Welcome to the European Shiatsu Schools Code of Conduct and Ethics together with our  Complaints Procedure. For those of you enrolling on the Acupressure Certificate course or  the Professional Shiatsu Practitioner Diploma these notes form an important document for  your reference – please read them carefully.  

Code of Conduct & Ethics  

We wish to draw your attention to the following excerpts from the Shiatsu Society Code of  Conduct and Ethics which are very important for those planning to practise Shiatsu in the  U.K. We would also urge you strongly, if you don’t already have one, to contact the Shiatsu  Society and obtain the full Code of Conduct and Ethics for your own reference:  


This is a written Code of Ethics which provides a common standard for all Ordinary  Members and Practitioners and Teachers of the Society.  

A Shiatsu therapist, by becoming either an ordinary member or Registered Practitioner of  the Shiatsu Society, agrees to be bound by and to observe this Code of Conduct and Ethics  and to submit to the jurisdiction of the Core Group in relation to it.  

The Rules 

Members shall, at all times, conduct themselves in an honourable manner in their relations  with their clients, the public, other members of the Society, and if applicable, their students.  This is regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religious beliefs and disability.  

  1. a) Treatment of a client is legally permitted only with his or her express or implied consent, the law regarding as an assault even the touching of one person by another without the former’s consent.  
  2. b) When a member of the public asks for treatment the Practitioner shall ensure that the client understands the nature of the treatment that will be given.  
  3. c) Practitioners shall recognise the client’s right to refuse treatment or ignore advice.  
  4. d) The client puts complete trust in the Practitioner’s integrity and it is the duty of the Members not to abuse this trust in any way. The focus of the Practitioners behaviour must at all times be on the client’s needs. A Practitioner shall not become sexually involved with a   If a Practitioner becomes personally involved with a client, he or she shall refer that  client for professional treatment elsewhere.  
  5. e) Practitioners must act with consideration concerning fees and justification for treatment. It is unacceptable to solicit a client by any means to accept treatment when she or he has not specifically requested it.  
  6. f) The Practitioner shall respect the confidentiality of the therapeutic relationship and shall not divulge any information about a client to anyone other than another therapist when transferring a client and this must be with the client’s consent. Exceptions to this are:  
  7. i) The use of case histories in teaching.  
  8. ii) The use of case histories for publication.

In both cases the client’s anonymity must be preserved.  

  1. g) If another form of therapy appears more appropriate the client shall be given advice in this regard.  
  2. h) Members of the Society shall be responsible in their communication both to each other and to the general public and shall be mindful of the adverse consequences of expressing subjective judgements.  

Shiatsu and Medicine  

Shiatsu shall not be offered as an alternative to orthodox medicine but as complementary.  a) The Practitioner shall not countermand instructions or prescriptions given by a doctor.  

  1. b) The Practitioner shall not advise a particular course of medical treatment, such as to undergo an operation or to take specific drugs, unless qualified to do so (e.g. qualified 

Herbalists). It must be left to the client to make their own decision in the light of medical  advice.  

  1. c) If the Practitioner believes that she or he has identified some aspect of a disorder which is not covered by a doctor’s diagnosis, the client shall be advised to draw this to the attention of a doctor or relevant health professional.  
  2. d) Practitioners shall be aware of the notifiable diseases (see appendix) and notify the local medical officer of such diseases if necessary.  

Members shall be aware of and abide by the law.  

  1. a) Children:

Before treating any person under the age of sixteen, the Member must obtain the consent  of their parent or legal guardian. However, even with this consent, Members shall be aware  that a parent or guardian who fails to provide adequate medical aid for a child under the  age of sixteen commits a criminal offence. Since Shiatsu is not a medical aid as defined in  law, a Practitioner who treats a child whose parents refuse medical aid runs the risk of being  considered as aiding and abetting that offence. Where it is known that the parents are NOT  receiving medical attention for the child. Members are most strongly advised to secure the  signature of the parent or guardian to the following statement:  

I have been warned by (name of Member) that according to law I should consult a doctor  concerning the health of my child (name of child). 

Signed (parent or guardian) ………………………….. 

Date ………………….  

Witness (signature of person witnessing) ………………. This statement shall be kept with the  clients records.  

Venereal Disease:  

Under the Venereal Diseases Act 1917 it is illegal to treat for reward, whether direct or  indirect (e.g. for a ‘contribution’) syphilis, gonorrhoea or soft chancre. Therefore you may  not treat clients with these diseases unless the treatment is entirely free. It is legal to treat  people with genital herpes, AIDS, or other diseases.  


The Veterinary Surgeons ACCT 1966 prohibits anyone other than a qualified surgeon from  treating animals, including diagnosis of ailments and the giving of advice based on such  diagnosis. However, the healing of animals by contact healing, by the laying-on of hands or  by distant healing is legal and acceptable to the Royal College of veterinary Surgeons.  

The rendering of emergency first aid to animals is, however, permissible for the purpose of  saving life or relieving pain. What constitutes an emergency must be a question for the  judgement of the individual Members. 

The protection of Animals act 1911 lays down as an obligation that if an animal needs  treatment from a veterinary surgeon the owner must be advised to obtain this.  


The law relating to the sale and prescription of herbs is obscure but if a Member does sell or  prescribe herbs, she or he must check that they are legally entitled to do so. Practitioners  shall not advise the use of particular herbal prescriptions unless qualified to do so.  


Practitioners registered by the Shiatsu Society must be insured against claims for damages.  Advertisement  

Advertising shall not claim more about Shiatsu than is stated below in the definition section.  Definitions:  

  1. a) Shiatsu is a therapy, rooted in Japanese and Chinese meridian theory, that aims to help the person with their healing process and self-development through touch. It is a holistic therapy which regards diseases and symptoms as manifestations of imbalance, it seeks to  

resolve the underlying causes of a condition by working with a person’s energy through  working with the body.  

  1. b) Members shall not advertise themselves as practising or teaching Shiatsu until they are members of the Practitioners’ Register.  
  2. c) Registered Practitioners may advertise their practice provided that the wording does not make specified claims for cures, does not bring Shiatsu into disrepute and is in keeping with the integrity of the Shiatsu Society.  
  3. d) Advertising shall not make detrimental comparisons between schools or practitioners.  Surroundings  

Teachers and Practitioners should consider hygiene and emergency procedures in all spaces  that they use professionally.  

  1. a) All Shiatsu treatments should be given in as clean and comfortable an environment as
  2. b) When using public premises the Practitioner or Teacher must be aware of Health and Safety regulations including public liability insurance.  
  3. c) Teachers should be particularly aware of fire regulations and emergency procedures when using a public space. 

The European Shiatsu Schools Complaints Procedure  

Any person dissatisfied with our schools’ services should be encouraged to make this fact  known at the point and time of their dissatisfaction to the persons directly involved. The  first person to be advised of the complaint should, if appropriate, endeavour to resolve the  difficulty, ensuring that the school policy and procedures are followed. If it is not  appropriate for the member of staff to deal with the complaint, it should be referred as  soon as possible to the school director or other senior teacher at the school . Normally, the  sequence of activities to be followed should be:  

  1. Complaint received
  2. Entry made in complaints log and complaint report number assigned  
  3. Complaint acknowledged
  4. Facts ascertained and recorded on complaint report
  5. Explanations / remedy proposed and recorded
  6. Complainant kept informed
  7. Outcome recorded on report
  8. Report filed to complaints file  

A verbal complaint will be dealt with by the member of staff involved.  

If deemed unsatisfactory, a written complaint will be submitted to school director. This  should outline the issues, the timescale involved, and the responses received. A formal  investigation will ensue.  

The school director will respond to this within one month of receipt of the written  complaint.  

If this is deemed unsatisfactory you should write and request a meeting with at least two  Teachers from ESS and an independent third person who will be a registered Teacher with  the Shiatsu Society. You may bring a supporter to be with you at this meeting if you wish.  

You will then receive a written decision within 14 working days. The decision of the meeting  will be final.  

Appeals procedure for learners  

An appeal is a procedure through which The European Shiatsu School may be challenged on  the outcome of an enquiry about results or, where appropriate, other procedural decisions  affecting an individual student.  

The procedure only covers learners. 

Assessment outcome appeals will investigate the procedures followed and will not include a  review of candidates work.  

All documentation will be kept during the appeal procedure  

Appeals will be:  

Submitted in writing 

Documented in writing 

Responded to within 10 days 

Taken to the next school teachers meeting.  

Linked to the procedures outlined in Fair Assessment policy  

Learners wishing to appeal must do so within 14 days of receiving the disputed assessment  decision and are advised to keep copies of all documents relating to the appeal. It is ultimately the responsibility of the school director to ensure that this procedure is  published and accessible to all personnel, learners and any relevant third parties.  

Stage 1  

The appeal should be made, in the first instance, to the assessor who made the original  assessment decision. At this stage, a verbal appeal is acceptable. The assessor should  explain their rationale for the decision that is being disputed. The assessor is required to  record an overview of the appeal and the outcome of the discussion  

Stage 2  

If the learner remains dissatisfied with the assessment decision and wishes to challenge the  outcome of Stage 1, then they are required to appeal in writing to the school director within  14 working days of the Stage 1 process. Learners are required to provide as much  information as possible regarding the disputed assessment decision. When completing the  appeal, information should include: the date and type of the assessment (ie observation of  practical work, assessment of a set task/assignment, result of an internally assessed  question paper), the name of the assessor involved, a brief outline of the reason for the  appeal, any associated documents (i.e. learner evidence, record of feedback from the  assessor involved). The school director will write to the learner to acknowledge receipt of  the appeal within 10 working days and outline the course of action to be taken. An  investigation will ensue, ensuring that another senior teatcher is consulted, and will write to  the learner within 20 working days with the findings and a decision as to whether the appeal  was justified.  

The decision will also be communicated to the original assessor and also the  assessor/internal verifier. Copies of records of appeals are retained with the assessment and  appeals records. We will retain records of appeals for a minimum period of five years.  

Stage 3 

If learners have followed Stage 1 and 2 of the appeals procedure and remain dissatisfied 

with the outcome, they have the right to take their appeal to the awarding body (LASER)  within 20 working days of the decision being communicated to them. 

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