It is strongly suggested that therapists in the UK join a Professional Membership body, and adhere to the body’s Code of Conduct and Ethics. There are many organisations you can join within the UK, but SMTO is the only organisation based in Scotland for therapists working in Scotland. Because of this, we are a lot cheaper than the London based organisations. For example, our annual membership fee is just £50 compared to other UK wide organisations that range from £100+

The basic level of training that we ask for is 120 hours face-to-face attendance at a massage training course. In Scotland Level 3 Swedish Massage is the foundation to all the training. This takes therapists 120 hours + completion of homeworks and case studies at home. Written, oral and practical exams must also be passed to gain the Diploma in Swedish Massage. This level covers your basic Anatomy & Physiology (50-60 hours) along with the fundamental Swedish Massage techniques of effleurage, friction, petrissage and tapotement (60-70 hours). Therapists also learn consultation and treatment record skills.

Once therapists have qualified in Swedish Massage, they can then progress onto doing the Level 4 Remedial & Sports Massage course. This takes another 120 hrs of classroom teaching (split 50:50 A+P: practical massage) but also has a 100 hour log of massage work, some of which is supervised. There is also homeworks and case studies to be done at home, and of course the written, oral and practical exams required to be passed to qualify in the Diploma in Remedial & Sports Massage. This level of training covers more in depth A+P, General assessment, Specific Assessments of joints, but also further techniques in Myofasial Release (MFR), Neuromuscular techniques (NMT), Soft Tissue Release (STR), Trigger Points (TPT), Muscle Energy Techniques (MET), and some mobilisations.

We also have a Level 5 Advanced Remedial Massage course (180 hours – split 50:50 A+P:practical massage) which takes training onto the realms of realigning joints, but without the high velocity thrusts that osteopaths and chiropractors use.

I have attached our new member application form. Because you have not trained here in the UK, you will also need to complete another application form that gives me details and breakdown of your training. You will also need to send me copies of your qualifications. In the UK we ask that all therapists hold a basic first aid certificate. There are several organisations that offer first aid training, including a local Massage school which regularly offers the training. It is open to other therapists and not just their students. Here is a link to their website

SMTO members are required to do a minimum of 18 hours cpd each year. The easiest way to get 15 of your hours is simply to attend our SMTO Conference, which we hold in March every year. Attendance will give you 15 hours. Then the balance can be made up of reading, watching training DVDs, researching a pathological condition or medication that a patient informs you of. I myself did a tax course when I first set up as a self-employed therapist.

As a SMTO member, we offer a discounted group insurance scheme run by Balens Insurance. Normal cost of insurance for a massage therapist is c.£98 per annum, however SMTO members receive their insurance at a reduced cost of £49 per annum currently.

The SMTO Membership Handbook advises you of our rules and regulations. Most of these are replicated across the whole of the UK.

I hope I have given you a small insight into SMTO and massage in Scotland.

If you wish to join SMTO please complete the 2 application forms below

SMTO Membership Application Form 

Non Affiliated School Form

SMTO Membership Handbook

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