Professional Practice Blog 2 Treaty of Waitangi Hannah Howley
How the Treaty of Waitangi framework incorporates into Massage Therapy practice
In any sort of practice, culture and society must be established to promote a good ground basis of an understanding of other people and their beliefs. In this blog I will discuss the relevance of Maori culture to Massage Therapy.
Governance, authority, equity and respect are the four main categories we look at when establish cultural inputs into the clinic.
Governance to begin with is what we understand as ‘our role’ and being in charge of the practice you are doing. You must understand your role as a therapist, notice the treaty policy and legislation of the healthcare department, being aware of the treaty and knowing the cultural differences, be aware of the legislation of what you as a therapist are doing and of course policies and requirements. We must ensure the health and safety of our client at all times.
Authority, with regards to the scope of practice to MT, clients are allowed to have their own opinion about the therapists’ treatment plan and the way they go about delivering it. There is to be a partnership between client and therapist for each other to share their feelings and views. Communication is very important when there is someone with authorisations. The therapist always has rights to a client and must ensure these, but will not act as if they are higher or superior than the client.
Equity is a title we notice as ‘equal’. With regards to the Massage Therapy scope of practice, we must treat all clients equally, with the most utmost respect and total professionalism. MT’s must accommodate each individual client as they see fit, e.g. clients with disabilities. The significance of culture must be taken into account in this instance. Some cultures see touching of the head to be culturally insensitive. This is where communication is of importance, as some massage therapists tend to work into the head for neck treatments.
Respect. This is a title which is self-explanatory. The client is your client and you are their therapist. They have come to you for help and it is your position to maintain the respect and needs of your client. Understanding and appreciation of their needs, beliefs and wishes is something you have to be able to do.
The aim is to provide health care in an environment that is culturally sensitive to those who are using it. This is done out of respect for different cultural perspectives and needs. The client and the whanau must understand what is happening and what resources and support are available. (Timmins, K. Treaty Workshop, 2009)
Other considerations to think about with Maori clients are Taoka (Valuables). These are extremely important and have a lot of sentimental value. Therapists’ must be respectful of these and must discuss with the client before removing them e.g. necklaces, as they may be in the way of neck treatment. You must offer the client the opportunity to look after the Taoka when they have removed it if they agree to.
Four more elements I will look at are those from the 1988 Royal Commission on social policy for prerequisites for health and well-being.
- The family as an influence on health
- As a support system.
Taonga Tuku Iho – Cultural Heritage
- Access to Maori knowledge
- Access to family, hapu, iwi and the marae
- Intact Maori identity
Te Ao Turoa – The environment
- Physical environment
- Political environment
- Social-economic environment
- Social climate in terms of racial and ethnic equity
Turangawaewae – an idisputable land base
- Access to ancestral lands
- Self-esteem and self-respect
Bachelor of Midwifery/Diploma in Massage Therapy; Treaty Workshop. May 18th 2009
Durie,M.(1998). Whaiora: Maori health development(pp.69-74). Auckland, New Zealand: Oxford University Press.
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