Legislative Acts which establish boundaries of massage practice in New Zealand/Medicines Act 1981

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Objectives of the Medicines Act 1981

This Act controls the safe use (manufacture, sale and supply) of (potentially hazardous) substances, medical devices and related products as medicines.

A medicine is defined in Section 3 of the Act as:

any substance or article, other than a medical device, that is manufactured, imported, sold, or supplied wholly or principally for:

  • administering to one or more human beings for a therapeutic purpose; or
  • use as an ingredient in the preparation of any substance or article that is to be administered to one or more human beings for a therapeutic purpose, where it is so used
  • In a pharmacy or a hospital
  • By a practitioner
  • In the course of any business that consists of or includes the retail sale, or the supply in circumstances corresponding to retail sale, of herbal remedies
  • For use as a pregnancy test.

Implications of the Medicines Act 1981

The main implication of the act is that massage therapists are not allowed to prescribe medicines, although there is an exemption for natural health products.