Update: Victoria’s Restriction Levels Remedial Massage & Myotherapy

Posted by on Oct 21, 2020 in Massage | Comments Off on Update: Victoria’s Restriction Levels Remedial Massage & Myotherapy

By Linda Kosta from Source2Soul (21 October 2020 4.50pm)

No doubt 2020 has been a challenging year for us all and especially for Metropolitan Victorians who have endured some of the most comprehensive restrictions in Australia. The restrictions are focused on saving and protecting the lives of all Victorians through restricting non-essential movement across the state and are aligned to Victoria’s current State of Disaster.

During the Stage 4 restrictions, Relaxation and Remedial Massage services have not been available; deemed non-essential, and the potential risk of transmission due to proximity and duration of service. We have continued to offer live online Yoga and Qigong group and private sessions via Zoom. The continuation of these sessions during lockdown was requested and very well received. Helping each of us to feel connected, stay committed to the practices, and providing a sense of routine when so many other things have changed and are outside our control. These online sessions will continue until we are able to resume physical classes again, and possibly even beyond.

We are currently in a phase of transition in accordance with the Victorian Governments Coronavirus Roadmap for Reopening. There are multiple stages to these guidelines and each stage has various criteria. For further updates visit the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus (1)

On Sunday 18 October in a press conference, Danial Andrews outlined the changes to restrictions in Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria. During the announcements of changes effective 11.59pm that evening he stated “a full return of Allied Health Services”.

As we have received many requests for service as a result of this announcement, we are providing this update which will hopefully clarify the position in Metropolitan Melbourne in relation to Remedial Massage & Myotherapy services.

Q. Are any Remedial Massage and Myotherapy services able to be provided in Metropolitan Melbourne from Monday 19 October?

A. The short answer is no.

The definition of Allied Health services is a somewhat complex one and encompasses different services depending on the context of the discussion. For the purposes of Private Health Insurance Remedial Massage and Myotherapy are within the definition of Allied Health Services. For the purposes of the DHHS Remedial Massage and Myotherapy services are considered “other primary health services”. In the document by DHHS titled Industry Restart Guidelines Allied Health and Other Primary Health Services, DHHS defines other primary health services to include “myotherapy, remedial massage, naturopathy, and kinesiology.” (2) Understandably this provides some confusion with the use of the term Allied Health Services.

Q. When can Remedial Massage and Myotherapy Services resume?

A. Good question! For this, we refer to the Victorian Governments Roadmap to Normal document titled Roadmap for Reopening How We Work in Metropolitan Melbourne. (3)

In this document Remedial Massage and Myotherapy, according to a discussion with Business Victoria representative is under subsection Community Services; Health and Social Assistance. Extracts of the document are included below. Too small to read visit the link reference at (3) below.

According to this document “Trigger points for easing restrictions – the decision for easing restrictions will be considered with Public Health advice, and precondition being in place.” Still following?

As at 21 October we are still in the Second Step despite statements of easing of some restrictions made on 18 October 2020. The next stage of announcements regarding easing of restrictions is due 1 November 2020.

Q. Will Remedial Massage & Myotherapy Services recommence after 1 November 2020?

A. According to the DHHS Roadmap referred to above possibly, but on a Restricted basis.

Q. What is the definition of Restricted?

A. According to the DHHS Industry Restart Guidelines (2) Restricted is defined as “services required under a Chronic Disease Management Plan, a care plan endorsed by NDIS (including self- managed plans), TAC, Workcover or DVA – if care is required to prevent a significant change/deterioration in functional independence necessitating escalation of care (e.g. an increase in the frequency of treatment needed, an increased need for prescription medication due to a significant increase in pain, requirement for specialist input or review, an increase in care needs, and/or a substantial increase to anticipated recovery time associated with a delay in receiving services).” So quite restricted we think you would agree.

Q. Will this be reviewed?

A. Hopefully! Massage & Myotherapists via their Industry Associations including but not limited to National Bodies; Association of Massage Therapists (AMT) based in NSW and Massage and Myotherapy Australia (MMA) based in Victoria are in consultation with the Victorian Chief Allied Health Officer, lobbying on our behalf to facilitate a return of Remedial Massage & Myotherapy services as soon as possible (4).

In addition, it has not escaped the media that there seems to be an inconsistent treatment of vocational therapist performing face to face physical therapy as detailed in The Age article by Melissa Cunningham (5).

Q. According to the current Roadmap when is the earliest we might reach “COVID Normal”?

A. Current Stage Two is to be reviewed 1 November 2020 with a potential move to Stage Three “subject to public health assessment of epidemiological conditions”(3).

“The move from Third Step to Last Step if we reach no new cases for 14 days (state-wide).”

“Move from Last Step to COVID Normal if we reach no new cases for 28 days (state-wide), no active cases (state-wide) and no outbreaks of concern in other states or territories.”

So, based on the current definitions, and they are subject to change, if we enter the Third Step on 1 November at 11.59pm the earliest we can enter Last Step is 15 November 11.59pm. If this occurs the earliest we can enter COVID Normal is 13 December 11.59pm. Clearly they are hoping for COVID Normal by Christmas, but as outlined there are benchmarks to be reached.

Q. So when can I have a Remedial Massage?

A. Optimistically the Industry Associations are lobbying for a return to work for therapists by 1 November. Whether or not this happens we are unsure. If it does happen it may be on the restricted guidelines which are very narrow. The associations are lobbying for a return to offering routine services. We are currently taking bookings from the week beginning 2 November which can be made at www.source2soul.com. Please keep in mind that we must await approval by the DHHS and confirmation by the Industry Associations that we are permitted to return to work and therefore offer our services to you. Therefore booking may need to be rescheduled based on these announcements.

So there are many variable in answering the question “When can I have a Massage?” We’ve been as transparent as possible sharing the information available. We are frustrated and understand you are equally frustrated. We understand and advocate for Remedial Massage and Myotherapy as an effective modality for the treatment of muscular skeletal issues as well as the immense benefits to general mind and body wellbeing. We have a Covid Safe Plan in place and are poised to reopen based on DHHS Guidelines. We look forward to treating you as soon as we are able.

Australia has been effective at keeping the number of Covid-19 cases relatively low in comparison to some other countries such as United States, India, Brazil and some European countries. This has been achieved by strong restrictions that while being effective at keeping infection rates to a minimum has come at a cost. Hopefully the sacrifices and patience pay off and COVID Normal will come sooner rather than later. Hang in there!

Be sure to adhere to the Covid Safe Principals and the Restrictions in Victoria’s Roadmap for Reopening – How we Live in Metropolitan Melbourne (3);

  • Wear an approved Face Mask
  • Physical Distancing (1.5m)
  • Good Hand Hygiene
  • Don’t go to work Unwell
  • Cough or Sneeze into a tissue or your elbow
  • Outdoor Activities only

As a reminder, Telehealth via Zoom online private consultations are available to work through identifying symptoms and strategies for helping to alleviate the issue whether that be targeted strengthening or flexibility practices, stress reduction techniques or other techniques from Body Work, Yoga or Qigong practices. Also, feel connected by joining one of our online group classes. We look forward to being of service to you soon.

List of Support Services available (4)

Business and Financial AssistanceMental Health and Anxiety
JobKeeper
Where you can apply for the Government’s JobKeeper Stimulus Package (information for sole traders can be found here).

JobSeeker
For those who require welfare support.

Business Support Package
Support to help businesses and workers during COVID-19.

Business.gov.au
Tax relief measures for eligible Victorian businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
Tax assistance for those struggling through adversity.

MoneySmart
For those who require financial support.
Beyond Blue
Support for those dealing with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.

Black Dog Institute
Resources for anxiety and stress caused by COVID-19.

HeadtoHelp
A help support line for Victorian’s of all ages.

Lifeline
A 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention service.

MensLine Australia
Health and relationship advice for men.
Other
National Coronavirus Helpline
A 24-hour a day number to call for COVID-19 questions or concerns.

Fair Work Ombudsman
If you feel you have been unfairly dismissed from work.

References Index:

(1) DHHS Coronavirus (Covid-19 Updates)

https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

(2) Industry Restart Guidelines Allied Health and Other Primary Health Services (DHHS, Sept 2020) https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-09/Industry%20Restart%20Guidelines%20-%20Allied%20Health%20and%20Primary%20Care.pdf

(3) Victoria’s Roadmap for Reopening: How we Work & How we Live https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19-restrictions-roadmaps

(4) Update regarding restrictions in Metropolitan Melbourne MMA News https://www.massagemyotherapy.com.au/ccms.r?Pageid=53&tenid=AAMT&DispMode=goto|46001

(5) The Age Article: Patients ‘out in the cold’ as new rules exclude myotherapy https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/patients-out-in-the-cold-as-new-rules-exclude-myotherapy-massage-20201019-p566ir.html?fbclid=IwAR1JgyP5xwWfKN7DAB0PrCr1YmjVs996upnts4gmi8hi-v-I4d2DwrDco_E