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Can Therapeutic Massage Be Claimed As A Medical Expense?

Updated: Apr 18

Massage therapists worldwide agree that therapeutic massage is excellent for health and well-being. It aids in physiotherapy, chiropractic, and osteopathy and can also be used in conjunction with acupuncture. Granted, therapists and healthcare professionals know your complete treatment plan to combine therapies successfully.

This brings the question: Is massage therapy a medical expense?

The Role Of The ACC

In New Zealand, accidents are covered by the ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation); this includes workplace accidents, personal injury, and claims by visitors to the country.

Is Therapeutic Massage In New Zealand Subsidised By The ACC?

Massage therapy performed by a massage therapist is currently not funded by the Accident Compensation Corporation. For treatments to be covered by the ACC, they must be performed by a healthcare professional who practices under the Health Practitioner Competence Assurance Act (HPCA) of 2003.

Some of these regulated professions include osteopaths, physiotherapists, chiropractors, and acupuncturists. These professionals are certified for competency annually.

However, the massage industry does not belong to the HPCA; therefore, the sector remains unregulated.

Challenges Facing The Massage Industry

Accident Compensation Corporation (2017b) states that a massage therapist "performs therapeutic massages and administers body treatments for relaxation, health, fitness, and medical purposes."

The ACC acknowledges the role of massage therapies to assist in sports performance and injury prevention and add to overall health and well-being. However, while the effectiveness of massage therapy is not a concern, it is often regarded as a holistic approach due to the unregulated nature of the industry and the lack of a recognized regulating body issuing annual practice certificates.

Although massage facilitates quicker healing time with injuries, ACC does not cover this. However, you are encouraged to book Tuina or Medical Massage to help recover alongside your ACC-approved Acupuncture treatment.

Claiming For Massage Therapy As A Medical Expense

While the ACC doesn't subsidize massage therapy, medical insurance policies, such as Southern Cross, can still cover it. Still, you should check with your policy provider to confirm what your policy covers.

Provided a medical practitioner prescribes your massage, this may help relieve and prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, rehabilitation of injury, depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue.

Steps to take:

  • Check with your medical insurance provider first to determine the conditions of coverage.

  • Keep records, including prescriptions and receipts of massage therapy sessions.


The benefits of therapeutic massage are extensive, and although the ACC does not subsidize it, associated treatments may be covered. Additionally, you may claim massage therapy from your medical insurance providers.

At Acute Acupuncture in Wellington, we are an ACC treatment provider and offer a range of treatments and services; however, ACC only covers Acupuncture as a form of treatment at the clinic in Wellington, provided that you have an ACC45 claim number, the date of injury, the read codes, that this claim has been approved by ACC, and is under one year from the date of the initial injury.

If your accident is over one year old, we can fill out and submit an ACC32 form with ACC. However, no ACC treatment can be conducted until ACC32 has been approved.

We understand the importance of enabling our patients to achieve optimum health and well-being. We value all our patients as individuals and strive to provide the best healthcare treatment based on each patient's needs.

Our service is based on professionalism, quality patient outcomes, respect, and safety adherence. Start your journey towards improving your quality of life with a therapeutic massage, and book your free 15-minute consultation today. Thank you for taking the time to read this Blog Post. Don't forget to like, subscribe, and share this post. If you have any more questions or concerns, check out our Acute-Acupuncture Wellington Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), as we find these help to answer most people's questions.


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