New Zealand Diploma in Wellness and Relaxation Massage (Level 5)

If you’re ready to become a Massage Therapist, this programme is the best place to start!

Did you know that incorrect massage techniques could damage a client’s well-being instead of help them? This 36-week programme teaches you all types of massage that can be used, how to apply them and why.

The human body is a complex masterpiece. During this diploma you’re taught the anatomy and physiology of a healthy body, the different types of massage techniques that can be applied and how each of these can affect a person’s well-being. 

You’ll learn about massage theory and practise how to apply it on clients, as well as receive these massage techniques yourself to understand how each technique feels during the massage and the after-effects.

Our classrooms are intentionally small in size, so that you get more attention and support at every step of your learning journey. You’ll be taught on campus with a qualified tutor who will ensure that your new found massage techniques and understanding of the human anatomy is correctly applied in theory and during the actual massage. In addition to this hands-on classroom learning, you’ll have access to e-learning where you can solidify your understanding with assessments and online quizzes set for your class. 

Massage is a passive form of exercise, so believe it or not – there are some physical requirements to this programme which our team will discuss with you upon your enrolment.

If you haven't studied for a while and want to ease into learning, see our Level 4 Certificate in study and career preparation for massage

Programme Objectives

The Diploma in Wellness and Relaxation Massage is a 36-week programme that gives you the understanding, skills and attributes of a successful wellness and relaxation massage therapist.

Graduates of this qualification are open to a number of possible career paths such as self-employment, or working alongside other professionals in a multi-health practice (e.g. physiotherapy, acupuncture, osteopathy or medical centres) or rest homes and rehabilitation centres for the purpose of relaxation.

This programme can even provide amazing travelling opportunities to work on cruise ships, spas, resorts, hotels, ski-fields, gymnasiums, on-site corporates and much more. 

Key Components

Key components of the Diploma include:

  • Normal anatomy and physiological functioning of each of the human body systems and how they underpin massage therapy practice
  • Musculoskeletal anatomy and relevant surface anatomy to provide a theoretical and practical foundation for wellness and relaxation practice
  • Client assessment, session planning, evaluation and management, including goal management, evidence base for choice of intervention, safety considerations, ethical and professional and cultural requirements
  • Wellness and relaxation therapy interventions, including: relaxation massage techniques; wellness techniques; muscle- specific massage techniques; healthcare programming for stress and wellness interventions; and client education
  • Underpinning knowledge: history of massage; body mechanics and practitioner self-care practices; principles of massage; evidence-based effects of massage therapy (including indications and contraindications); stress and wellness theory; stress management;scope of practice; ethical considerations; professionalism; professionalization; multicultural practice; Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Massage Therapy Practicals

Our work placements are designed to prepare students for work in real world environments such as Spas and Massage Therapy Clinics. 

Our students are encouraged to participate in a wide range of practical opportunities to enhance their experience base. The ability to practice in-class learning is essential, and many work placements require home-based study.

All work placements involve standard industry practices and processes. Students will have an opportunity to practice through a selection of work placements. These work placements are based upon wellness and relaxation massage learning experiences and intended to reinforce in-class practical tuition. Work placements are assessed through methodologies such as:

  • In-class practicals
  • Client Information Collection
  • Case Study / Integration
  • Student Clinic Hours
  • Community Placements

Students are encouraged to practice on a wide range of clients to consolidate learnings.

Key facts

  • Students engage in 100 hours of Student Clinic experience

Next Steps

Students can become 'wellness and relaxation massage therapists' after graduating, or can continue studying with us to learn more in-depth client treatment recovery, allowing you to massage a wider range of clients:

Course Costs

For Domestic Students: 

  • Tuition fees: TBC
  • Student loans and allowances are available through Studylink.

For International Students:

  • Tuition fees: TBC
  • Course fees: TBC

Qualifications Awarded

New Zealand Diploma in Wellness and Relaxation Massage (Level 5)

2020 Intakes





This programme is offered at our Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch Campuses.


42 weeks including 6 weeks of holiday.

Entry Requirements

  • Be over 18 years of age, and have:
  • 80 NCEA credits with at least 60 Level 2 credits and Literacy and Numeracy at NCEA Level 1 or equivalent; or  
  • The NZCM Certificate in Study and Career Preparation for Massage (Level 4); or 
  • Relevant and equivalent level study or work experience
  • Good level of physical and mental fitness
  • International or domestic students whose first language is not English must score IELTS overall brand score (Academic) of 5.5, with no band score lower than 5.0; or NZQA recognized equivalent 

Additional selection requirements apply and are provided at the pre-enrolment interview. 

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The New Zealand College of Massage is no longer in operation or taking enrolments.

If you have an interest in massage therapy in the context of beauty therapy, our sister college Elite School of Beauty and Spa offers a learning programme that includes massage therapy.

You will be taken there automatically in 15 seconds. Otherwise, visit Elite School of Beauty and Spa now.