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

Programme Objectives

Looking for an insight into the fascinating world of health and wellbeing? Then the Diploma in Wellness and Relaxation Massage is the programme for you. Understanding the broader spectrum of wellbeing, and how massage relates to improving health outcomes will open doors to a number of possible career paths. These may include: self-employment, or working alongside other professionals in a multi-health practice (e.g. physiotherapy, acupuncture, osteopathy or medical centres). Other opportunities include ski-fields, gymnasiums, cruise ships, tourism, spas, resorts, hotels, on-site corporates, rest homes and rehabilitation centres for the purpose of relaxation.

Programme Overview

Health and wellness involves physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, occupational and social health. The goal of the NZCM is to produce knowledgeable, skilled, and adaptable massage therapists who recognise their role within the wider healthcare community, and contribute to improving health outcomes. The Diploma in Wellness and Relaxation Massage provides the required skills and knowledge to be an effective operator. It also provides a pathway for further study to the Level 6 Diploma in Advanced Clinical Massage Therapy and then the NZCM Level 7 Degree programme.

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, including human function, health and wellness, massage skills and professional practice.

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

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.

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

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.

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Key facts

  • NQF Level 5
  • 12 month full-time programme
  • Study in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch
  • 100 hours Student Clinic experience
  • Approved for student loans and allowances for full- time domestic students.
  • Enrol for either Feb or July start

Career Opportunities

Massage Therapist

Course Costs

  • Tuition fees: $6900 (incl GST)
  • Compulsory related costs: $500 (incl GST)
  • Recommended course items: $1118 (incl GST)
  • Student loans and allowances are available through Studylink.

For International Students:

  • Tuition fees: $17,000 (incl GST)

Qualifications Awarded

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


  • 1 April 2018
  • 16 July 2018 


This programme is offered in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.


42 weeks including 6 weeks of holiday.

Entry Requirements

  • Be over 18 years of age, and have a:
  • Good level of physical and mental fitness
  • 42 credits at NCEA Level 3, with 14 credits in two of the following subjects: Chemistry, Science, Biology, Health Studies, Physical Education
  • Literacy requirements - 8 credits at Level 2 (or higher)
  • 4 credits in reading and 4 credits in writing
  • Discretionary admission is available
  • Additionally, International Students and those whose first language is not English:
    Competence in English language: those whose first language is not English are required to score at least IELTS 5.5 (Academic) in all aspects of the test or NZQA approved equivalent.
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