Academy Dress Code

Academy Dress Code

One of the key characteristics of successful people is their manner of dress. In the Health Care Industry, the public, industry professionals, government agencies and overseeing regulatory bodies, all have established an image of dress for therapists, working in their specific health discipline.

Abilities and a sense of responsibility are communicated in attitude, appearance, grooming and personal hygiene.
Choosing and wearing appropriate attire means dressing tastefully and correctly, in order to meet the standards of your discipline. In essence, dress for the expectation of others as a professional in the healthcare industry, not only for yourself.

“The way a massage therapist is dressed promotes an atmosphere of professionalism and inspires confidence…CMTO Guidelines”

The intent of the policy is for it to be viewed as a positive action to help prepare the student to develop
a day-to-day appearance, suitable for the industry. It is not to inhibit personal freedom and expression but rather to acknowledge and reflect the high degree of professionalism that massage therapists bring to their role, as regulated health care providers in Ontario. This is in keeping with being a “professional” in the healthcare industry, as well as to reduce cuts, scratches & personal injury.

The International Academy of Massage dress code is designed to be flexible, provide for personal choice and to meet both Industry and Academy standards.

  • Professional dress is required at all times
  • During all classes, on-site study or practice, the colours of  white, sand, green (with black, tan or white pants) must be adhered to at all times, whenever  on the premises
  • Academy dress is to be visible and not covered by other garments.

A colour’s vibration can alter a state of mind and emotion
Green represents a Yin or quiet colour and is about the “balance of the body and brain.” In Chinese medicine it is a wood element and is representative of growth and development.
Cream is a colour which combines the elements of Metal and Earth. It creates the frequencies for stimulating mental clarity, thoughtfulness, peace, calmness and the standard of truth.
White is a colour actually formed by mixing all of the colours of the rainbow together. It represents ‘enlightened consciousness’, ‘purity of mind and body’ and is symbolic of ‘health care’.

The International Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine dress code is designed to be flexible, provide for personal choice, and to meet both Industry and Academy standards. If you are a registered student in the IATCM, the following dress code is in effect whenever you are on the premises.

  • Professional dress is required at all times
  • During evening and weekend classes, on-site study or practice, the colours of  white, cream, beige or dark green must be adhered to at all times, whenever  on the premises
  • During daytime classes, Monday to Friday, academy wear with a logo must be worn and it is encouraged that crested tops be worn during all evening classes.
  • White academy lab coats or Academy aprons must be worn for all observation and clinical labs and public clinics.

General to all Academies

  • Once received “Tops” worn are to be crested academy wear. Pending receipt of the crested tops, then plain colours with no brand names, slogans, symbols or colour mixed patterns are to be worn– once received, crested tops must be worn during all classes.
  • Academy wear may not be physically altered and must be worn as designed
  • For outreach/off-site or in-house clinic days, the Academy requires the wearing of official Academy dress, being either the logo cotton shirts or sports shirt, along with either green, white, cream or beige/black skirt/slacks. Once a student has been provided with clinic attire, the top must be worn for all on-site clinics and it may be worn at the student’s option for Academy sponsored off-site activities.
    • Prior to receiving the clinic attire, an Academy crested top is required
  • Clinic attire must be worn for Oral Practical examinations
  • A student card or name plate/badge, must also be visible at any supervised on-site or off-site event.
  • Bermuda shorts are permitted and no style is to be more than 4” above the mid-kneecap
  • All Denim clothing, tank/halter tops, mini-skirts, caps or hats, head scarves, other head coverings (other than for religious purposes) or bare midriff/bare shoulders attire are not permitted during class attendance or public/clinic days 
  • It is also a requirement that all body/facial/head/ear piercing jewelry must be removed from all visible areas prior to the commencement of a class day. This will help prevent personal injury.
  • Arm Tattoos are to be covered at all times. Long sleeve T-s are available from the Academy as part of the available student wear.
    • This practice is not to suppress one’s individuality or act of personal choice but to prepare the student for the practicalities of working in a healthcare environment, wherein, exposed arm tattoos are generally discouraged or not permitted.
    • The Academy hopes that students will think about their tattoo in the context of healthcare. In that context a tattoo may look unprofessional & inappropriate in any office setting or health practitioner setting.  Could one imagine going to a Dentist or Doctor covered in tattoos with a full arm sleeve, etc.? .  Students should also pause to consider how their clients (many of whom will be increasingly elderly) may react.
    • The Academy does not wish to disaffect any client of a public wellness clinic, as it is the client’s right to refuse treatment from any student, if they are uncomfortable with the student for any reason. Such an occurrence would be disruptive to the student’s training and limit their involvement in clinical activities.
    • Future employers may also react by not hiring the therapist, regardless of ability, simply because they do not want exposed tattoos in their clinical environment and to potentially disaffect their clientele. The generally accepted practice for Personal Support Workers is that they must cover exposed tattoos in all working environments. Not to do so, would place them at risk of not being invited back to the client’s home or to the retirement home.
  • Jewelry will not be worn at any practice session, off-site or clinic. This applies to ‘team leaders’ for clinics.
    • In the case of pierced ears, for safety reasons, ear retainers are not permitted. In special circumstances, the Department Head may permit an ear retainer to be worn if its removal would lead to ear damage.
  • Hosiery/socks and proper foot attire are to be worn on all occasions. “Closed toe and closed-in heel” is highly recommended
  • It is also a requirement for a student to bring a personal watch for clinics; however, this watch will not be worn
  • The Academy’s dress code is to be in effect whenever a student is at the Academy – 7 days a week…additional academy wear can be purchased from administration. Academy crested wear must be visible and not covered with other garments while in class or clinical environments.

From time to time, the professionalism and the students’ dress is assessed by industry visitors and the Academy is reviewed accordingly. If only ‘one’ student is not in compliance this affects the expected dress standard and image.

The Academy works hard to maintain the high level of recognition for its standards earned over the years. It is important that all parties – students, faculty and administration work together, to uphold and respect the standard, as it is a reflection upon everyone and something for all students to take pride in.

If any infraction of the above dress policy should take place, the student may be asked to leave the class by the faculty member or administration and may return once he/she is in compliance with the dress code.

In a continuing situation, the student will be given written notice to leave the premises and return when they are in proper attire. Missed hours will be required to be made up in accordance with the Academy’s policy. Demerit points will be assessed in a public clinic or off-site environment.

If a student repeatedly chooses to ignore dress guidelines, his/her decision will be reported to the Education Committee for disciplinary action which may include a period of suspension from classes and clinics.


Best Guidance

  • Plan your dress one day in advance and use the full combination of Academy colours in your wardrobe.