14 Guidelines for Hiring Basic Certificate Practitioners [List]

Wellington College has been made aware of an increasing interest in massage therapy clinics to hire students who have completed their first year of training.  This is a scenario that continually comes up each year and so we’d like to clarify several points on our policy regarding this subject. Please note that while we are clarifying the facts surrounding this action, we do not take a position of supporting or not supporting the action. We simply want to make sure that those that do support the action to hire basic relaxation practitioners have as much information as possible when making their decision.


Wellington College recognizes that in the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan there is no legislation regulating the practice of massage. However, we do hold strong to our position that only individuals that hold a Registered Massage Therapy Diploma are qualified to perform complete musculoskeletal assessments and/or treat pathological conditions within the Massage Therapist’s scope of practice. It is our position that only those therapists are considered adequately trained to promote themselves as “Massage Therapists.” We further recognize that only these individuals will be recognized by some third party insurance companies for reimbursement of client services.

Wellington College wishes to clarify that individuals holding a certificate in Basic Relaxation Massage are safe to work on the public for relaxation purposes only. The holder of the certificate will have shown knowledge and skill in performing Swedish Massage and extrinsic applications for the purpose of relaxation. They will have adequate knowledge to provide such applications in a safe manner by being trained to recognize contraindications. It is our position that in no way should they be promoted as being adequately trained to practice as a Massage Therapist or that their services be promoted in any way as Massage Therapy. When a client calls to book their services, it should be clearly stated that they are performing Relaxation Massage and as such will not be recognized for reimbursement by the more prominent third-party insurance companies.

Individuals with a Basic Relaxation Massage Certificate may be acceptable adjunct to clinical setting as Chiropractic Pre-technician, Physiotherapy Assistant, Relaxation Spa Practitioner or Massage Assistants. We strongly recommend that those clinics who wish to hire such practitioners only do so if there is an experienced higher educated individual on staff; for example a Chiropractor, Physiotherapist or Massage Therapist.

We want clinic owners to be aware that if they choose to hire practitioners, that they should be required to carry their own malpractice and liability insurance and hold membership in some organization that recognizes that level of training.

14 Guidelines for Hiring Basic Certificate Practitioners

Where the employee is a student-in-training at Wellington College:

In situations where the individual hired is still undergoing more advanced training to achieve a diploma of Remedial Massage Therapy, the following additional requirements must be adhered to:

  1. The individual must hold a certificate in Basic Relaxation Massage.
  2. The service provided cannot be promoted in any way as being Massage Therapy or indicate that the practitioner is a Massage Therapist.  
  3. All advertisements and promotions that reflect the student in question must be reviewed by Wellington College’s Academic Dean, Lisa Tack.
  4. The practitioner must carry their own malpractice and liability insurance as the College’s malpractice insurance will not extend to cover such services.
  5. The practitioner must hold membership in some association recognizing this level of service.
  6. The practitioner must maintain records on all clients that they have performed services on.
  7. The practitioner must follow all protocols for professional draping and obtaining informed consent. The written consent form must be provided to Wellington College’s Academic Dean, Lisa Tack.
  8. The individual must have a consent form that states the practitioner holds a certificate in Basic Relaxation Massage and their scope of practice is limited to the application of massage for relaxation. 
  9. If the practitioner charges a fee for their massage services, they cannot use those hours towards the requirements for their training at Wellington College.
  10. The practitioner must have a clear contract with the clinic owner stating their limitations and expectations and a copy must be provided to Wellington College’s Academic Dean, Lisa Tack.
    1. The Contract must contain a clause stating that this is not an extension of Wellington College nor does Wellington College endorse the position.
  11. The Student must have their contract with Wellington College adjusted to reflect that they are practicing as a Basic Relaxation Practitioner.
  12. The student may not wear their Wellington College scrub uniform or use any items that reflect Wellington’s logos or names while working in this environment.
  13. Wellington College will make no alteration to program requirements to accommodate a student employed in this form of practice.

It is important to remember that this list is specific to students of Wellington College and that a breach of these terms is grounds for immediate removal from the program. We are an advocate for those who wish to practice Relaxation Massage and believe that it has incredible benefits. But we also recognize that where there is no regulation in place, it can be human nature to practice outside of one’s scope if the situation arises, and this is where we draw the line in the sand. It is our mission to train individuals skilled in Massage Therapy and its supporting modalities, while keeping the public safe by practicing within their scope of knowledge.