smto Scottish Massage Therapists Organisation presents

SMTO Annual Conference - 19th/20th March 2022 - Edinburgh Academy Junior School, Edinburgh.  BOOK HERE

     Man Walking 2022    Man Walking 2022Man Walking 2022

                 Born to Move - Presented by James Earls  James Earls

In this wide-ranging presentation, James Earls will draw from his 30 years of experience as a soft tissue therapist and humbly admit to the ‘anatomy stories’ he has fallen victim to. Thankfully, the years eventually led to a wider understanding of the interrelationships between form and function, skeletal and soft tissues, tensegrity and reality, and he will bring these many strands together to show how, finally, they can all be applied to understand the use of soft tissues in movement.

Combining Movement & Bodywork

During this workshop we will explore the functional interrelationships of the shoulders, trunk and lower limbs. Bodywork techniques will be taught as you feel the ways in which the pectoral muscles affect the thoracic and lumbar spine, and how they can all relate to the opposite hip and even into the opposite knee and foot. Many tissues will be covered in this two-day event and you will come away with an immediate hands-on experience of how the body transfers force, new ways to assess it and new methods to treat and re-educate your clients’ movement.

We will be performing functional bodywork by having the client standing and moving in certain ways that allow simultaneous treatment and assessment making the work ideal for pitch or track-side. The principles taught during this workshop will allow you to apply the techniques immediately for the benefit of your clients.

Congratulations to Ruth Duncan who was presented with an Oustanding Achievement Award at CamExpo by Leon Chaitow.

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Not only has Ruth been busy voluteering at the Commonwealth Games this summer but she has written her first book – MYOFASCIAL RELEASE - available now!

She is in practice in Milngavie, Glasgow and can be contacted at The Natural Therapy Centre on 0141 956 4174 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ruth also has an article in this month's OTMS (Issue 59) on the 'Psoas'.


Massage Volunteer Update from the GLASGOW 2014 XXth Commonwealth Games

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Officially 226 days ..03 hours …42minutes …32 seconds to go as I start this update on the 9th December, in the tail end of 2013.   No doubt it will a lot let less than this by the time the magazine is out. As soon as we hit January 2014 the countdown will be truly on!!

Since the last update the process has been moving on greatly. The range of massage qualifications and professional bodies meant that registration checks etc… for the massage group was fairly complex and time-consuming. From the volunteers’ perspective the most noticeable progress is that all the interviewing has been done, and offers to successful candidates have now gone out. Due to technical reasons, the offers had to go out in batches over several weeks, so some therapists had to wait a little longer than others for the formal offer. The order the offers went out does not in any way suggest some hierarchy of interview success, but was totally random. It is hoped that all who have been offered a place have been in a position to accept and become part of the large integrated medical team.

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