Whether you're contemplating entering a massage therapy program or wish to enhance your massage credentials, Shiatsu massage training might be of interest to you. Shiatsu is one of the many modalities of massage therapy. It incorporates traditional Chinese massage (called anma, anmo or tui na) with:
- Chiropractic methods
Part of what makes it unique is the integration of Western therapies that help bolster the medical healing aspect of traditional massage. Among the many benefits of shiatsu massage, It stimulates circulation and the lymphatic system, and helps boost the immune system.
How Shiatsu works in healing
Shiatsu massage practitioners use finger pressure — the literal translation of the Japanese word Shiatsu — and other forms of manipulation to target acupressure points on the bodies pathways of energy (called meridians). Which points are targeted for treatment will depend on the Shiatsu practitioner's diagnosis. Part of a session may include assisted stretching techniques.
Like many forms of holistic medicine, the goal of Shiatsu is to improve the body's ability to heal itself by balancing any disharmonies with the flow of the qi, or life force energy. The qi flows along the meridians.
While Shiatsu works to address many physical ailments and conditions, such as chronic pain, it is also an overall relaxing and restorative experience for those who undergo it. Even if general wellness is a patient's goal, Shiatsu can help.
Shiatsu massage training programs
So how does one become an expert in Shiatsu? Like any specific discipline in massage, it will require specialized training. If you're new to the field of massage therapy, you'll likely want to identify a general massage training program that fits your needs in terms of cost, length of program, enrollment periods, class times and budget. But just like other traditional institutions of higher learning, massage therapy programs can have a specialized philosophy and focus.
If Shiatsu specialization sounds like a good fit for your career goals, find a program that offers some training in the specific discipline. You'll likely have classroom education that covers the different disciplines that feed into Shiatsu. Again, that would include a significant focus on the scientific disciplines of anatomy and physiology, which involve the study of the parts of body and the ways that different body systems work together.
Physiotherapy is a movement therapy that shares philosophical elements with Shiatsu massage and holistic health in general. According to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy:
"Physiotherapists help people affected by injury, illness or disability through movement and exercise, manual therapy, education and advice. ... Physiotherapy is a science-based profession and takes a ‘whole person’ approach to health and wellbeing, which includes the patient’s general lifestyle."
Finally, chiropractic care focuses on treating neuromusculoskeletal issues, including those of the spine and joints. These approaches are all tied into Shiatsu practice. As many chiropractic offices offer massage therapy, knowing a discipline that's tied into the practice can help open job options to boot.
Some topics that may be covered in Shiatsu massage training classes:
- Treatment of the back and upper extremity using Shiatsu
- Point location
- Palpation technique
- Yoga exercises for the shoulder and waist
- Qi Kung exercises
- Relevent channels, or meridians
- The concepts of yin/yang and five-element theory
- How to conduct a patient interview
- Recording notes
The importance of hands-on experience
In addition to classroom education on the history and philosophy of Shiatsu, it's important to gain experience with patients. Any comprehensive massage or certification Shiatsu massage training program will provide opportunities to work with patients in a clinical setting with expert supervision.
Having official Shiatsu certification and experience can add an attractive dimension to your massage therapy practice. You can explicitly advertise Shiatsu as a service and educate your patients on the benefits of this particular therapy.
Acupuncture and Massage College offers a massage program with a specialization in Shiatsu and hands-on experience. Armed with knowledge of a broad range of therapy types, including Swedish massage, and a specialization in Shiatsu, AMC graduates have an edge in the job marketplace. Shiatu massage courses are also offered as a 150-hour certification.
Call (305) 595-9500 to request information about how to enroll.