Unit of competency details

SIBBBOS401A - Perform body massage (Release 2)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by SHBBBOS002 - Provide body massagesUnit updated to the Standards for Training Packages. Title changed to better describe the outcome of the unit. Significant changes to content of Application Statement, Elements and Performance Criteria. Incorporates content from:  SIBBCCS301A Apply the principles of skin biology to beauty treatments  SIBBCCS403A Recognise body structures and systems in a beauty therapy context  SIBBCCS405A Develop treatment plans  SIBBCCS408A Promote healthy nutritional options in a beauty therapy context. 24/Sep/2015

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
2 (this release) 12/Dec/2011
(View details for release 1) 09/Dec/2010

Training packages that include this unit


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  09/Dec/2010 
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Modification History

Not applicable.

Unit Descriptor

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to perform a manual relaxation body massage treatment. It requires the ability to access and interpret a treatment plan, explain the administration of the treatment to the client, and adapt as required during the massage service in response to client reaction.

Body massage is performed in response to client consultation and assessment, which is then conducted and recorded on a treatment plan. It could be an individual massage treatment or form part of a series of body treatments designed to meet client requirements.

The beauty therapist may perform a manual body massage as described in this unit, or this massage may form part of more complex body treatment services. These are described in:

  • SIBBBOS402A Provide body treatments

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to beauty therapy salon or spa environments and to beauty therapists exercising judgement in planning and selecting appropriate products, services, equipment and techniques.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.



Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements and Performance Criteria


Performance Criteria 

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

1 Prepare for massage treatments.

1.1 Access and review client treatment plan .

1.2 Clearly explain contraindications  to client  and take necessary action .

1.3 Ensure advice offered to client regarding medical follow-up of contraindications is offered tactfully and without reference to specific medical conditions.

1.4 Confirm revised treatment plan with client and ensure consent.

1.5 Set up and monitor service area to meet workplace requirements.

2 Manage massage treatments.

2.1 Use energy, water and other resources efficiently during preparation and subsequent treatment process to reduce negative environmental impacts.

2.2 Explain mode of administration  and treatment management to client where required.

2.3 Request client to monitor reactions and inform operator as required.

2.4 Drape client to sequentially expose treatment area  while ensuring client comfort and modesty.

2.5 Recognise reactions  to treatment and respond  if necessary.

2.6 Safely dispose of treatment waste to minimise negative environmental impacts.

3 Apply safe and effective methods of body massage.

3.1 Apply massage medium  and massage techniques  according to agreed treatment plan.

3.2 Ensure massage treatment is consistent with legislative and regulatory requirements.

3.3 Monitor client response and vary treatment routine  appropriately.

4 Review treatment and provide post-treatment advice.

4.1 Allow sufficient treatment recovery time in a relaxing environment.

4.2 Evaluate massage treatment with client.

4.3 Identify and record effects of treatment on client treatment plan.

4.4 Review treatment plan and evaluate the need for ongoing or additional treatment.

4.5 Negotiate changes with client to ongoing plan to ensure optimal outcomes.

4.6 Rebook client according to agreed treatment plan.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

The following skills must be assessed as part of this unit:

  • technical skills to:
  • recognise and respond to contraindications and adverse effects
  • interpret treatment plans and identify and adjust to changes in client condition
  • prepare service area and client for treatment according to treatment plan and workplace practices
  • apply a defined range of massage movements and routines according to treatment plan
  • identify major bones and muscle groups through palpation
  • communication skills to:
  • seek feedback and respond to questions
  • provide information and reassurance to client throughout the service
  • literacy skills to:
  • read and apply relevant workplace documents
  • read and record outcomes on treatment plan
  • time-management skills to manage time throughout the body massage treatment.

Required knowledge 

The following knowledge must be assessed as part of this unit:

  • how to set up massage area for a massage
  • relevant health and hygiene regulations and requirements
  • infection control procedures and application of universal precautions as they apply to the provision of a body massage service
  • correct and environmentally sound disposal methods for all types of waste and in particular for hazardous substances
  • indications and contraindications for massage
  • workplace practices in regard to body massage
  • factors likely to affect the suitability of each massage technique to client needs and the effects and benefits of each
  • skeletal and muscular system, including:
  • awareness of postural and skeletal abnormalities
  • muscle contractility and motor points
  • position and action of superficial muscles of the body in relation to body massage, including deltoid, biceps, triceps, brachialis, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, serratus anterior, pectorals, rectus abdominous, obliques, gluteals, hamstrings, quadriceps, sartorius, adductors, gastrocnemius, soleus, and tibialis anterior
  • articular system, classification of joints and types and ranges of motion
  • nervous system and its relationship to skin sensations
  • categories of massage, motor points and reflex points
  • classifications, benefits and application of effleurage, petrissage, tapotement and vibratory massage movements
  • ethical and legal implications of the practice of massage.

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

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

Evidence of the following is essential:

  • interpreting treatment plan and making adjustments required by variations in client's condition
  • preparing massage area and clients for body massage treatments
  • applying and adapting massage movements and routines to suit client requirements and reactions during treatment
  • demonstrating safe and effective application of required massage techniques listed in the range statement
  • using time effectively
  • evaluating body massage treatments and advising clients on future treatments
  • accurately and legibly recording relevant data on client treatment plans.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure:

  • that competency is consistently demonstrated over a period of time and observed by assessor or technical expert working in partnership with assessor as described in the Assessment Guidelines
  • that competency is demonstrated in the workplace or a simulated workplace environment in a range of real work situations, which may include client interruptions and involvement in other related activities normally expected in the workplace.

Assessment must ensure access to:

  • an environment, which includes as a minimum:
  • individual client workstations
  • adjustable massage couch with safe working access for operator and equipment
  • relevant professional massage medium
  • appropriate supply of towels
  • client gown
  • client cover
  • relevant workplace documentation including:
  • manufacturer's equipment instructions
  • product instructions
  • manufacturer safety data sheets
  • workplace policies and procedures manuals
  • a range of clients with different requirements.

For further guidance on the use of an appropriate simulated environment, refer to the Assessment Guidelines in this Training Package.

Methods of assessment 

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

  • direct observation of learner performing a range of tasks in the workplace or a simulated work environment, over sufficient time to demonstrate handling of a range of contingencies, including:
  • preparing clients for body massage
  • applying a range of manual massage techniques according to agreed treatment plans
  • providing post-treatment advice and making treatment recommendations to clients
  • written and oral questioning appropriate to the language and literacy level of the learner, to assess knowledge and understanding of:
  • appearance of contraindications and adverse effects
  • factors likely to affect the suitability of each technique to client needs and the effects and benefits of each step in body massage
  • categories of massage, motor points and reflex points
  • classifications, benefits and application of range of massage movements described in range statement
  • ethical and legal implications of the practice of massage
  • completion of workplace documentation relevant to providing body treatments
  • third-party reports from technical experts
  • completion of self-paced learning materials, including personal reflection and feedback from a trainer, workplace coach or supervisor.

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

  • SIBBCCS403A Recognise body structures and systems in a beauty therapy context
  • SIBBCCS405A Develop treatment plans.

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. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. 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) may also be included.

Treatment plan  must include:

  • outcomes of previous treatments
  • relevant medical history
  • medications being used
  • contraindications
  • massage techniques, including types, frequency and duration of movements
  • tools and equipment selected.

Contraindications  may include:

  • infectious disease suggested by fever, lethargy and nausea, until reviewed and cleared by a medical practitioner
  • symptoms that do not have a logical explanation and should be referred to a medical practitioner, including:
  • pain: local, sharp, dull, deep and surface
  • extreme fatigue
  • inflammation
  • lumps and tissue changes
  • severe oedema
  • infection
  • bleeding and bruising
  • hot or cold extremes of body temperature
  • factors restricting treatment or that require adaptation of the body massage, such as:
  • pregnancy
  • skin trauma
  • lesions
  • rashes.

Clients  may include:

  • new or regular clients with routine or special needs
  • female or male clients
  • people from a range of social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and with varying physical and mental abilities.

Necessary action  may include:

  • following actions for a range of clients:
  • encouraging client to seek medical advice
  • explaining why service cannot be carried out
  • modifying the body massage service
  • refusing an unsuitable client.

Mode of administration  may include:

  • exposure of sections of the body
  • rotating of exposure around the body
  • use of oils and treatments
  • requirement for feedback and interaction
  • massage technique
  • variations in application intensity
  • requirements of specific positioning of client.

Treatment area  must include:

  • torso
  • back
  • neck
  • décolletage
  • arms
  • legs.

Reactions  may include:

  • pain or discomfort
  • verbal, tactile or visual feedback
  • muscular spasms
  • allergy or reactions to body oils or treatments
  • skin blemishes due to massage stimulation
  • bruising
  • temperature discomfort
  • joint sounds
  • client relaxation
  • emotional release.

Responses  to reactions may include:

  • adjusting treatment accordingly
  • seeking appropriate expertise
  • discussing reaction with client
  • adhering to workplace guidelines for dealing with emergencies
  • accessing local emergency services.

Massage medium  may include:

  • oil
  • cream
  • powder.

Massage techniques  must include:

  • passive joint movement techniques
  • passive soft tissue movement
  • gliding techniques
  • longitudinal stroking
  • kneading
  • friction techniques
  • compressive techniques
  • petrissage
  • stretching techniques
  • superficial lymphatic drainage techniques.

Treatment routine  must include:

  • rhythm
  • repetition
  • variation.

Unit Sector(s)


Competency Field

Body Services