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Shiatsu Training, Schools, and Careers

hand being massaged by woman
hand on towel gets pressure point massage

Learn About Shiatsu Massage Careers and Education

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 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.

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 in employment through 2029, 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: $43,620

Bottom 10%: $22,580

Top 10%: $79,150

Projected job growth: 20.6%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alabama $36,300 $18,550 $52,970
Alaska $82,600 $22,140 $132,950
Arizona $43,240 $26,740 $66,690
Arkansas $47,200 $25,210 $63,410
California $34,400 $27,230 $80,940
Colorado $46,020 $25,170 $65,170
Connecticut $42,460 $24,340 $81,100
District of Columbia N/A N/A N/A
Florida $36,360 $19,770 $66,090
Georgia $23,490 $16,770 $69,490
Hawaii $55,700 $25,330 $89,120
Idaho $44,860 $23,520 $78,050
Illinois $49,940 $20,450 $76,900
Indiana $44,780 $27,060 $72,470
Iowa $36,120 $20,290 $68,740
Kansas $29,210 $17,770 $80,830
Kentucky $49,930 $18,710 $75,440
Louisiana $23,890 $17,000 $57,630
Maine $53,430 $27,910 $87,240
Maryland $41,440 $23,140 $83,190
Massachusetts $61,790 $41,880 $112,470
Michigan $49,840 $23,570 $75,540
Minnesota $54,400 $22,680 $83,810
Mississippi $34,870 $17,570 $50,860
Missouri $37,080 $20,050 $67,500
Montana $40,070 $19,230 $68,250
Nebraska $57,390 $31,290 $79,390
Nevada $28,260 $18,000 $85,180
New Hampshire $49,590 $32,070 $83,930
New Jersey $45,490 $23,420 $68,620
New Mexico $46,050 $24,320 $83,750
New York $52,560 $27,200 $89,200
North Carolina $41,220 $19,150 $67,460
North Dakota $45,790 $18,300 $65,590
Ohio $48,000 $20,150 $79,750
Oklahoma $38,030 $20,950 $52,940
Oregon $61,220 $26,010 $96,720
Pennsylvania $41,620 $21,460 $85,640
Rhode Island $28,110 $23,370 $55,690
South Carolina $36,170 $18,110 $60,240
South Dakota $30,550 $22,430 $48,450
Tennessee $42,560 $18,940 $83,240
Texas $41,820 $21,560 $63,430
Utah $44,250 $18,550 $73,450
Vermont $38,730 $24,650 $77,510
Virginia $43,690 $18,780 $63,630
Washington $65,140 $40,480 $86,640
West Virginia $39,660 $20,620 $75,740
Wisconsin $48,190 $19,300 $68,730
Wyoming $49,760 $28,510 $76,090

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2020 median salary; projected job growth through 2029. 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