Based on traditional Chinese medicine, Shiatsu massage helps restore balance to the body's natural energy flow. Shiatsu training teaches practitioners how to use finger and palm pressure to stimulate acupuncture energetic pathways or meridians on the body. In turn, patients experience relaxation, increased blood flow, decreased stress and improved overall wellness.
Shiatsu sessions typically begin with an evaluation of the patient's condition based on an interview and observation. During Shiatsu massage therapy, the practitioner will apply finger, thumb or palm pressure in a continuous rhythmic sequence to specific areas of the patient's body to relieve particular pain or health conditions.
Patients usually lie fully clothed on a low table or even on the floor, which allows therapists to use their own body to brace a patient during certain stretches. Depending on the patient's progress, the therapist might employ different techniques that are part of Shiatsu training, including tapping, squeezing, rubbing, and, of course, applied pressure.
Learn more about massage therapy careers.
Training and Education
What You'll Study in Shiatsu Massage School
Traditional massage therapy schools and specialized Shiatsu massage schools offer Shiatsu training career programs as well as continuing education courses. In general, you can expect your Shiatsu massage therapy course work to cover these topics:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Chinese medicine
- Meridian pathways and pressure points
- Shiatsu massage techniques
- Contraindications and diseases
- Three main types of Shiatsu systems: Namikoshi, Anma and Zen
- Shiatsu massage therapy ethics and business practices
- Supervised clinical practicum
Average Length of Study
Depending on the program, career-oriented Shiatsu training involves from 300 to over 700 hours of combined classroom work and hands-on practice, which usually takes two to three years to complete. Many Shiatsu massage schools offer evening and weekend training classes or intensives to provide greater flexibility for working students and students with families.
Tuition for career Shiatsu training programs can range from $6,000 to over $12,000. Continuing education courses can cost just a few hundred dollars. Most Shiatsu massage schools offer financial aid to qualified applicants, as well as payment plans to help spread the cost over several months.
Shiatsu Massage Therapy Certification
Although no special certification requirements exist for Shiatsu massage therapists, practitioners must hold a current massage therapy license in order to practice.
Learn more about massage therapy certification.
Massage-oriented professions like Shiatsu can anticipate a 23 percent increase in employment through 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook. The increasing popularity of alternative medicine and touch therapies as paths to overall health and wellness are among the many factors that will contribute to the strong job growth rate for massage professions in the coming decade.
Shiatsu Massage Therapy Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for massage therapists is $35,970. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.
Is a Medical Massage Therapy Career Right for You?
A Shiatsu career requires advanced training in anatomy, physiology, Chinese medicine, energetic pathways and Shiatsu massage techniques. Intuition, a long-term commitment to continuing education and an understanding of basic business concepts will help you build a successful Shiatsu massage therapy practice.
If you are interested in Shiatsu training, take a closer look at Shiatsu massage schools. Then choose the Shiatsu training program that meets your personal and professional needs.
Sources: International School of Shiatsu, eHow.com, Oregon School of Massage