Rebate threat a pain the neck

THE CITY’S massage therapists could be hurting at the wallet if the federal government cuts insurance support for their customers. 

Armidale massage therapists Jennifer Hanlan and Daniel Alter have spoken out against suspected plans to scrap private health insurance rebates for massages.

Mr Alter said most of his massage work helped people with pains and injuries. 

He said these injuries came from sport, bad posture or repetitive stress injury from the workplace.

But if people can't claim the therapies on insurance he worries what will happen to his business. 

“Because of the socio-economics in this area a lot of them are students so finding money to pay without a rebate makes it very difficult for them,” he said. 

The National Health and Medical Research Council is reviewing the efficacy of 17 natural therapies to judge if they are worth private health insurance rebates.

This includes massage therapy but also aromatherapy, kinesiology and homeopathy. 

Ms Hanlan sees between 20 and 25 people a week, many of them seeking remedial massage. 

She said it was difficult to judge the benefits of massage since it was hard to quantify someone's pain or relief. 

But she added that her business receives several referrals from doctors and physiotherapists in Armidale.