Shiatsu is a Japanese word that translates to "finger pressure" in English. It's also an Asian bodywork therapy that was developed in Japan with influences from traditional Chinese medicine and some Western medical therapies. Getting shiatsu massage training is just one of the many ways you can focus a massage therapy career.
As you can imagine from the name, the Shiatsu practice involves using the fingers to manipulate the body. In addition to being deeply relaxing, Shiatsu can be used to treat medical ailments, reduce stress and improve well being.
Massage has long been a part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which was developed in the 6th century by Buddhist monks and is still practiced all over the world today. In the early 20th century, Tami Tempaku developed a practice that he called "shaitsu ryoho" that incorporated some TCM methodology with the following:
- Chiropractic care
Tempaku's method is now called simply "Shiatsu." In 1964, it was officially recognized by the Japanese government as a therapy separate from other types of massage, according to the Shiatsu Society.
What is Shiatsu massage?
Many different types of massage exist, including but not limited to: Swedish massage, hot stone therapy, tui na, Thai massage, sports massage and acupressure. Shiatsu massage training is one of the ways a massage therapist might choose to specialize or increase the offerings of their practice.
Shiatsu practitioners use touch, pressure and other techniques to manipulate the body and balance the patient's energy flow.
"Shiatsu is a physical therapy that supports and strengthens the body’s natural ability to heal and balance itself. It works on the whole person — not just with the physical body, but also with the psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects of being."
Like TCM, Shiatsu aims to treat a person's whole being, not just their physical ailments. In other words, the mind and spirit are equally as important to health as the body.
Over time, Shiatsu different practitioners have developed specific styles and philosophies of Shiatsu that may have different diagnostic approaches. Some of these Shiatsu styles include: zen, macrobiotic, healing, Namikoshi, movement and Hara. Some focus on acupoints — or acupressure points — and improving the body's flow of qi, or life force energy.
A qualified Shiatsu massage training program should provide a solid background on the history and styles of this powerful technique.
The benefits of Shiatsu massage
Shiatsu massage therapy aims to improve a person's energy, stamina and well being. It can be beneficial to treating a variety of health conditions: poor posture, joint problems, sprains, arthritis, sciatica, acute pain, sinusitis and more.
The practice invigorates the systems of the body: circulatory, lymphatic and hormonal. Like many therapies under the umbrella of TCM, Shiatsu also helps stimulate the body's own ability to naturally heal itself.
One reason Shiatsu and other forms of massage and TCM are appealing to patients is because they offer a natural, holistic option for dealing with health problems. They also improve a person's general well being, since the body, mind and spirit are considered to be equally important to achieving optimal health.
The Shiatsu practice uses a gentle touch, including rhythmic and gradual pressure, and assisted stretching techniques, to alleviate any blockages preventing the free flow of qi energy.
Getting certified in Shiatsu massage
Are you wondering how to get Shiatsu massage training? A great way to learn the practice of Shiatsu massage therapy is by obtaining a degree from an accredited program. Massage schools offer programs that teach you everything you need to know to become a licensed practitioner of massage therapy, including different popular massage techniques, which may include Shiatsu.
Just like four-year colleges and universities, massage schools have different focuses so make sure to do your research before applying to a program. Some may even include a special certification in a specific style of massage, like Shiatsu. A specialization can give your career a boost, so consider getting a Shiatsu certification or another specialty certification as part of your training program.
Get an edge in the marketplace by getting a certification in Shiatsu with your massage therapy degree. Contact the admissions department at the Acupuncture and Massage College for information on how to enroll in the next session of our massage therapy degree program, which includes Shiatsu certification. Call (305) 595-9500.