Over the past few weeks, we have been discussing Shiatsu. Shiatsu is a form of Japanese massage that is based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and it is considered to be a form of acupressure massage. However, unlike other forms of acupressure massage, Shiatsu exclusively utilizes finger and palm massage techniques to treat patient’s pain and health conditions.
The US Department of Education classifies Shiatsu as an Asian Bodywork Therapy (ABT), rather than a form of Massage Therapy. For this reason, Shiatsu is usually only found at specialized schools, such as acupuncture colleges.
This makes Shiatsu a great specialization for massage therapists that are interested in alternative and holistic medicine. As such, professional massage therapists that specialize in Shiatsu often work in integrative medical settings, such as Acupuncture Clinics and Chiropractic Offices.
Shiatsu Inventor, Tokujiro Namikoshi meets BJ Palmer, Innovator of Chiropractic Medicine in Davenport, Iowa
Keep reading to learn about careers and training in Shiatsu.
Shiatsu Training and Education
What You’ll Study in Shiatsu Massage School
Shiatsu is typically taught as part of a state-approved Massage Therapy Curriculum. As such, you can except to learn a blend of Western Science and Oriental Medicine. A typical Shiatsu and Massage Therapy Program Curriculum will include:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Medical Diagnostics
- Osteology and Myology
- Western Massage Modalities: Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Therapy, and Medical Massage
- State Laws and Regulations
- Chinese Medical Theory
- The Five Fundamental Substances
- Point Location
- Shiatsu Techniques
- Combining Shiatsu with Western Massage
- Supervised Clinical Internship
Average Length of Study
The average state-approved Massage Therapy Program is roughly a minimum of 500 hours of combined classroom lectures and hands-on training.
Because Shiatsu and other Oriental Medicine-related classes are taught in addition to the state-requirements, you can expect to spend an extra 200-300 hours at a Shiatsu-specialized program.
That's an average total of 750 hours, which can be completed in 8.5-months. In all honesty, it’s not a long time compared to other careers, which require years of schooling and don’t have great career potential.
Additionally, most Shiatsu massage therapy schools are designed to accommodate working adults and usually offer part-time schedules.
Shiatsu and Massage School Tuition
Tuition at a Shiatsu training program is on par with tuition at a conventional massage therapy school. As such, you can expect to pay roughly $10,000 in tuition, plus any additional fees required at the school (supplies, insurance, etc.).
Luckily, some Shiatsu massage schools are nationally-accredited and offer financial aid to those who qualify, as well as flexible payment plans.
Massage Therapy Licensing and Shiatsu Certification
In the US, the practice of Shiatsu is limited to Licensed Massage Therapists (LMT). However, being an LMT is not enough; while many massage therapy school offer introductory-level courses in Shiatsu, you will also need to you will need to earn a professional certification in Shiatsu from a specialty school to demonstrate a high-level of understanding in holistic and Oriental Medicine concepts, as well as a competence in applying Shiatsu.
Learn more about becoming a massage therapist here.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS), Massage Therapy jobs are projected to grow by 26% between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than the national average. That’s an additional 42,100 jobs!
While the BLS does not track which massage modalities are being practiced, the growing popularity of alternative and holistic medicine suggests that Shiatsu specialists will be in demand.
Shiatsu Massage Therapy Salary
According to the BLS, national-mean annual wage for Massage Therapists is $45,880. While there is no-data that is specific to any modality, it is interesting to note that (on-average) Chiropractors pay more than other industries that hire Massage Therapists; the average median annual wage for massage therapists working at a Chiropractor’s office is $51,690!
Since Chiropractor's often hire massage therapists that are trained in alternative and holistic medicine, studying Shiatsu maybe a good idea!
Where Do Shiatsu Massage Therapists work?
Shiatsu is a great modality to study for someone that wants to work in Alternative Medicine or in an Integrative Medical setting. Here are some the places that employ Shiatsu-specialists.
- Chiropractors: It is also interesting to note that 7% of all massage therapists work at offices of Chiropractors!
- Naturopathic Doctors
- Pain Clinics
- Integrative Medicine Specialists
Is a Massage Therapy and Shiatsu Specialization Career Right for You?
If you’re considering becoming a massage therapist, and have an interest in Eastern Medicine, then Shiatsu maybe for you. You will receive the same knowledge and training as students in regular massage therapy curricula, in addition to your Shiatsu training.
Additionally, you’ll have the same job-satisfaction and earning potential as other Massage Therapists, but you’ll have the added benefit of working a variety of locations that specialize in holistic and alternative medicine, such as Naturopathic Doctors or Chiropractic Practices.
Shiatsu Certification and Massage Therapy School in Miami, FL
If Shiatsu sounds like something that’s for you, choose a training program that will help you meet your personal and professional needs.
Acupuncture and Massage College in Miami, FL offers a Certificate of Specialization in Shiatsu as part of its Massage Therapy program. You’ll be taught by the same Oriental Medicine professors that teach our graduate students, and our clinical practicum will have you job-ready by the time you graduate and earn your license.
Click here to learn more about our massage therapy program and Shiatsu specialization in Miami, Florida. Acupuncture and Massage College is located at 10506 North Kendall Drive, Miami, Florida, 33176. If you’re ever in the area, feel free to swing by for a visit.
If you’re still on the fence about becoming a massage therapist, download our free career guide below!