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Mandate of the association
 
The S.T.A.O. was established in 1983 as a non-profit professional organization.
The primary objective of the S.T.A.O. is to protect the public by prescribing high educational standards and standards of practice. The S.T.A.O. demands a high standard of ethical conduct for its members, encourages professional development and maintains comprehensive complaints and disciplinary protocols. The association also serves to educate the public and health care professionals about the therapeutic benefits of shiatsu therapy and the standard of training available to shiatsu therapists.
 
Canada is fortunate enough to have the most extensive shiatsu training available outside Japan. Only those who have undertaken 2200 hours of training (3-year academic equivalent) are eligible for membership in the S.T.A.O. The association maintains an annual registry of Certified Shiatsu Therapists to help consumers locate a qualified therapist in Canada and internationally.
 
Another objective of the S.T.A.O. is to pursue government regulation of shiatsu therapy in Ontario in order to serve the interests of the public. The S.T.A.O. aims to raise the profile of shiatsu therapy as a distinct therapy with high standards of practice and as an effective rehabilitative and preventative health care discipline.