Rules & Regulations for The National Massage Championship 2019

Every effort is made to ensure that qualified judges are provided. Judges meet before the competition to ensure all judges have a comprehensive understanding of their responsibilities and the judging criteria.

Judging sheets can be made available to competitors upon request, all efforts will be made to get these to you in a timely manner.

The judging takes place in an open environment, judges will walk around and evaluate performance, professionalism, innovation, techniques, and ergonomics. 

Every effort is made to ensure judges are experts in their assigned category.  We strive to have a mix of experts from around the world. 

It is your responsibility to read all the rules and obtain clarification as needed.  

During the competition, if you receive a deduction due to a misinterpretation of a listed rule, it will stand as a deduction.

Judge’s decisions are final and all entries are judged on the same criteria.

Have all your questions clarified before the competition to ensure a more satisfying experience.


General Competition Rules & Code of Conduct:

  • No refunds of competition fees are given. Competition entrance fees are non-transferable.
  • Competitions are open to qualified and professional therapists of all skill levels.
  • The National Massage Championship reserves the right to refuse entry to any competitor.
  • Competitors and models must be at least 16 years old.
  • Competitors must specify the competition division they are entering at the time of registration.
  • Once a competitor has registered they cannot change divisions.
  • Competitors must enter the highest division they qualify for.
  • Due to the large attendance of participants, The National Massage Championship is not responsible for verifying that each competitor enters the correct division. This is done on the honour system.
  • If it’s found a competitor has registered in the wrong division, they will receive a 10-point deduction in their final score for each competition.
  • Each competition will have one overall winner.
  • A 1-40-point judging system will be used; – 1 being the lowest – 40 being flawless. Exceptions include when the point system is between 1-5, 1 being the lowest and 5 being flawless.
  • Competitors must use and arrange for their own model for the event.
  • If any competitor is entering more than one competition in one day, we advise bringing one model per category.
  •  Competitors who do not understand English must supply their own translator. The translator must be present during the competition briefing and stay just outside the competition floor in a designated area during the competition in the event they are needed for communication with the competitor. This must occur only by communicating via a floor judge.
  • Rubbish bins are provided to all competitors.
  • No eating allowed – only non-alcoholic drinks on the competition arena.
  • All products must be clearly labelled – hand-written labels are acceptable. Non-labelled products will be confiscated during the competition.
  • Competitor numbers will be allocated on the competition arena via a coloured sticker.
  • All photos/video taken by The National Massage Championship personnel or contractors is the sole property of the organiser, to be used in whatever fashion deemed appropriate by the organiser without compensation to the competitors.
  • Professional filming/photography of the National Massage Championship is not allowed, unless approved by organisers. Filming and picture taking of participants (and models) must be approved by the organisers, lead judge and participant/model.
  • After registration, you will be sent a confirmation email. If you do not receive this please check your email spam first, otherwise contact the organiser urgently as it means your registration has NOT been processed.


The Competition Floor:

  • Only competitors and their models may enter the competition arena. Any other person entering the arena must obtain permission from the organiser or floor judges.
  • Competitors will be allowed to set up their tools and products during the competition briefing. All kit boxes and bags (other than personal handbags that should be placed under the chairs) will be moved to the back wall of the arena. They will not be left at the bed.
  • Each competition will have a briefing, scheduled 20 minutes prior to the start of each event.
  • Competitors and models must be present for the briefing and remain at their tables until the conclusion of the competition.
  • Once the allotted time is up, competitors must immediately stop working (and stand with their model).
  • Any competitor found to still be working on their model after the close of the competition will be disqualified by a floor judge.
  • Massage therapists will be judged while performing treatment.


Finally to note…

  • Any competitor not abiding by these rules will take whatever point deduction is allowed in the rules. For those rules not specifying a point deduction, there will be one warning with no point deduction, there will be a 5-point deduction for a second warning and disqualification for the third infringement.
  • The Judges’ decisions are final. Judging score overall sheets are made available to competitors after the awards ceremony with score breakdown and judges feedback (if available) and will be emailed to you within 2x weeks after the competition. 
  • In the event of a draw the scores will be reviewed and a winner awarded by the judges.
  • Be kind to your model and make sure privacy is given when changing and model is covered at all times and make sure they take a bathroom break before the competition. Keep your model fed and well hydrated throughout the competition day.
  • The National Massage Championship organisers will provide all competitors with a massage bed and couch covers. Participants must provide their own tools and products including (towels or sheets: 1x large to cover table and 1-2x towels to cover model) blanket (optional), sanitiser, couch roll (optional) and your products to compete.
  • The National Massage Championship Organisers DO NOT provide models.
  • All competitors should arrive promptly at the stated registrations time according to the competition schedule. 
  • Competitors and models will have to check-in and collect their badges to be allowed onto the competition area.
  • Competitors will be given 20 minutes to prepare.
  • Competitors are not allowed to start massage before start announcement, but muscles can be warmed up. Judging will not start until Lead Judge gives start time. 
  • Competitors must wear appropriate professional uniform attire and hair should be tied back during the competition.
  • An announcement will be made at the end of the competition. In order to prepare for the next round of the competitions, can you please stop work, lay tools down, clean workspace and leave the competition arena as soon as possible.
  • Please be mindful of your fellow competitors if you are using any product that has a strong odour or invasive sound, you might be asked to remove it.
  • All competitors across all divisions MUST be insured and spot checks will be made.


Not all the criteria below is applicable to all categories. (for example chair massage- the model must wear clothes) The outlined criteria below are an aid to help you make a reasoned judgment in each category.

A maximum total of 100 points, broken into the following categories:

Setting the environment (maximum 5points)

  • Equipment: enough towels & draping, oils/balms, cushions
  • Arranging equipment in an ergonomic and accessible manner
  • Check participant set’s the correct table/chair height
  • Area around thetable/Chair is clear and safe
  • Model is prepared for the treatment: taken off unsafe jewellery, undressed leaving underwear on

Personal preparation (maximum 5points)

  • Hygiene: clean hands, clean and professional outfit, short nails,
  • Physically prepared: hair tied, jewellery that doesn’t obstruct your routine
  • Prepared: focused and ready to start
  • Professionalism should be maintained throughout the treatment
  • Outfit: T-shirts, Polo’s, tunics, etc that covers all torso and shoulders, easy to move trousers. The overall grooming must be clean and well presented

Using covering drapes, towels & cushions/bolsters for support (maximum 10 points)

  • Using bolsters/cushions under ankle (prone), under knees (supine), support top leg in side lying, face cushion (or similar) in prone
  • Using supports when needed (under neck, chest, abdomen/pelvis, shoulders, face cushion) to increase models comfort and improve massage techniques effectiveness
  • Placing of towels & drapes to provide warmth & cover for the model, adjusting towels to expose only the necessary body part being worked on
  • Moving towels & draping smoothly and confidently, using good towel technique
  • Maintaining modesty of the client when moving them, not exposing intimate body parts at any time

The massage treatment (maximum 40 points)

  • Therapist is able to palpate and locate the appropriate areas to work on
  • Choosing appropriate massage techniques to accommodate the model’s needs
  • Combining massage techniques in a smooth and flowing sequence
  • Establishing and maintaining contact in a smooth and measured way
  • Transitions are seamless and well integrated into the routine
  • Quality of touch demonstrates a sense of feel and the therapist responds to client specific soft tissue conditions
  • Appliesmassage techniques in a confident manner
  • Spending enough time on a particular body part before transitioning to another
  • Strokes are complete in their nature i.e. massaging the full length of the muscle
  • Techniques address the wholeness of the area
  • Applies massage techniques using an appropriate speed to enhance its effectiveness
  • Adapts the pressure to meet the models verbal and nonverbal feedback
  • Performance and delivery is professionally executed
  • Demonstrates a skilful and artistic routine
  • Demonstrates originality of massage techniques
  • Uses a wide variety of techniques, integrating and blending them smoothly one into the other
  • Routine blends creative and innovative elements
  • Clients remain in a safe position with joints protected
  • Therapist if focused and attentive during treatment
  • Massage is effective and appropriate

Therapist body mechanics during treatment (maximum 30points)

  • Uses their body in a way that enhances the effectiveness of the massage technique
  • Power is being generated from the lower body (leaving upper body relaxed)
  • Shoulders and hands are relaxed
  • Applies techniques to protect their digits
  • Candidate’s hands respond to the models body contour
  • Therapist adapts their posture to maintain their own safety and remain effective
  • Therapists breathing is relaxed during treatment
  • Hips are squared onto the movement
  • Shoulders and torso are in alignment to movement
  • Do not overuse or stress a body part such as thumbs or wrist joint, during the massage
  • The therapist does not perform any unsafe techniques to themselves or their client

Interaction with the model during the competition (maximum 10 points)

  • Communication is clear and easy to follow ie. placement of  bolsters, moving the client, preparing the client
  • The participant should ask for feedback from models at the appropriate time.
  • Able to recognise and respond to signs of verbal and nonverbal client feedback i.e. depth of pressure, comfort, speed,
  • Amount of communication is appropriate (not too much/little)
  • Professional attitude towards models at all times

If you have any questions please post in the comments below or email


  1. Anthony Harrison on 23/05/2018 at 5:18 pm

    Are Therapist from the United states allowed to compete in this competition?

    • Laura Bethell on 30/07/2018 at 1:38 pm

      Hi Anthony, I’m afraid this year we’re not catering to the international market, but hope to open it to international competitors in 2019. Watch this space…

    • Nikki Mckeown on 25/06/2019 at 1:32 pm

      Hiya, what is the length of time the massage lasts in each category please?

      I am also considering entering the Advanced massage category and also the Swedish/deep tissue category, which are both on same day and time I think. Is this possible to be judged for both of these? Many thanks

      • Laura Tarling on 01/07/2019 at 1:07 pm

        Hi Nikki – Thank you for your message. Each massage is 1 hour long except for Chair which lasts 40 minutes. You can compete in both categories – we will place you in round 1 of one competition and round 2 of the other to make it possible. Hope that helps! Best wishes, Laura

  2. Kate on 24/05/2018 at 9:18 pm

    Hi there, how many entries per catagory are you expecting/are limited to? Mamy thanks

    • Laura Bethell on 30/07/2018 at 1:37 pm

      Hi Kate – We are limited to 25 competitors per category. Best wishes, Laura

  3. Danielle Brockwell on 08/08/2018 at 9:28 am

    Hi, can you tell me if you can incorporate stretching in the spa/wellness category

    • Laura Bethell on 07/09/2018 at 10:31 am

      Hi – thank you for your message. Please email The National Massage Championship Organisers Kate or Carl for further information on this.

    • J Griffiths on 25/05/2019 at 8:11 pm

      Hi, can I just confirm that therapists are able to wear s wedding ring whilst competing? I understand no other jewellery but would struggle to take my wedding band off.

      • Laura Tarling on 17/06/2019 at 3:48 pm

        Hi – Please email our competition organiser Kate (Citylux) at to confirm this. Best wishes, Laura

  4. Jo on 09/08/2018 at 11:45 pm

    How long is the massage time?

  5. Rominas Rivera Schwienefot on 13/08/2018 at 12:19 am

    Hi Laura !How do I know if I am qualified to compete in Massage Championship ?Thank you so much!

  6. Angeliki Lekka on 26/08/2018 at 11:46 am

    Hi!Are therapists from Greece allowed inthe competition?

    • Laura Bethell on 07/09/2018 at 10:01 am

      I’m afraid this is strictly for UK residents this year – we will be opening the International Category for 2019 on the 1st October 2018. Make sure you register then to reserve your place!

  7. Danielle Brockwell on 29/08/2018 at 6:55 pm

    Can you tell me if stretching is allowed in the spa category x

  8. Nikita on 07/09/2018 at 6:13 am

    Hi Laura,

    I am competing in the national massage competition on Monday the 1st of October but I have a question. My insurance is part of the company I work under but doesn’t have individual names. Do I still bring a copy of this to the competition along side proof I work there?

    • Laura Bethell on 07/09/2018 at 9:57 am

      Yes please bring a hard copy with you to the competition registration desk. If you’re still unsure please email The National Massage Championship Organisers Kate or Carl

  9. Grace on 14/09/2018 at 1:01 am

    is there a facebook group link for the competitors that works. I was sent one but when I tried to register it still says pending after a few weeks.

  10. Amanda on 16/06/2019 at 10:54 pm

    Is this year open for international therapist? Or is is it still only for UK resident? I am from Netherland:-)

    • Laura Tarling on 17/06/2019 at 3:47 pm

      Hi Amanda, I’m afraid it is again only for UK residents this year. Best wishes, Laura

  11. Georgia Curry (Fingertips) on 21/06/2019 at 7:26 am

    When will we know day and time of our competition please? I need to arrange for two models. Thank you:)

    • Laura Tarling on 21/06/2019 at 11:54 am

      Hi Georgia, The dates of the competition categories won’t change from what’s on the website but the timings are all subject to changes and may move around a little between now and the competition. They are currently as follows:

      Sunday 29 September 2019
      9.30am – 10.30am: Registration for SPA/Wellness and Freestyle Categories
      10.20am – 10.30am: Opening speech by Head Judge Susan Findlay
      10.30am – 11.30am: SPA/Wellness and Freestyle Categories
      12.00noon – 1.00pm: SPA/Wellness and Freestyle Categories Round 2
      1.05pm – 2.00pm: Lunch Break
      2.30pm – 3.30pm: Chair and Eastern Massage Categories
      4.00pm – 5.00pm: Chair and Eastern Massage Categories Round 2

      Monday 30 September 2019
      10.00am – 11.00am: Registration for Advanced and Swedish/Deep Tissue Categories
      10.50am – 11.00am: Opening Speech by Head Judge Susan Findlay
      11.00am – 12.00noon: Advanced and Swedish Massage Categories
      12.30pm – 1.30pm: Advanced and Swedish Massage Categories Round 2
      1.35pm – 2.20pm: Lunch Break
      2.30pm – 3.00pm: Awards ceremony on the Olympia Stage

      Hope this helps! Best wishes, Laura

  12. Diane Applegate on 24/06/2019 at 4:07 pm

    Hi Laura would my partner be able to be my model?
    Thank you 🙂

  13. Georgia Curry on 24/06/2019 at 6:27 pm

    Thank you Laura – soooooo exciting! Best wishes, Georgia

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