Shiatsu Society (UK)


Statement last updated @April 20th 2021

Returning to hands-on practice -20th April 2021

We are pleased to announce that practitioners in England, Wales and Scotland will shortly be able to return to hands-on treatments. 

Close Contact services are set to resume for all close contact therapists on April 12th including Shiatsu therapists offering home visits. 

From April 26th close contact services will resume, including Shiatsu therapists providing home visits.

Close Contact services are set to resume for all close contact therapists on April 12th including Shiatsu therapists offering home visits. 

Northern Ireland: 
In Northern Ireland from 23 April, Close Contact services (including those provided from a mobile setting) can reopen strictly by appointment.

Update - 7th January 2021

Practice of Shiatsu is currently not permitted in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Practice in England is permitted under specific circumstances. Please see each individual nation’s guidance and website below.


New legislation regarding the current lockdown in England was passed by Parliament at 7pm on Wednesday 6th January. This made no change to the previous legislation on practice in Tier 4 areas  [The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020 Schedule 3A, paragraph 17 (o) – “..other …health services, including services relating to mental health”].  The Shiatsu Society considers that Shiatsu practice is permitted under this clause.

In view of the severity of the situation, with cases and the death toll rising, the Society asks practitioners to make a professional and moral decision about whether it is appropriate to practise if cases are rising in the area, whether the treatment is essential for medical / mental health reasons and whether the benefits of hands-on treatment are greater than the risk of virus transmission. We also advise practitioners to contact the local health authority for regulations in their area.


Northern Ireland

Close Contact services (which means Shiatsu) are not permitted from 26th December for 6 weeks. Please see Northern Ireland Government website for details.


Scotland mainland plus Skye is in lockdown from 4th January till 31st January and therefore Close Contact services (which includes Shiatsu) must not operate. The Islands moved to Tier 3 on 4th January: Close Contact services (except mobile) are permitted.

Please see Scottish Government website for details.


Close Contact services (which means Shiatsu) are not permitted from 25th December until further notice.

Please see Welsh Government website for details.

Wales - Level 4 restrictions will come into place next week  – December 18th 

Following the announcement by the Welsh First Minister on 16th December, level 4 restrictions will come into place next week and Close Contact Services (which includes Shiatsu) must cease trading at the end of 24th December.

You cannot practise after this date until further notice. This document details the Level 4 alert levels in Wales. Details of the First Minister’s announcement are here

We recommend that you keep checking the Welsh Government website for any updates, particularly over the festive period.

Sending positive thoughts in this challenging situation


Shiatsu Practitioners based in Wales may offer Shiatsu treatments again from 9th November, to clients residing in Wales. Please refer to the newly issued (9th November) Welsh Government Close Contact Guidelines for full guidance on procedures.


English Government Legislation for the enhanced restrictions till 2nd December are unclear. The Shiatsu Society will support professional members continuing to work during this period as we feel that Shiatsu comes under “other medical or health services, including services relating to mental health”.[PHE Statutory Instrument para 47]. Some Accredited Registers have stated that a medical referral is necessary for therapy to be given. This is not stated within the Legislation and therefore, although medical referral may give justification for treatment, we consider that Shiatsu practitioners who are working with physical and mental health conditions (i.e. not for relaxation) are justified in providing treatment at this time. As professional practitioners, treatment notes will record the medical conditions and reasons for treatment. Membership of an Accredited Register such as CNHC is an extra layer of professionalism on top of Society membership at this time, but is not necessary for continuing to practice.

Currently practitioners may work within a health clinic or in their own treatment room, including at home, but they may not give treatment in a client’s home (home /mobile visit) unless that is specifically referred by a medical practitioner.

In cases of doubt practitioners should contact the local Area Health Authority to ascertain if there are any local restrictions to practice.


Shiatsu practitioners in Scotland may practice in all areas of the country, but should not accept clients from areas in a different tier, nor travel to practice in a different tier area. Under the new 5 tier system practitioners in tiers 0 & 1 may undertake home / mobile visits; this is not permitted in tiers 2 & 3.

Northern Ireland

Shiatsu practitioners are not currently permitted to work under the lockdown regulations which began on 16th October for four weeks.

Update for Shiatsu Society Practitioners based in Wales - 19th October 2020

Following the announcement by the Welsh Government of a “fire-break lockdown”, this is relevant information taken from the Welsh Government website this afternoon.

A short, sharp “circuit breaker” or “fire-break” will be introduced across Wales at the end of this week to help regain control of coronavirus. This means that a series of restrictive measures will be in place from 6pm Friday 23 October until the start of Monday 9 November 2020.

What restrictions will be in place?

  • people must stay at home, except for very limited purposes
  • people must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with
  • certain businesses and venues, including our sector must close
  • face coverings continue to be mandatory in the indoor public spaces that remain open (subject to certain exemptions and exceptions), including on public transport and in taxis
What will happen after Monday 9 November?

Following the end of the fire-break, a new set of national rules will be introduced, covering how people can meet and how the public sector and businesses operate.

Can hairdressers and beauty salons stay open?

No. All close contact services including hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, and sports and massage therapists are required to close. Since Shiatsu practitioners offer Close Contact services, this means that practitioners in Wales cannot give hands-on treatments until the lockdown is lifted.

The Shiatsu Society recommends that you contact your Welsh Assembly representative and your MP to discuss any financial help available. Basic information on financial support for businesses is available here. 

Further information on the firebreak lockdown is available here

We will keep you informed of further updates as they occur.

Sending you positive thoughts in this challenging situation

Shiatsu Society Board


Shiatsu Society Practitioners based in England - 14th October 2020

The new three tiered system of local COVID Alert Levels in England has come into force today.

There is no specific change of guidelines for Close Contact services in Medium and High Alert Level areas. There may be changes to guidelines in Very High Level areas. This alert level currently applies to the Liverpool City Region only, but could change at any time. Consultation with local authorities will determine additional measures, these could include the closing of personal care and Close Contact services or prohibiting the highest-risk activities. Our treatments come under the Close Contact guidance, so Shiatsu would be affected if there were additional measures made by local authorities in Very High Level areas. Further information on the Very High local alert level can be found here.

To understand if there are additional restrictions in your area please check the postcode checker on GOV.UK which shows which alert level applies in each area, as well as checking guidelines published by your local authority.

We will keep you updated with updates as they occur.


Best wishes,

Shiatsu Society Board 

Shiatsu Society Practitioners in Wales can return to work - July 27th

We are pleased to announce that following the Government announcement on Friday 24th July, practitioners based in Wales can return to work from Monday 27th July.

Shiatsu Society Practitioners in Scotland can return to work on the 22nd July - July 17th 

We’ve heard tonight that practitioners based in Scotland can return to hands-on treatments on the 22nd July providing they adhere to Scottish Government guidelines plus our own Back to Work guidance. We are delighted to hear this news and look forward to practitioners being able to recommence supporting clients.

Shiatsu Society Practitioners in England can return to work - July 13th 

Last week the UK Government announced that close contact services, including our sector are able to return to work if they are based in England.

We are therefore pleased to announce that Shiatsu Society Members can resume Shiatsu practice in England only for the present from the 13th July.  

Practitioners will be required to adhere to the Close Contact Service Guidelines issued by the Government and the Shiatsu Society Return to Work pack. This announcement does not apply to those based in a local lockdown area. 

Practitioners based in Wales have a provisional start date of the 27th July. We are awaiting guidance from the Scottish Government on a return date. 

We welcome this move forward for practitioners to provide this essential service. 

News Release - Integrated Healthcare Collaborative and Shiatsu Society UK
- June 26th 

Inconsistent government lockdown easing policies lack scientific basis and clarity says Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC)

The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC), of which the Shiatsu Society is a Core Member, has written to the Prime Minister to demand the government explains its scientific justification for preventing complementary healthcare workers from returning to practice.

The complementary, traditional and natural healthcare industry has been fully supportive of, and compliant with, the government’s measures to control the spread of Covid-19. As such, the majority of practitioners and therapists have been unable to provide consultations in person, although many have continued to support clients remotely where possible. 

However, in recent weeks, the government has allowed professions, such as physiotherapists and podiatrists, who practise in a setting and mode of practice akin to complementary, traditional and natural healthcare workers, to return to work. In addition, hairdressers and barbers, who also provide close contact services, have now been told by the government that they too can return to work, as long as they take precautions.

The IHC is concerned that there does not appear to be any logic, clarity, or scientific basis to the government’s decision-making in this area. Indeed, many complementary healthcare workers believe that this policy is unfair, inconsistent, and discriminatory. The result is that this valuable sector of the healthcare workforce, and clients who use their services, continue to suffer.

Healthcare professionals in this sector contribute to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of millions of people across the UK. They want to return to practice as soon as possible, but cannot, because of this continued confusion and non-science-based policy-making by the government.

The IHC has asked the Prime Minister to publish the government’s scientific advice and justification for continuing to prevent the return to practice of this sector of the healthcare workforce, and to provide clarity on when they will be able to do so.

The Shiatsu Society is working hard with its colleagues in the IHC to hold the government to account in this matter, and to take action so that our members can return to work quickly and safely.

Shiatsu Society Statement - June 24th

Following the Government announcement on the 23rd June 2020, we would like to confirm that the Shiatsu Society position has not changed. Our advice to members is to continue suspending face-to-face contact as social distancing is still required.

We continue to advise you to follow Government Guidelines and refer to the Government website.

If you are based in Scotland also check the NHS Inform Scotland and Public Health Scotland websites and for Wales see Public Health Wales.

Please be assured we are following government statements closely and will be keeping you abreast of changes as they happen.

Wishing you all patience and fortitude in these challenging times.

Shiatsu Society Board Directors


Shiatsu Society Statement - March 20th

Advice to Members to suspend face to face contact until further notice

Until now we have left decisions on continuing with clinical practice up to individual members but last night our partner organisation CNHC issued the following statement and we’ve decided that the Shiatsu Society should also take this position:

CNHC’s position is that you should suspend seeing your clients until further notice

We don’t yet know if this advice from your own professional organisation will assist you with insurance or benefit claims, any information that you can share with us would be gratefully received and disseminated

Here’s a link to current government guidelines:

Until now we have avoided a blanket suggestion to cease Shiatsu treatments because of the important role of our therapy in healthcare. There have been emails and facebook posts calling for a stronger stance from us and we do ask that you remember we are juggling our role as Directors with our personal and professional lives! We also respect your autonomy and your capacity to make individual decisions, but the landscape has changed again and we must act fairly and responsibly for the greater good

However we also recognise that this is a very serious challenge to self-employed practitioners with no alternative income stream and we’ll all be looking at ways in which we can creatively continue both to support our clients and to survive financially

We’ll be updating you regularly as the situation unfolds and meanwhile wishing you all the best of health and spirits!

Shiatsu Society Directors