Key messages

  • Businesses offering some physical therapies do not have to register with local government
  • Excluded businesses are those offering massage, saunas, flotation tanks, gymnasium equipment and alternative therapies.
  • These businesses are encouraged to comply with guidelines for infection prevention and control specific to their industry.

Under the current Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, the following practices do not require registration with local government:

  • massage
  • saunas
  • flotation tanks
  • gymnasium equipment
  • alternative therapies.

General hygiene minimises the risk of spreading potentially harmful microorganisms that may lead to infection. You are encouraged to adopt the outlined information here.

Infection prevention – massage

In performing various massage therapies, the operator needs to assess all possible infection risks and consult their professional organisation. Infections may be transmitted via:

  • hands
  • surfaces
  • linen
  • oils and creams.
  • a solution of warm water and detergent in a pour bottle
  • paper towels for cleaning and drying equipment.

Infection prevention – saunas

The main infection risk relates to the surfaces of the sauna. Operators should ensure surfaces are kept clean. Only nonabrasive cleaners should be used.

Clients should be encouraged to sit or lie on a clean towel while in the sauna. If the operator provides towels, they should be washed and dried accordingly after being used.

Infection prevention – flotation tanks

The main infection risk for floatation tanks is the salt water that is reused between clients. Operators should ensure both internal and external surfaces are kept clean. Use nonabrasive cleaners to remove the scum and to prevent corrosion caused by the splashing of highly concentrated salt water.

Regular maintenance should include checking the filters.

When applying oils or creams to protect the skin from the concentrated salt water, use appropriate dispensing procedures.

Infection prevention – gymnasium equipment

Cleaning the gymnasium and its equipment every day is important to prevent the spread of infection, and provide a safe environment for users and staff.

Additional cleaning is required immediately when and where any person has sweated profusely.

Bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus (golden staph) can cause conjunctivitis and skin infections when transferred from inadequately cleaned equipment and reusable towels.

The spread of infection is increased when people reuse a single towel to clean, and when people use their own towel to wipe down equipment.

Supplied reusable towels should be used only once and placed in a receptacle for laundering.

The following cleaning equipment should be readily available for gymnasium users or staff:

There should be a receptacle so clients can throw out used paper towels. Facilities should be available for users and staff to wash their hands after cleaning or wiping down equipment.

Infection prevention – alternative therapies

Alternative therapies include naturopathy, aromatherapy, homeopathy and ear candling.

It is important for the operator to consider all possible infection risks and, if possible, consult their professional organisation.

If any therapies use procedures that penetrate the skin, then premises must be registered and guidelines for skin penetration should be followed.

Infections may be transmitted via:

  • hands
  • surfaces
  • linen
  • oils and creams.

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