Home / Blog / Shiatsu Training, Schools, and Careers

Shiatsu Training, Schools, and Careers

Learn About Shiatsu Massage Careers and Education

hand being massaged by woman

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.

Career Overview

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 the various massage therapy specialties.

Training and Education

Traditional massage therapy schools and specialized Shiatsu massage schools offer Shiatsu training career programs as well as continuing education courses.

What You’ll Study in Shiatsu Massage School

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.

Average Tuition

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.

Career Outlook

Massage-oriented professions like Shiatsu can anticipate a much faster than average increase (massage therapist job growth rests at 18.3%) in employment through 2032, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

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 BLS, Shiatsu falls under massage therapy salaries. Your salary may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. Search salaries by state here:

Massage Therapists

National data

Median Salary: $49,860

Projected job growth: 18.3%

10th Percentile: $29,040

25th Percentile: $39,080

75th Percentile: $67,300

90th Percentile: $90,530

Projected job growth: 18.3%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alabama $25,670 $18,780 $56,460
Alaska $127,470 $41,710 $151,400
Arizona $49,920 $29,920 $93,010
Arkansas $38,440 $25,480 $51,800
California $58,920 $30,830 $100,830
Colorado $51,010 $28,640 $72,520
Connecticut $66,140 $33,650 $122,620
Delaware N/A N/A N/A
District of Columbia $50,500 $40,150 $76,340
Florida $46,720 $29,000 $74,130
Georgia $46,720 $19,310 $71,890
Hawaii $61,520 $23,120 $104,050
Idaho $57,220 $31,810 $75,730
Illinois $60,880 $34,370 $95,840
Indiana $49,930 $33,770 $80,470
Iowa $47,450 $31,980 $63,510
Kansas $47,090 $22,280 $68,560
Kentucky $47,110 $23,500 $81,110
Louisiana $35,580 $18,780 $70,300
Maine $44,930 $27,550 $95,250
Maryland $57,860 $35,980 $101,330
Massachusetts $49,740 $35,840 $92,870
Michigan $58,240 $31,410 $87,240
Minnesota $48,600 $43,540 $74,870
Mississippi $45,330 $30,850 $108,440
Missouri $28,730 $23,190 $68,990
Montana $52,260 $22,430 $95,970
Nebraska $55,990 $25,910 $83,000
Nevada $36,010 $18,520 $63,470
New Hampshire $62,400 $40,960 $75,690
New Jersey $48,250 $29,960 $71,190
New Mexico $41,510 $26,080 $67,600
New York $49,350 $34,250 $97,690
North Carolina $55,170 $32,470 $108,330
North Dakota $49,330 $29,500 $80,110
Ohio $47,140 $29,640 $74,060
Oklahoma $47,350 $26,240 $54,080
Oregon $77,080 $34,430 $93,600
Pennsylvania $58,940 $29,170 $95,800
South Carolina $44,500 $17,560 $65,060
South Dakota $41,500 $29,650 $69,540
Tennessee $49,010 $20,450 $65,450
Texas $48,100 $24,290 $76,280
Utah $51,100 $24,420 $83,550
Vermont $80,360 $27,590 $103,760
Virginia $52,870 $25,060 $83,010
Washington $76,290 $39,160 $99,960
West Virginia $48,550 $25,690 $76,130
Wisconsin $47,180 $19,110 $78,990
Wyoming $49,650 $31,150 $53,900

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2022 median salary; projected job growth through 2032. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

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, Oregon School of Massage