Unit of competency details

HLTREM503C - Plan remedial massage treatment strategy (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by HLTMSG003 - Perform remedial massage musculoskeletal assessmentsThis version was released in HLT Health Training Package release 2.0 and meets the requirements of the 2012 Standards for Training Packages. Merged HLTREM503C/HLTREM504C/HLTREM505C. 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 HLTREM7A - Plan the Massage treatmentUnit updated in V4 - equivalent competency outcome 24/Mar/2011

Release Status:
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 for remedial massage treatment of a clients and negotiate a treatment management plan 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 remedial massage principles to determine treatment strategy

1.1 Determine appropriate remedial massage 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 Take into consideration treatment, information and advice provided by other health care professionals in determining the strategy to be used in treatment

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

1.5 Ensure specific treatment options take into consideration possible client compliance issues

1.6 Select an appropriate package of massage techniques 

1.7 Consider client constitution  in selecting treatment

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 Discuss treatment strategy according to the client's needs

2.3 Negotiate client compliance 

2.4 Clarify discrepancies  between the practitioner's and the client's perception of the condition

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

2.6 Discuss responsibilities of practitioner and client  within the treatment plan

2.7 Negotiate management of selected treatment in relation to any other current therapies

2.8 Discuss treatment evaluation strategies 

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:

  • Awareness of critical information required for diagnosis and treatment according to massage therapy framework
  • Community resources and support services
  • Ethical and legal implications of enquiry and treatment
  • Indications for massage
  • Pathology and symptomology
  • Possible obstacles to treatment
  • Possible reactions and contraindications for massage
  • Regional anatomy
  • Structure and function of anatomical systems
  • Systems and regions of the body including structure and function of systems, such as:
  • cardiovascular system
  • immune system
  • lymphatic system
  • nervous system
  • reproductive system
  • respiratory system
  • Technical and practical knowledge of treatment
  • The endocrine system
  • The organisation of the body
  • The principles of human movement and biomechanics
  • The structure and function of the articular system, classification of joints and types and ranges of motion

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
  • Identify and describe a treatment outcome using accepted medical terminology
  • Identify bone landmarks, structures and individual muscles through palpation.
  • Identify prominent bones/structures and major muscle groups through palpation
  • Identify treatment options and establish treatment regimes
  • Manage time throughout consultation and treatment
  • Prepare treatment plans
  • Read medical reports
  • Transcribe assessment findings and treatment in a client history using accepted medical terminology
  • Transcribe assessment findings and treatment in a client history using accepted medical terminology
  • Use equipment and technology effectively and safely

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
  • Anatomical models
  • Relevant paper-based/video/electronic 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
  • Explanations for plan preparations
  • Oral questioning and discussion
  • 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

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
  • HLTREM504C Apply remedial massage assessment framework

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.

Remedial massage principles refers to :

  • Principles and practices of the remedial massage therapy framework:
  • relevant code of ethics or code of conduct documents/policies, regulations and guidelines 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 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
  • edema
  • 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

Massage techniques :

To be performed in a variety of positions, ie 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 are exhibited
  • 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 is exhibited
  • 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 are believed to be beneficial in releasing adherent/scar tissue

Continued :

Massage techniques :

(continued )

  • Compressive techniques
  • digital pressure
  • compression: successive and rapid pressure - 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
  • Deep tissue massage techniques
  • Myofascial tension technique
  • Techniques conducted on superficial and/or deep tissues to:
  • lengthen tissue
  • reduce adhesions
  • increase range of movement
  • decrease compartment pressure
  • restore elasticity
  • Manual lymphatic drainage
  • Trigger point release techniques
  • apply digital ischemic pressure and/or apply stretching after treatment. it incorporates ischemic pressure and stretching
  • Stretching techniques
  • contract-relax
  • dynamic stretching
  • hold-relax
  • muscle energy technique
  • proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching
  • static stretching

Client constitution refers to :

  • Age, fragility
  • Fitness
  • Mental attitude
  • Muscle tone
  • Tolerance of pain

Client compliance refers to :

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

Discrepancies may include :

  • Client is unaware of the immediate danger of their condition
  • Client is over anxious about their condition
  • Client is unaware of maintaining causes acting on their condition
  • Practitioner is unaware of some implications of the client's condition
  • Practitioner and client have different views of what the main problem is

Discussion may include :

  • Face to face discussion
  • Electronic communication
  • Telephone discussion

Practitioner responsibilities may include :

  • Isolating the sick person
  • Provide advice on public health matters
  • Commitment to the treatment plan
  • Discussing relevant contra-indications or potential complications to treatment
  • Review of treatment plan

Client responsibilities may include :

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

Treatment evaluation strategies may include :

  • Discussion and review of response to treatment
  • Reviewing achievement of treatment goals
  • Monitoring time frame for achieving treatment goals

Unit Sector(s)

Not Applicable