Our equine and canine accredited practitioner massage level 4 Diploma courses focus on deep tissue mobilisation techniques; releasing tension in the muscles and other soft tissues and enhancing movement of the joints.  The techniques can be used to aid sports performance, support rehabilitation, and improve general wellbeing.  Massage is also a wonderful way to achieve relaxation and and reduce the risk of injury.

Horses: Often riders will have to deal with various behavioural issues, such as leaning on one rein, incorrect canter lead, stiffness turning one way, bucking, refusing to jump or general reluctance to work. Where disease and lameness have been ruled out as the cause, there is commonly muscle spasm and tightness leading to restricted movement and lack of performance or the symptoms listed above. Massage can release this tightness, enabling your horse to move freely again and the symptoms will resolve.

Find a practitioner registered with the Association of Merishia Therapists.

Dogs: Dogs have different behavioural patterns but these are no less important. Frequently, dogs will lie down on the same side every time, or sit to one side, they may consistently get up when told to “sit stay” or “down stay”, they may run with their hindend carried to one side or appear stiff and uncomfortable either after exercise or after rest. Once again, where disease and lameness have been ruled out as the cause, muscle spasm and soreness lead to restricted movement and these “behaviours” which do not resolve.

Find a practitioner registered with the Association of Merishia Therapists.

Level 4 Accredited Diploma in Merishia Massage 

Learning to massage enables you to assess where there is tension and discomfort, and then work on releasing those areas with simple but extremely effective techniques – you can see the muscles release before your eyes and the animal’s responses will leave you in no doubt as to how much better they feel.

The Merishia Massage equine and canine courses were produced by Nikki Routledge (EBW / animal McTimoney practitioner / lecturer) in 2002, incorporating Swedish and Sports Massage techniques.

In 2010, Jo Rose (animal musculoskeletal therapist) joined Merishia Massage as a tutor, and in 2014 took over the running of the course completely.  She developed the course further to incorporate a number of gentle, yet very effective combinations of the techniques, influenced through biomechanics and other soft tissue approaches.  The courses became level 4 accredited Diplomas with NCFE in 2016.  (Please click for more information on what this means).

Why study Merishia Massage?

The Merishia techniques taught not only include deep tissue massage procedures; we also teach a number of effective detailed mobilisation techniques, enhanced stretches, gentle release techniques, plus unique quick fire release techniques for very restricted tissue.

We are an approved further education training centre with the fourth largest national awarding body in further education (Ofqual regulated); NCFE.  Our level 4 Diploma Canine and Equine Merishia Massage courses are accredited with NCFE.

Our teaching venues are near Thame in Oxfordshire, with animal Musculoskeletal therapist; Jo Rose, near Bath, Somerset with Animal Physiotherapist; Liz Tyrrell-Asprey, Ashford, Kent with McTimoney Animal Practitioner; Beatrice Boyle, and Lincoln, with animal Musculoskeletal therapist; Michelle Brown.

We only take small groups, providing a friendly yet professional approach which enables learners to gain the most from practical learning tasks, supported with comprehensive online resources, including videos, diagrams, quizzes and handout material.  Tutors are available to provide additional help when needed, so although the practical days amount to 4 in total, you are provided with support to guide you throughout the training.

This 6 unit course combines theory and practical sessions covering assessment, massage, stretching and mobilisation techniques that will improve an animal’s suppleness and capabilities, aid in rehabilitation from injury, and help to maintain or improve performance and wellbeing in life generally.

Course Units:

Unit 1: Anatomy and Physiology, Performance and Health.
This distance learning unit is posted to the student on enrolment.

Unit 2:  Practical Tutorial in Functional Anatomy  

Unit 3:  Practical Tutorial in Swedish Massage routine, including animal assessment and client care. 

Unit 4:  Practical Tutorial in Gait and Joint Assessment, Further Massage Techniques and Joint Mobilisations.

Mentor session:  A half day one to one session with a mentor to help you  to develop confidence and enhance your integrative approach.

Unit 5:  Practical Tutorial in Additional Holistic and Deep Tissue Techniques.  

Integration and Assessment:  (Practical tutorial)  Re-capping the techniques and assessment via in class tests, and practical massage session.

Unit 6:  Setting up a Business and Marketing (online section).

The course takes approximately a year to complete.  Please be aware that you should be able to set aside up to 7 hours per week per course in order to fully practice the techniques, and complete the homework requirements.

Each unit includes homework and revision tests, which can be accessed via the student online resource section.  Both informal and formal assessments will take place during the practical tutorial days.

Those who have completed the practical days and homework competently will receive a practitioner certificate from NCFE and Rose Holistic Therapies and Training, enabling them to practice as a Merishia Massage therapist.  Student and practitioner insurance can be gained through Balens Ltd.

Please click here for more information on the unit contents…

"While I was in Germany last week, I applied Merishia Massage to some race horses at the yard where my friend keeps her horse. The owner was so impressed that he offered me a job!"

Karoline Qualmann

"It was an excellent course. Really well run and presented."

Lisa Janes

"Two weeks after receiving my practitioner certificate, I did three paid massages today. All went fantastically and all owners were very pleased. One of them has re-booked me for 2 more of her horses!"

Amy Taylor

I went to the vets on Saturday for an appointment for my own dog, the receptionist asked me for contact details because the vets there want to refer dogs owners to me based on the results from one of the dogs I have been massaging as a case study. I am so excited to get up and running as a practitioner now that I have qualified...

T Newman

Over the years I have done many courses throughout my professional life. Lots of foundation qualifications and masses of CPD that as a nurse you have to do to re register every year to practice. Never have I done a course where you get so much support, constructive criticism and guidance.
You know yourself that when you do a degree, it is a do it yourself course.
So this is one of the best courses I have ever done. Thank you. Caroline Lack

'Thank you for such an enjoyable and thorough course, it far exceeded my expectations. I really appreciated all the help you gave us and it is obvious how much you really care about the welfare of the horses.
I am looking forward to more courses with you !'

Kate England

Teaching Venues:  Near Thame in Oxfordshire with Jo Rose, near Chesham, Bucks with Helen Creasy, near Bath, Somerset with Liz Tyrrell Asprey, near Ashford, Kent with Beatrice Boyle, South Yorkshire with Michelle Brown.  Please see the cohort dates below, and contact us if you are interested.

Working in Conjunction with Vets:  We are a stakeholder of the Sports Therapy and Massage Practitioner’s group.  STAMP is one of the three major animal therapy groups who are meeting with Royal Veterinary College representatives to ensure that standards are acceptable and integrative in conjunction with veterinary care, and that we are working in line with the Veterinary Act and the Exemptions Order (2015).

Course fees:

Enrolment fee: £200 for one species or £300 for both courses. This covers units 1 and 6, tutor support, certification and resources.  This must be paid prior to the course.  There is also a recommended option to join the Association of Merishia Therapists for an additional £12.


Fee per practical tutorial day (there are 4 in total per course), and includes tutor support for each unit:  £160 .  (The payments will be spread through the course, after an initial deposit payment is taken).

The one to one mentor half day fee is £140 per species, which is paid directly to the mentor.  The date will be chosen to suit you and your mentor between practical tutorials of units 4 and 5.

Covid Contingency: Should any restrictions over the cooler months prevent us from holding onsite tutorials, we will supply the training for that tutorial via Zoom.  We don’t expect any issue during the warmer months, as have had no problems delivering the onsite training since post lockdown.

Dates:   There is one intake per centre per year.  Unit 1 home study short answer question must be completed at least 2 weeks before unit 2.  We recommend that you start unit 1 at least 10 weeks before the unit 2 practical tutorial.

The set dates for the level 4 NCFE qualification for all areas as below.

2020/ 21 Somerset:  (Oakhill, near Bath).  Canine days are on Wednesdays and equine on Thursdays.  Please note:  this cohort has already started.  Please scroll down for 2021 start dates for other venues and Somerset.

Unit 1:  Home study section

Unit 2 (1 practical day per species):  18th November (canine).  19th November (equine).

Unit 3 (1 practical day per species):  31st March (canine).  1st April (equine)

Unit 4 (1 practical day per species):  9th June (canine).  10th June (equine).

Unit 5 (1 practical day per species):  21st July (canine).  22nd July (equine).

Unit 6:  Home study

Oxfordshire (near junction 6 M40).  Canine days are on Thursdays and equine on Fridays.  2021 dates…. 

Unit 1:  Home study section

Unit 2 (1 practical day per species):  18th March (canine).  19th March (equine).

Unit 3 (1 practical day per species):  13th May (canine).  14th May (equine).

Unit 4 (1 practical day per species):  19th August (canine).  20th August (equine).

Unit 5 (1 practical day per species):  14th October (canine).  15 October (equine).

Unit 6:  Home study

Buckinghamshire (Amersham).  Equine days are on Mondays and canine on Tuesdays.  2021 dates…. 

Unit 1:  Home study section

Unit 2 (1 practical day per species):  10th May (equine).  18th May (canine).

Unit 3 (1 practical day per species):  5th July  (equine).  6th July (canine).

Unit 4 (1 practical day per species):  4th October (equine).  5th October (canine).

Unit 5 (1 practical day per species):  13th December (equine).  14th December (canine).

Unit 6:  Home study

Kent: (near Ashford).  Canine days are on Wednesdays and equine on Thursdays.  2021 dates…

Unit 1:  Home study section

Unit 2 (1 practical day per species):  5th May (canine).  6th May (equine).

Unit 3 (1 practical day per species):  14th July (canine).  15th July (equine).

Unit 4 (1 practical day per species):  22nd September (canine).  23rd Sept (equine).

Unit 5 (1 practical day per species):  15th Dec (canine).  16th Dec (equine)

Unit 6:  Home study

Near York, Yorkshire (YO19 6EU).  We will resume our Yorkshire courses in 2022

2021/ 22 Somerset:  (Oakhill, near Bath).  Canine days are on Wednesdays and equine on Thursdays.  

Unit 1:  Home study section

Unit 2 (1 practical day per species):  15th September (canine).  16th September (equine).

Unit 3 (1 practical day per species):  17th November (canine).  18th November (equine)

Unit 4 (1 practical day per species):  26th January (canine).  127th January(equine).

Unit 5 (1 practical day per species):  30th March (canine).  31st March (equine).

Unit 6:  Home study

Further Continued Professional Development:
We run a variety of equine and canine courses, including Equine Stretching and Mobilisation, Equine Myofascial Release, Equine TTouch, Holistic Saddle Fitting, Canine Reflexology, Canine Rehabilitation and Strengthening, Equine and Canine TTouch. Please contact for more details, or visit the diary page for upcoming courses.