current complaint
  • Medication, supplements and natural prescriptions - current and previous
  • Social lifestyle including social drug usage
  • Family history

Potential sensitivities may include :

  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Language
  • Religious beliefs
  • Cultural heritage
  • Sexuality
  • Ability
  • Presenting disease state and personal history

Established assessment procedures may include :

  • Observation
  • Discussion
  • Temperature
  • Pulse
  • Palpation
  • Percussion
  • Range of motion tests
  • Muscle strength tests
  • Observation of variations of posture
  • Any other method in which the practitioner has been trained to a competent standard
  • Procedure which is conducted according to legislative and regulatory requirements

Contra -indications to treatment 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 contra-indicated 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 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

Unit Sector(s)

Not Applicable