Unit of competency details

SHBBSPA004 - Provide Indian head massages for relaxation (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by SHBBSPA008 - Provide Indian head massages for relaxationNon-equivalent. Unit Code, Performance Criteria and Performance Evidence have been updated. 15/Dec/2021
Supersedes and is equivalent to SIBBSPA505A - Provide Indian head massage for relaxationUnit updated to the Standards for Training Packages. Updated content of Application Statement, Elements and Performance Criteria. 24/Sep/2015

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 25/Sep/2015


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  07/Dec/2015 
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Unit Of competency

Modification History

Not applicable.


This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to provide Indian head massage as part of a spa program.

It requires the ability to consult with clients, plan massage routine and massage arms, neck, shoulders, scalp and face. Indian head massage can be an individual treatment or form part of a series of treatments.

This unit applies to beauty and spa therapists who work in day, destination and resort spas and beauty salons. In this environment they operate with some level of autonomy or under limited supervision.

No occupational licensing, certification or specific legislative requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Pre-requisite Unit


Competency Field

Spa Services

Unit Sector


Elements and Performance Criteria



Elements describe the essential outcomes.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element.

1. Establish client objectives.

1.1 Access and review client treatment plan if available.

1.2 Discuss with client Indian head massage requirements and lifestyle factors to identify treatment priorities.

1.3 Identify contraindications to Indian head massage, and refer client to appropriate professional as required.

1.4 Identify client scalp condition, scalp disorders and possible adverse reactions and discuss with client.

1.5 Identify client medical history, medications and obtain medical approval prior to treatment as required.

1.6 Assess the capacity of Indian head massage to meet client needs.

2. Design and recommend Indian head massage.

2.1 Design proposed treatment for a single or series of treatments.

2.2 Discuss with client benefits and potential adverse effects of selected Indian head treatment sequence.

2.3 Explain recommendations for duration, frequency and cost of treatments.

2.4 Modify treatment plan, record updates and obtain client consent.

3. Prepare for Indian head massage treatment.

3.1 Check readiness of treatment area and availability of equipment required.

3.2 Prepare client and select massage products according to treatment plan, as required.

3.4 Position self to minimise fatigue and risk of injury.

3.3 Use energy, water and other resources efficiently during preparation and subsequent treatment process.

4. Provide Indian head massage treatment.

4.1 Ensure client modesty throughout treatment.

4.2 Instruct and monitor client on breathing technique.

4.3 Apply massage medium as required avoiding product waste.

4.4 Perform Indian head massage techniques according to treatment plan.

4.5 Monitor client comfort throughout the treatment and adjust massage techniques and routine as required.

4.6 Identify adverse effects and respond as required.

5. Review treatment and provide post treatment advice.

5.1 Evaluate Indian head massage treatment with client.

5.2 Manage client expectations of potential outcomes.

5.3 Recommend home care, lifestyle changes, products and future treatments to improve health.

5.4 Update client treatment plan and rebook client as required.

6. Clean treatment area.

6.1 Remove used linen and clean surfaces and equipment according to organisational policies and procedures.

6.2 Restock equipment and products in preparation for next treatment.

6.3 Dispose of general waste to minimise negative environmental impacts and according to organisational policies and procedures.

Foundation Skills

Foundation skills essential to performance in this unit, but not explicit in the performance criteria are listed here, along with a brief context statement.



Reading skills to:

  • interpret and follow manufacturer instructions and safety data sheets for dilution, handling, storage and disposal of cleaning and treatment products and equipment.

Writing skills to:

  • record treatment using basic anatomy and physiology terminology to describe body areas and anatomical positions.

Oral communication skills to:

  • select and use appropriate terminology in consultations with clients
  • protect confidentiality of client information by ensuring that other clients and colleagues do not overhear discussions
  • use and interpret verbal and non-verbal communication to develop rapport with client to convey service and product advice.

Numeracy skills to:

  • calculate treatment time and cost.

Technology skills to:

  • use client software to update client notes, rebook future treatments, record stock data and product purchases.

Unit Mapping Information

SIBBSPA505A Provide Indian head massage for relaxation


Companion Volume implementation guides are found in VETNet - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=255d312b-db07-48f2-b6d6-1b0b06c42898


Assessment requirements

Modification History

Not applicable.

Performance Evidence

Evidence of the ability to complete tasks outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit in the context of the job role, and:

  • communicate, follow and adjust treatment plans to provide six safe and appropriate Indian head massages for different clients
  • provide Indian head massage to treat each of the following areas as appropriate to the above clients:
  • arms
  • face
  • neck
  • primary chakra areas
  • scalp
  • shoulders
  • design, record and update treatment plans and records for each client using correct anatomical terminology and specifying details of:
  • client feedback
  • contraindications and conditions
  • massage routines
  • outcomes of previous and current treatment
  • post treatment lifestyle and product advice
  • products used
  • recommended future treatments
  • relevant medical history and medication
  • treatment duration, areas treated and areas not treated
  • treatment objectives
  • design and provide treatment routines that demonstrate appropriate selection, application and modification of the following massage movements:
  • effleurage
  • petrissage
  • Marma point
  • tapotement
  • vibration
  • present self, according to organisational policy
  • comply with health and hygiene regulations and requirements.

Knowledge Evidence

Demonstrated knowledge required to complete the tasks outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit:

  • state or territory and local health and hygiene regulations and requirements relevant to providing massage treatments
  • organisational policies and procedures relevant to providing massage treatments:
  • client record management
  • equipment use and maintenance
  • incident reporting
  • linen use and laundry procedures
  • personal hygiene and presentation
  • presentation of treatment area
  • waste disposal
  • water use minimisation
  • work health and safety
  • legal and insurance liabilities and responsibilities regarding treatments
  • scope of practice:
  • when to refer clients to other practitioners
  • importance of not stating a diagnosis of a contraindication
  • limitations to Indian head massage
  • role of complementary therapist and medical practitioner
  • factors likely to affect suitability of treatments for client needs:
  • budgetary and time constraints
  • outcomes of previous treatments
  • physical attributes
  • history, origins, and traditions of Indian head massage
  • features, benefits and effects of Indian head massage
  • principles of body, mind and spiritual wellness
  • basic aspects of Ayurveda and Ayurvedic bodywork
  • Marma points application
  • major chakra areas as they relate to Indian head massage
  • benefits of continuous treatments
  • effects and benefits of Indian head massage on body systems:
  • circulatory
  • digestive
  • integumentary
  • lymphatic
  • muscular
  • nervous
  • respiratory
  • skeletal and articular
  • common disorders of body systems and their relationship to Indian head massage
  • contraindications that prevent or restrict treatment or require clearance from a medical professional to proceed and relationship to Indian head treatments:
  • allergies to products
  • areas exhibiting loss of sensation
  • bacterial, fungal, parasitic and viral infections
  • cancer
  • clients under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • clients with symptoms of infectious disease:
  • fever
  • nausea
  • extreme fatigue
  • extremes of body temperature
  • dysfunctions of the nervous system
  • epilepsy
  • heart condition
  • injury or surgery in treatment area
  • recent scar tissue
  • severe circulatory disorder
  • severe migraine or headaches
  • skin trauma
  • spondylitis
  • thrombosis or embolism
  • type one and two diabetes mellitus
  • undiagnosed lumps, bumps or swellings
  • very high or low blood pressure
  • adverse effects to Indian Head massage and appropriate remedial action:
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • nausea
  • skin irritation
  • lifestyle factors and benefits of lifestyle changes
  • sustainable operating procedures for the conservation of product, water and power
  • aftercare advice, products and future treatments to maintain client objectives.

Assessment Conditions

Skills must be demonstrated in a spa environment; this can be:

  • an industry workplace or
  • a simulated workplace set up for the purpose of skills assessment, that provides services to paying members of the public.

Assessment must ensure access to:

  • paying clients, both new and regular, with different Indian head massage requirements, who have the expectation that the services provided reflect those of a commercial business
  • access to hand washing facilities:
  • basin
  • hot and cold running water
  • liquid soap
  • single use towels or hand dryer
  • relevant workplace documentation:
  • blank client cards
  • organisational policies and procedures relevant to massage treatments
  • product instructions
  • safety data sheets for cleaning products.

Assessment must ensure use of:

  • cleaning and disinfection products and equipment
  • individual work station consisting of:
  • adjustable treatment table or chair with safe working access for client and worker
  • trolley for products and bowls
  • massage mediums
  • treatment towels or linen, or disposable linen.

Assessment activities that allow the individual to:

  • complete Indian head massages within commercially and organisational realistic speed, timing and productivity
  • demonstrate competency in an environment reflective of real work situations
  • manage tasks and contingencies in the context of the job role.

Assessors must satisfy the Standards for Registered Training Organisation’s requirements for assessors and:

  • hold a qualification as a beauty therapist
  • have worked as a beauty therapist for at least three years where they have applied the skills and knowledge of this unit of competency.


Companion Volume implementation guides are found in VETNet - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=255d312b-db07-48f2-b6d6-1b0b06c42898