Prasado  demystifies the

current legal maize of 

Massage practice in South Africa

Prasado D. Munch Reports

Reading the article “massage in and outs” in the Odyssey June July 2006 Issue, I had a strong feeling that the time is right to clear the confusion in this field. This is on behalf of all the massage and body work practitioners who are ducking under at the moment of fear that they are practicing illegally, and those who trumpet as the only legally chosen few under the law.

I was monitoring closely the process that started around 1998 to amend the Allied heath professions act of 1982 which was to be amended to include and regulate the allied health professions, many modalities like Massage, Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Ayurveda, and many more made haste to register and the confusion was really great, so many associations formed and dissolved, and so much confusing information was going around that the general feeling in the healing circlers was if you do not register under the newly proposed allied profession act  you will be practicing illegally.
Here is a report issued by Dr Ruth Rabinowitz IFP health secretary shortly before the act came into force in December 2000.
JOHANNESBURG 1 November 2000
ALLIED HEALTH BILL UNDER FIRE FROM IFP. Proposed changes to legislation governing allied health professions has come under fire from the Inkatha Freedom Party. IFP Health spokesperson Dr Ruth Rabinowitz charged that the establishment of a council as intended by the Chiropractors, Homeopaths and Allied Health Services Professions Bill would be irresponsible, impractical and costly to the state. It would also be a “blow to well trained, respected practitioners of homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, naturopathy, Ayurveda and Chinese medicine.” Rabinowitz said it was misleading to classify complementary therapies like aromatherapy massage and reflexology as health professions. “Complementary therapies are no more a health profession than prostitution. Why not then register sex workers on the council?” she said in her criticism of attempts to regulate established health professions such as homeopathy and acupuncture on the same council as holistic therapies like aroma and color therapy. “It is irresponsible to allow practitioners of a health profession to choose whether or not they want to be registered,” she added. Rabinowitz said it would be impossible to lay down a scope of practice, that could be policed, separating “cosmetic” aroma practitioners from “professional’ aroma therapists. “It will be difficult for the public to differentiate between the quack ‘holistic’ healer and the quality holistic professional in the same modality, for example reflexology,” she said. “We should rather regulate the hundreds of new holistic therapies on boards, with a separate identity from the Allied Health Professions Council. “Another option is for professions with established texts, recognized pharmacopoeias and measurable codes of practice, to be transferred onto the Health Professions Council and to establish a Complementary Therapists Board to regulate the burgeoning holistic therapies,” she added.

Despite the commotion the Act became law in 2001, BUT with very specific amendments.
Concerning our subject, which is Massage in all forms of touch, the act specifies the term “Therapeutic massage therapy” as the registered modality, among others, which are pretty clear, here is a list registered boards with Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa:
The Boards are grouped as follows:
1. Professional Board for Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture
2. Professional Board for Chiropractic & Osteopathy
3. Professional Board for Homeopathy, Naturopathy, & Phytotherapy
4. Professional Board for Therapeutic Aromatherapy, Therapeutic Reflexology, and Therapeutic Massage Therapy.
As we can see there is no confusion with any board besides the fourth: Therapeutic Aromatherapy, Therapeutic Reflexology, and Therapeutic Massage Therapy.
As you can see each one has the prefix Therapeutic, which differentiates itself from any other modality on the market.
And contrary to the misleading information that the writer of the odyssey June article stated, that no matter what modality you practice, you MUST register with the AHPCSA (Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa) to be practicing legally, you actually CAN practice your learnt modality as you wish as long as you don’t name it Therapeutic so and so, as shown above, and you DO NOThave to register with the AHPCSA.
The Health and beauty, Leisure and Spa industry have been offering professional training in South Africa in the fields of Holistic massage, sports massage Aromatherapy, Reflexology, just to name a few, since 1952. These trainings are offered by reputable institutions all over the country, and are registered endorsed and regulated by the Department of education PAB (The Professional Accreditation Body for the Health & Skincare Industry, website (http://www.pab.org.za/index.html) which controls Long and short term courses offered in the field of the Health & Skincare Industry, there are international examinations and diplomas offerd in south africa by ITEC (International Therapy Examination Council GB) and SIBTAC, which are well respected and registered with the education department. These institutions offer short term proffesinal trainings in Holistic massage, sports massage, Rebalancing deep tissue massage, Hot Stone massage , Reflexology, and more, which don’t last the compulsory 2 years ( which I hear is rising to 3) to complete the “Therapeutic masage therapy” course and register with the AHPCSA.
So what really is needed is to realise that if you want to practice in any of these modalities Aromatherapy, Reflexology, and any form of Massage, you need to decide the level of learning that you want to acquire, assess what is available on the market in term of trainings, and do the training that suits you best, there is much more out there than some would have you believe.
Massage and other touch therapies are normally done in 90% of clients as a prophylactic preventative measure to reduce fatigue stress and increase vitality and well being and to bring understanding and body awareness.
If you do any training other than the TMT “Therapeutic Massage therapy” you can practice legally in SA to your hearts content as long as you do not claim any therapeutic and medical benefits to what you offer.
Strangely when I enquired with the AHPCSA about this fact there is a dead silence, no email returned no phone call, the same with the NHA (Natural healers association), seems my questions strike some odd cord.. the PAB Confirmed the above statement as well as ITEC SA.
After all IFP Dr Ruth Rabinowitz comments should have been listened to, today the 4th board is struggling to comply with the very act they fall under. Under the act no advertisement is allowed, here are a few examples( from the AHPCSA site) :
Am I allowed to advertise? No. The Regulations provide that a practitioner may display a sign on the premises of the practice. May I advertise being a member of Council if I am a registered practitioner? No, Council is not an Association or Society From where can they not work? From a bedroom, living room/lounge, etc. or from retail premises with no separate entrance e.g. Beauty Salons, Hairdressing Salons etc. With whom can Council registered practitioners work? According to legislation, they may work with (share premises) other health professionals registered with a Health Council. With whom can Council registered practitioners NOT work? They may not work with (share premises) non-registered persons/practitioners. eg: Hairdressers, Beauty Therapists, Personal Trainers, etc.
Being a massage therapist is not the same as being a doctor or Homeopath, people don’t flock to you by the hundreds all on their own, one needs to promote oneself and the best places are the ones excluded under the act, and to advertise is exactly what is needed.
So head up all existing body workers massage practitioners, and the future ones. The public tends to sort out the rotten apples by itself.

About Prasado D. Munch
Founded the Osho school for creative touch in 1990 in Hamburg Germany where hundreds of students were trained in the art and science of Rebalancing therapy. He brought Rebalancing therapy to South Africa in 1998. Here graduates are practicing in Johannesburg Cape town Namibia and Sydney. Born in Israel, he completed his first training in 1981 and is a certified ITEC Teacher; he underwent extensive trainings with the founders of Rebalancing in Europe and India, and is a gentle and accomplished teacher. “ For me touch is a science an art and a reconnection with the heart, that, I would like to pass on to you”
Form more information assistance and feed back:
www.rebalancing.co.za  info@rebalancing.co.za

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