Announcement regarding COVID-19 & R.S.T. practice recommendations from the STA

March 18th, 2020

Dear R.S.T.’s,

A few R.S.T.’s have inquired about advice as to whether they should continue to practice in light of the situation around COVID-19. Of course, our Association does not have the legal authority to mandate practice closures or direct you to cease practice but we will provide the following recommendations.
We have been following the public health principles and guidance provided by BC’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry to inform our advice to you and thus, how you interact with the public.

To date, we have trusted that you and clinic owners would do their own risk assessment and determine what is best for individuals, patients and staff.

Now, in light of numerous developments of March 16 and 17, the Board of Directors of the Shiatsu Therapy Association recommends that registered shiatsu therapists who are able to do so suspend practice for a two-week period, effective immediately, and re-evaluate the situation at the end of that period.

While there is no question that Shiatsu Therapy is a highly beneficial health care modality, it is not a primary or essential health care service. This is an important consideration at this time, when resources are being repurposed and prepared for delivery of extended emergency services.

Whether the benefits of Shiatsu Therapy treatment outweigh the current risks of providing that treatment is still a matter for the judgment for you, the individual R.S.T., informed by the overriding imperative to act in the best interests of your clients or patients at all times. At the current time, our view as the is that in most cases the risks of providing or receiving treatment (for both the patient and for the therapist) will likely outweigh the benefits.

We, as the Board of Directors, recognizes that decisions being made with respect to COVID-19 come with consequences: personal, financial and ethical.

Our recommendation to suspend practice is not made lightly, and we have looked to other organizations, such as the RMT’s, Physiotherapist’s, Chiropractor’s, and the provincial health authority to follow their recommended action steps in this area.

We do recognize that it may create serious financial hardship for some. Our understanding is that financial relief measures are being explored by the Federal and Provincial governments that may be of assistance.

We share the following link, released yesterday, to inform you of developments in this area:

Some have also inquired about whether we may apply for Employment Insurance as R.S.T.’s. Of course, if we have been making contributions to it we may easily apply. If we have not, then the government is reportedly drawing a plan together to facilitate this option.

When we confirm the link for this potential support we shall forward it in a subsequent email.

If you have any specific questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at We will respond to communications from R.S.T.’s as best we can, though we appreciate your patience as the volume of those communications may increase. Finally, we will provide updates for you on the situation as it develops.


The STA Board of Directors.


For further information on COVID-19 resources we provide the following links.

From the BC Centre for Disease Control

HealthLink BC: