The best massage in Byron Bay?

The best massage in Byron Bay?

When you walk around our fine town you will spot no less than 5 different locales claiming to be the “best massage in Byron”.
Full disclaimer here, I own a heath clinic that offers (seriously, the best) massages.

This piece is aimed at safeguarding our town’s and this industry’s reputation as well as to highlight potential public safety risk.


There are not many other industries around town using such hyperbolic language to describe their service/product. The Best Burger; The Best Shoes; The Best Acai Berry Smoothie… You simply don’t see such misleading claims from other industries.

In fact, I cant think of any others. You definitely don’t see this in the health industry.’The Best GP in town; Best Prescription Medicine or Best Hair Transplant signs out side any shops on the main drag.

So when can a business legitimately claim to be ‘the best’, both on an ethical or legal footing?
The fact is they can’t.

If they are properly qualified and a member of an accredited association, it is actually against the Code of Practice as a health professional to use this type of language. If you are claiming to ‘cure” or ”heal” then you are in fact breaking Australian Consumer Law.

Unfortunately, massage therapy is not a regulated industry, which means there are no laws prohibit someone setting up shop with no training whatsoever and calling themselves a ‘massage therapist’.

“Ahhh, whaaaat?” I hear you say.

Reshni Ratnam wrote in her Feb 2016 article for the Courier mail, “ The lack of regulations means any individual with a dodgy past could be laying their hands on our bodies.
And who’s to say business owners are not abusing the system? Or exploiting individuals on work and study visas with poor employment conditions, inappropriate billing practices — particularly in high tourist areas where people are transient?”
I have heard horror stories of safety standards and staff conditions at ‘health clinics’ in Byron Bay, including the practice of in-house training without any prior experience; massage therapists working when they have been banned by the courts for unethical behaviour; using other qualified therapists’ information to write dodgy receipts; grossly underpaying staff and pay being withheld ending up at the Fair Workers Commission (more than once in one establishment).

The business owners of these places claim to be ‘healers’, ‘gurus’ and ‘spiritually gifted’ yet treat their staff like garbage. What these self-described shaman are doing is unethical, unsafe and illegal.
So what can you do about it?
Do your research.
It’s up to you to ask when making a booking if the qualifications of Shaman Rinpoche (AKA ‘Ray’) are in fact legit. The only way to safeguard yourself from these under-qualified and potentially dangerous ‘therapists’ is to ask if they give health fund receipts. If they don’t, this means they do not have proper training, are unregistered and potentially uninsured.
So if you incur an injury in the hands of an under-qualified therapists, it may prove difficult to get any compensation at all…

The healthcare and wellbeing industry is huge for the Byron Shire making up the third largest industry in terms of employees, only just behind retail in second. We need to protect our good name just as we try to protect any other industry so valuable to our local economy.

We have a wonderful variety of health professionals around Byron Bay, offering all types of treatments (too many to list) and that is a huge part of what makes our little corner of the earth enticing.
I would just like health professionals to be straight with each other and more importantly with the public.

Any massage clinic in Byron advertising themselves as  ‘best massage in Byron’ is by that very claim surely not.

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation
Agency website

Australian Competition and
Consumer Commission website

Australian Consumer Law website


The Australian Legal Information Institute

Ratnam, Reshni, Feb 24th 2016
‘Under qualified massage therapists cause stir over unregulated business’

Census, 2011;Australian Bureau of Statistics. (viewed Feb 13th, 2017)

1 Comment

  1. Lauretta
    2 April 2017

    Great article. I can’t imagine that anyone would ever go into a medical centre with no qualified doctors and an A-frame out the front that read “Our ‘Health Practicers’ Give The Best Flu Diagnosis In Town!”
    Yet so many would willingly entrust their bodies to unqualified massage therapists.

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