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ITEC Level 3 Diploma in Massage

Course Overview

Professional, iTEC Accredited Massage Courses

Master Holistic / Swedish massage with a strong foundation in Anatomy and Physiology, meeting the industry's highest standards.


Train from a complete beginner into a professional massage therapist with an internationally recognised ITEC qualification, opening doors to diverse career opportunities:

  • Establish your own private practice as a self-employed therapist.
  • Thrive in salons, clinics, health clubs, spas, yachts, and hotels.
  • Contribute to healthcare settings like the NHS and hospices.

Strive for excellence as you learn to create a nurturing space for your clients, revitalising their well-being, and addressing their unique needs. Our comprehensive training covers full-body massage techniques, enabling you to design tailored routines and treatment plans, from initial consultation to post-treatment care.

Develop into a skilled and dynamic therapist with a deep understanding of the body and its systems. Whether you're embarking on a new career or seeking an additional income stream, successful completion of this course will certify you as a professional massage therapist, eligible for public practice insurance and professional association membership.

Moreover, as a qualified therapist, you can further expand your skill set through Continued Professional Development (CPD) short courses. Our offerings include 1 and 2-day courses like pregnancy massage, hot stone therapy and trigger point therapy, empowering you to create a unique and exciting business in this thriving industry.

  • Online Learning: Study Level 3 Anatomy & Physiology and Massage Theory through interactive e-learning with presentations, videos, materials, and quizzes. Classroom options available for A&P (which can be selected during booking).
  • Classroom Training: 5 days of hands-on classroom instruction to reinforce theory, acquire practical skills, and master consultation processes.
  • Personalised Support: Benefit from one-to-one video calls with your tutor upon request.
  • Community Access: Join 'Thursday Evenings' to practice, learn from peers, and connect with fellow therapists.
  • Small Class Sizes: Experience maximum support in small class groups (8-10 students max).
  • All-Inclusive: Your course cost covers ITEC Registration and final exam fees.
  • Career Resources: Access our private Facebook group with local job listings and equipment options.
  • Business Building: Attend free workshops to enhance your entrepreneurial skills.

For detailed information, please refer to the course syllabus tab.

Customise Your Anatomy & Physiology Learning Experience:

At the Cotswold Academy, we offer you the flexibility to choose how you'd like to study the Anatomy & Physiology (A&P) component of your course. By default, this unit is available for e-learning, but you have the option to switch to classroom learning and select your preferred attendance dates.

If you opt for e-learning, you'll gain instant access to our comprehensive online A&P curriculum. Designed to be self-paced, you can delve into the materials at your convenience. This means you can explore the A&P unit before, during, and after your classroom contact days. Our e-learning package includes a variety of resources, such as videos, interactive presentations, written materials, and quizzes. Additionally, you'll have access to Zoom catchup sessions every three weeks, offering valuable support specifically tailored to the A&P portion of your course.

Access to your Massage Course Learning Materials:

Furthermore, you'll have immediate access to your Massage online theory study. This section is thoughtfully designed to introduce you to crucial aspects, including history, benefits, and contraindications of Massage. We recommend that students spend approximately 2-4 weeks before their classroom dates to review this learning content.

For your 5 days of classroom attendance, you have two options to choose from:

  1. Fast Track: This option allows you to attend 5 consecutive classroom days, granting you the opportunity to start your coursework right after completing your classroom sessions.
  2. Saturdays: When selecting a course date option for Saturdays, you will attend 5 Saturday classroom days, usually every other week. You can begin your coursework towards the end of your classroom days.

Explore the 'Assessment Criteria' tab for a detailed breakdown of coursework and examination requirements. At the Cotswold Academy, we empower you to tailor your learning journey according to your needs and preferences.

Course Syllabus

Below is a detailed breakdown of the syllabus covered on the iTEC Level 3 Massage Diploma course. 

Unit iUCT24 - Provide Body Massage for Complementary Therapies

View the full ITEC syllabus here

Classes are taught in small groups with detailed practical demonstration and guided massage. Students work closely with the tutor learning not only the techniques but also how to protect themselves while carrying out body therapy.

On this course, you will learn:

  • Comprehensive Full-Body Massage Incorporating Various Techniques
    • Utilising an array of techniques including effleurage, petrissage, and percussive methods like hacking, cupping, beating, pounding, and tapotement, this full-body massage aims to promote relaxation and rejuvenation.

  • Treatment Environment and Workspace
    • Ambiance: Set the mood with soothing lighting and calming music.
    • Equipment: Employ a comfortable massage table adorned with fresh linens and utilize high-quality massage oils or lotions.
    • Hygiene: Prioritize cleanliness by maintaining sanitized equipment and proper disposal practices for used materials.

  • Therapist's Demeanor and Appearance
    • Attire: Present in neat, professional attire or a dedicated massage uniform.
    • Professionalism: Maintain a composed, respectful, and professional demeanor throughout the session.
    • Communication: Articulate massage techniques clearly while ensuring client comfort and understanding.

  • Client Care and Preparation
    • Preparation: Provide a private area for clients to prepare and ensure their modesty during undressing.
    • Comfort: Ensure clients are positioned comfortably on the massage table with appropriate draping.
    • Safety: Enquire about any allergies or specific preferences concerning massage oils or lotions.

  • Client Consultation, Contraindications, and Limitations
    • Consultation: Conduct a detailed discussion to grasp the client's health history, preferences, and any specific areas of concern.
    • Contraindications: Be vigilant regarding contraindications such as recent injuries, skin conditions, infectious diseases, or medical issues that might impede or restrict the massage.
    • Limitations: Adjust massage techniques or avoid certain areas based on the client's constraints or preferences.

  • Reflective Practice and Professional Development
    • Self-Assessment: Reflect on each session, analyzing strengths and areas for improvement.
    • Continuous Learning: Engage in ongoing education to refine techniques and stay updated on industry advancements.
    • Client Feedback: Value and encourage client feedback to enhance your practice and address any concerns effectively.

Unit iUCT38 - Knowledge of Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology for Complementary Therapies:

View the full syllabus for Unit iUCT38 here

Understand the anatomy, physiology and pathologies of each system:

  • Organisation of the body
  • Cells
  • Skeletal
  • Muscular
  • Cardiovascular
  • Respiratory
  • Digestive
  • Neurological/Nervous
  • Endocrine
  • Lymphatic
  • Reproductive
  • Urinary
  • Skin, Hair, Nails

Assignment 1: Unit 384 Principles and Practice of Complementary Therapies

View iUCT21 Assignment Guidelines Here

Identify and explain the origins and principles of 4 other complementary therapies.

Assignment 2: Unit iUCT34 Business Practice for Complementary Therapies

View iUCT34 Assignment Guidelines Here

Plan and prepare an appropriate business plan for a potential complementary therapy practice.

If you've completed similar assignments as part of a prior qualification, such as a Reflexology Diploma, within the last three years, you might qualify for RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning). Get in touch to discuss if this might be available to you.

Assessment Criteria

After completing your massage class days, you'll begin home-based studies and assignments.These must be submitted upon your return to the Academy for final exams.

Students are able to register for their final exams, having completed the required folder work which as an estimate takes an average of 3-4 months. To prepare adequately, it's suggested to allocate 5-10 hours per week for case studies, theory studies, and assignments.

Folder Work / Portfolio

  • 16 x Case studies (8 individuals, each receiving 2 treatments )
  • Plus 20 individual massage treatments
  • Writing 2 assignments (Business Plan & Complementary Therapies Exploration)


  • "Mock" Practical Exam (2 weeks before the actual exam, for practice and tutor feedback)
  • Practical Exam, externally invigilated by ITEC
  • Anatomy & Physiology Theory Paper: 50 multiple choice questions

Entry Requirements

No Previous Experience Needed - Suitable for complete beginners!

If you already hold a recognised Level 3 Anatomy & Physiology qualification or completed the same assignments in another qualification, you may be eligible for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) subject to specific criteria:

  • It must be a regulated qualification
  • Qualifications must be less than 3 years old
  • minimum of 80% of the syllabus must match

We'll initiate the official RPL process with ITEC after enrollment, involving a fee of £35+VAT. Contact us to begin or check your qualification's eligibility. Alternatively, you can self-study the A&P unit and just sit the exam with us.

Books for Study

Please find below our affiliated links for the books we recommend for your course:

An Introductory Guide to Anatomy and Physiology-5th Edition 


Anatomy & Physiology Book

An Introductory Guide to Business                            

This book is very useful in helping to write the business assignment, although we appreciate there are lots of resources online that students use, this breaks down the process really well.


Business Book

Why Train with Us

At the Academy, we are dedicated to providing the highest quality training in Complementary Therapies and Sports Massage, ensuring that each student attains the highest level of professional qualification. What sets us apart is our unwavering commitment to your success.

Here's why you should choose us:

1. ITEC Accredited Course: Ensuring highest quality training.

2. Guaranteed Small Group Tuition: We believe in personalised support, so our class sizes are kept small, with a maximum of 10 students per tutor. This ensures that you receive individual attention and guidance throughout your training.

3. Passionate, Experienced Tutors: Our experienced tutors are not just educators; they are industry experts committed to upholding the highest standards. You'll learn from the best in the field.

4. Free Thursday Evening Support: Your learning journey doesn't end when you're qualified. We offer free Thursday in person evening support, available both during your training and after you've earned your certification. We're here to assist you every step of the way.

5. A Positive, Inclusive Learning Environment: Our academy provides a fun and friendly atmosphere where you can immerse yourself in your studies and connect with like-minded individuals who share your passion for complementary therapies.

6. Exclusive student TOTUM Card Eligibility: All our courses qualify you to apply for a TOTUM card, granting you access to discounts and savings at various retailers, making your educational journey even more cost-effective.

7. Ongoing Industry Support: We are committed to your success as a qualified therapist. Beyond your training, we offer free talks on setting up your own practice, provide access to exclusive Facebook groups with job opportunities, and maintain regular contact with your dedicated tutor. We're here to support your journey into the industry.

When you choose the Academy, you're not just choosing a training college; you're choosing a pathway to a successful and fulfilling career in Complementary Therapies. Join us today and embark on a journey of knowledge, growth, and achievement.

About Your Tutor(s)

Annette Stoker

Holistic Tutor

I have been involved with the Complementary Therapies Industry since 2004 and have been teaching since 2008. I have a teaching degree in post compulsory education (Cert Ed) and am ITEC qualified in all the subjects I teach. Having worked in prestigious spas and run my own practice, I am confident that as a passionate and committed member of the team I can inspire, enthuse and provide you with the skills and knowledge to become a highly sought after therapist in your chosen field.

Yvonne Lockhart

Holistic Tutor

After completing diplomas in Massage Therapy, Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Indian Head Massage in 1999, I spent 5 years in a managerial role working on board Carnival Cruise Lines and then as a spa trainer at a 5 star hotel in the Cotswolds. I now run my own successful practise dedicated to using only organic products and treatments and since taking up teaching in 2007, it has become my passion to give therapists the proper tools to excel in the field of holistic therapy.


Cotswold Academy has a wonderful family feel, everyone is polite and very helpful. I loved every part of my course. Annette is a lovely tutor, happy and helpful and a brilliant teacher.

Hannah C | ITEC Level 3 Diploma in Massage | July 2021

The course has been great! I have really enjoyed my days attending the course, which has been very well put together and designed. The lessons flow smoothly and are really enjoyable. I didn’t attend the theory mornings and actually felt as though I’d missed out as everyone was always so chirpy at lunchtime when I turned up!

The venue is absolutely lovely and very well equipped. We always had everything we needed and it was easy to ‘feel at home’ and comfortable in the environment. You have really created a special place there and I’ll certainly come back for CPD if all goes well in December!

I’ve saved the best to last - Yvonne! Yvonne is an amazing teacher. She is kind, lovely and professional throughout. She has the wonderful ability to provide feedback, both positive and negative in a sensitive and friendly manner which makes it very easy to learn! She is clearly very passionate about the subject which combined with her evident experience and in-depth knowledge of Massage theory (practice and theory) she is a joy to learn from. Yvonne really has made the whole experience truly fantastic and I would highly recommend the Cotswold Academy and Yvonne as a tutor to anyone! 

Thank you so much for providing this course and keep doing what you do! 

— Andreia (Andi) Ferreira - Massage Diploma | September 2018

Just wanted to say a massive thank you again for the two weeks on my course. I absolutely loved every minute and despite being convinced not a word of the science had stuck in my head except scaphoid and levitar, I sound like I know what I’m talking about ha!

— Naomi Spicer - Massage Diploma | July 2018

Many thanks for all your help, advice and support today and throughout the course. I have loved learning and feel very lucky to have found a craft that gives me as much pleasure as the client.

I will see you again, just want to keep on learning, and the academy is such a wonderful environment with caring, happy, kind and lovely people.

Thank you again and all the very best.

— Stephanie Davis - Massage Diploma | February 2018

Thank you Annette for all the brilliant teaching and support over the last few months! Was it only November when we started?!

Really happy to have passed today - couldn’t have done it without you lovely lot making me laugh, answering my (constant) questions and generally being so totally organised!!

Phew, now to start massaging and learning lots more...

Really glad to have done the course, achieved a pass and really really glad that I studied at the Cotswold Academy.

— Helen Grimwade - Massage Diploma | February 2018

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Frequently asked questions

To become a certified massage therapist in the UK, you typically need to complete a recognised massage therapy course, gain practical experience, and pass relevant examinations. You'll also need to take out therapist insurance. Joining a register with a professional association is optional for recognition. We recommend choosing a government regulated qualification (Ofqual) as this ensures the syllabus covered meets the requirements. Examples of regulated examining bodies include ITEC, VTCT, BTEC or Focus Awards.

Prerequisites can vary depending on the school or program you choose. In many cases, there are no specific educational prerequisites. At the Cotswold Academy, you do not need to hold any previous qualifications to join our ITEC Level 3 Diploma courses as they are designed to train a complete beginner up to a professional qualified therapist.

The duration of a massage therapy course in the UK can vary. Short introductory courses may last a few days however may not qualify you to be a professional therapist, while more comprehensive programs can range from several months to a year. At the Cotswold Academy, the ITEC Level 3 Diploma in Massage takes an average of 3-5 months for students to become qualified.


Yes, there are online massage courses available, however these courses don't usually meet the criteria of a regulated qualification (Ofqual). We strongly recommend that students choose a course with in person training as this is an essential part of delivering the practical elements of the course effectively. We appreciate though that some theory elements can be learnt via online learning which is why we've created a blended learning approach on our ITEC Level 3 Diploma in Massage. This allows you to learn the theory content at your own pace from the comfort of your home and attend in person training days to apply this theory to the practical application of massage, essential to become a proficient and well trained therapist. The online study includes video lessons, reading materials, and assignments to ensure a comprehensive learning experience.

Choosing the right massage college or course is crucial for your education and future career as a massage therapist. Here are some key factors to consider when making your decision:

  1. Accreditation: Look for courses that are accredited by reputable organisations that are RQF government regulated (Ofqual). RQF Accreditation ensures that the program meets certain quality standards within the UK. Examples include ITEC, VTCT, BTEC.

  2. Curriculum: Review the curriculum to ensure it covers essential topics, including anatomy and physiology, reflexology techniques, client assessment, and business ethics. A comprehensive curriculum will provide you with a well-rounded education.

  3. Instructors: Research the qualifications and experience of the instructors. Experienced and knowledgeable instructors can significantly impact the quality of your education.

  4. Hands-On Training: Practical experience is essential in massage. Ensure that the program includes ample hands-on training, allowing you to practice and refine your skills on real clients.

  5. Certification: Determine if the program offers certification upon completion. Certification can enhance your credibility and employability as a massage therapist.

  6. Class Size: Smaller class sizes often provide more personalized attention and opportunities for interaction with instructors and peers. Consider the student-to-instructor ratio when evaluating programs.

  7. Location: Consider the location of the school or course. Is it conveniently located, or will you need to travel a significant distance? Online courses may offer flexibility, but in-person training may be preferred for hands-on practice.

  8. Cost: Compare the tuition fees of different programs. The cheapest quite often means it may be lacking, but the most expensive doesn't necessarily equal quality!

  9. Student Reviews and Testimonials: Read reviews and testimonials from current and former students. Their experiences can provide valuable insights into the program's strengths and weaknesses.

  10. Continuing Education Opportunities: Check if the school offers opportunities for continuing education or advanced training. Reflexology is a dynamic field, and ongoing learning is essential to stay updated.

  11. Licensing and Regulation: Research the licensing and regulation requirements for massage therapists in your area. Ensure that the program you choose aligns with these requirements.

  12. Visit the School: If possible, visit the school or attend an open day to get a feel for the college, facilities, and the overall learning environment.

  13. Ask Questions: Don't hesitate to contact the college or course provider with any questions or concerns you may have. Their responsiveness and willingness to address your inquiries can be indicative of their commitment to student success.

By carefully considering these factors, you can make an informed decision when choosing a massage course that aligns with your educational and career goals.

We pride ourselves at the Academy of offering high quality, RQF regulated qualifications that allow our students to excell in their chosen therapy with small class numbers for maximum support.

In the UK, there is no national licensing system for massage therapists. Instead, the regulation and accreditation of massage therapy practitioners are typically overseen by professional organisations and councils. To practice as a qualified and accredited massage therapist, individuals are encouraged to consider the following steps:

  1. Education/Training: To begin a career in massage therapy, individuals would enroll into an accredited massage therapy course. Completing a massage therapy course involves practical training and theoretical learning. The duration and content of the training can vary based on the specific type of massage therapy you choose to practice.

  2. Accreditation: After completing your training, you should be issued with a certificate accredited by the examining body. Its important to choose a course that is accredited by a reputable body such as ITEC, VTCT, BTEC or Focus Awards.

  3. Insurance: It's a legal requirement to obtain professional liability insurance to protect yourself and your clients during your practice. Many professional associations offer insurance options for their members.

  4. Registration/Associations: It is not mandatory to join an association however if you intend to work in the NHS it is encouraged to join the CNHC. CNHC registration is recognized by the UK government, offering an additional layer of credibility and recognition for complementary healthcare practitioners. Other associations you can join include the FHT and CThA. The reason you may wish to join an association is to gain access to discounts on insurance, monthly magazines/publications and discounts on relevant other products.

  5. Local Regulations: It's essential to check with your local council or authority as some local authorities may have specific requirements or regulations related to massage therapy practice. Regulations can vary depending on your location within the UK. Head to Gov.uk for information.

  6. Continuing Professional Development (CPD): If you do join an association, many professional organisations require their members to engage in ongoing training and CPD to maintain their accreditation and stay current with industry standards.