Massage Therapist Association of Alberta
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Standards of Practice

Scope of Practice

The practice of Massage Therapy is the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of the soft tissue and joints of the body with the intent of producing a therapeutic outcome or providing preventative care.  In their practice, Massage Therapists may also teach, manage and conduct research in the science, techniques and practice of Massage Therapy.  Massage Therapists also contribute to the development and improvement of primary and complementary health policy.


What are Standards of Practice

The Massage Therapist Association of Alberta (MTAA) has developed the Standards of Practice for Massage Therapists based on the Inter-jurisdictional Entry-to-Practice Competency Profile for Massage Therapists. Through the development and use of these Standards, the MTAA continues to display its commitment to serving its members and promoting the highest possible quality of Massage Therapy practice in a safe, competent and ethical manner.

The Standards of Practice are intended to be generic and have been developed to describe the outcomes of the various tasks the therapist is required to perform within the Scope of Practice. The Standards of Practice describe how well a therapist is expected to perform. How to do each task is determined by the minimum competencies theoretically taught by the educational institutions offering Massage Therapy programming in Alberta.

The Standards of Practice have been adapted to be specific to the MTAA and form a live, dynamic document that will evolve as changes in practice evolve.  Special acknowledgement is extended to the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) for their framework.

Why have Standards of Practice

The Standards of Practice have been developed as a tool to determine whether a Massage Therapist can conduct their practice at an acceptable level. These Standards will serve as a reference tool for:

Confidentiality Statement

Massage Therapists are advised that giving information about a patient to any person except as required or allowed by law or except to facilitate diagnosis or treatment of a patient is considered to be professional misconduct.

Accountability for Standards

The Massage Therapist is only held accountable to meet a Standard if he/she is the person who has performed the task.

Massage therapists are also accountable to the following pieces of legislation:

Glossary of Terms:

A Standard of Practice consists of three inter-related subcomponents that describe:


Conditions describe the situation in which the task must be accomplished, including any resources, tools, materials, etc. that are given/available.


A task is a description of what a therapist is expected to accomplish.


A standard is a description of a minimum level of performance one is required to demonstrate in the achievement of a task.

A standard is stated in observable and measurable terms. It must be precise and clear to the therapist who is held accountable for accomplishing it. It must also be clear to the clients and the public (who assess the therapist's ability to accomplish a task as measured by the required standard).

Standards include one or more of the following measures:

Section A:  Communication/Public Health Standards (Click the Standard to open/view/print a copy)

Standard 1 Prepare the Treatment Area
Standard 2 Inform the Client of the Fees and Obtain His/Her Agreement to a Fee Schedule
Standard 3 Wash Your Hands and Any Skin Surface that Will/Has Come in Contact with the Client
Standard 4 Interview the Client to Obtain His/Her Treatment Goals
Standard 5 Risk Identification and Management for an Outbreak of Infectious Diseases
Standard 6 Obtain, Update and Record the Client's Health History
Standard 7 Consent
Standard 8 Determine the Client's Condition by Conducting Assessment/Re Assessment
Standard 9 Treatment and Treatment Plans
Standard 10 Pre / Post Treatment Protocol
Standard 11 Draping
Standard 12 Recommend Self Care
Standard 13 Client Health Record
Standard 14 Use of Personal Protective Equipment During a Treatment
Standard 15 Discharge of a Client


Section B:  Technique Standards (Click the Standard to open/view/print a copy)

Introduction to the Standards for Specific Massage Therapy Techniques
Standard 30 Perform a Stroking Technique
Standard 31 Perform a Rocking or Shaking Technique
Standard 32 Perform an Effleurage Technique
Standard 33 Perform a Petrissage Technique
Standard 34 Perform a Friction Technique
Standard 35 Perform a Vibration Technique
Standard 36 Perform a Tapotement Technique
Standard 37 Apply Deep Fascial Techniques
Standard 38 Myo Fascial Trigger Points
Standard 39 Apply Low Grade Joint Mobilization (Sustained Grade I or II or Grade I or II Oscillations)
Standard 40 Apply High Grade Joint Mobilization (Sustained Grade II and or Oscillations III and IV Joint Mobilization)
Standard 41 Perform a Stretch Technique
Standard 42 Perform an Intra Oral Treatment
Standard 43 Perform Breast Massage
Standard 44 Perform Massage to the Chest Wall
Standard 45 Apply Hydrotherapy

Section C:  Additional Techniques Standards

Introduction to the Standards for Specific Additional Massage Therapy Techniques