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Retain the private health insurance rebate for massage therapy

This petition had 7,729 supporters

The Australian Government has been encouraging the public to purchase private health insurance, claiming that it promotes choice for the consumer and takes the pressure off the public health system. Now there is talk that funding for some of those choices may be stripped from ancillary cover.

In 2014, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) completed a draft review of the evidence for 17 natural therapies currently covered under private health insurance. Massage therapy was included in the scope of the review. 

As part of the review process, the Association of Massage Therapists (AMT) provided a 200-page submission to the Chief Medical Officer outlining the evidence for the safety and efficacy of massage therapy. The submission is available for download from

Because the NHMRC review only encompassed a limited range and type of evidence spanning a five-year period, AMT is concerned that the Federal Health Minister will act to remove massage therapy from ancillary cover packages. 

AMT maintains its position that a solid evidential basis underpins the efficacy of massage therapy in the treatment of a range of conditions. 

Massage therapy plays an important role in the broader healthcare system. Moreover, massage therapists are uniquely placed to provide highly individualised, patient-centred care, filling a care gap and connecting with their clients in a way that busy medical practitioners often can't due to time constraints. 

AMT is concerned that limiting or compromising patient access to massage therapy based on the narrow scope of the NHMRC review findings could place even greater strain on an already overstretched primary healthcare system. 

AMT calls on the Federal Health Minister and Department of Health to retain the private health insurance rebate for massage therapy. 

AMT further petitions the Federal Government to fund much-needed research into the efficacy of massage therapy in the treatment of a range of conditions, as a safe and cost effective alternative to drug and surgical interventions, and as a preventive health strategy.

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