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Where do I Learn Shiatsu Massage?

You can learn Shiatsu massage from accredited institutions offering specialized courses. These schools provide comprehensive training, blending theory with hands-on practice. Online platforms also offer courses for convenience. But, how do you choose the right course that suits your learning style and budget?
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

There are several ways to learn shiatsu massage, depending on the level of facility one wishes to achieve as a practitioner of shiatsu. Full professional programs can take as long as three years, while weekend courses can offer a quick orientation in the basics of shiatsu massage, along with a few simple skills. As with any massage style, people should plan on receiving several shiatsu massages before they start to study this style, to determine whether or not it is an approach to massage which works for them.

Shiatsu is a style of massage which originated in Japan in the 1800s. It is derived from older massage traditions rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine. During a shiatsu session, the practitioner uses targeted pressure with the fingers, palms, and sometimes elbows to stimulate specific pressure points on the body for the purpose of releasing pain and intense emotions, and contributing to general physical health. In Japan, shiatsu is a recognized and highly respected form of medical therapy; the Japanese government both encourages citizens to receive shiatsu, and licenses and certifies practitioners. People who learn shiatsu massage can be trained by professionals who are steeped in healing traditions which are hundreds of years old.

Shiatsu massage originated in Japan.
Shiatsu massage originated in Japan.

A traditional professional program in shiatsu lasts three years, and only a handful of massage schools around the world offer this level of training to people who want to learn shiatsu massage. The instructors are usually from Japan or from schools certified in the Japanese tradition, and they cover a wide range of topics including anatomy, pressure points, and ethics in massage. Schools in Japan offer some of the best instruction, although students will be expected to know Japanese. After completing a professional program, students can apply for licensure from the Japanese government if they have studied in Japan, or a professional certification from a massage organization in other countries.

Shiatsu massage can take up to three years to learn, which may be longer than western massage techniques.
Shiatsu massage can take up to three years to learn, which may be longer than western massage techniques.

It is also possible to learn shiatsu massage in an apprenticeship with an experienced practitioner. Many practitioners in Japan offer this service, and they may provide instruction in English or other languages to Westerners. It is also possible to find this type of learning environment outside of Japan, although students should take care to select a fully trained and licensed teacher. A reputable shiatsu practitioner will happily provide information about where he or she trained and for how long.

Many massage schools offer a shiatsu program in which students can learn shiatsu massage in a weekend intensive or longer course.
Many massage schools offer a shiatsu program in which students can learn shiatsu massage in a weekend intensive or longer course.

Finally, many massage schools offer a shiatsu program in which students can learn shiatsu massage in a weekend intensive or longer course. These types of programs are aimed at people who have already trained as massage therapists, and wish to expand their repertoire with shiatsu. They do not offer professional-level certification to people who wish to work as shiatsu practitioners, although many massage therapists who graduate from such programs do advertise “shiatsu massage” as part of their offerings.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a PracticalAdultInsights researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a PracticalAdultInsights researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

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    • Shiatsu massage originated in Japan.
      By: Etienne Ruggeri
      Shiatsu massage originated in Japan.
    • Shiatsu massage can take up to three years to learn, which may be longer than western massage techniques.
      By: Micky75
      Shiatsu massage can take up to three years to learn, which may be longer than western massage techniques.
    • Many massage schools offer a shiatsu program in which students can learn shiatsu massage in a weekend intensive or longer course.
      By: robiuankenobi
      Many massage schools offer a shiatsu program in which students can learn shiatsu massage in a weekend intensive or longer course.
    • Some shiatsu massage schools are aimed at those who are already licensed massage therapists.
      By: Tandem
      Some shiatsu massage schools are aimed at those who are already licensed massage therapists.
    • Shiatsu massage is used to relieve pain and promote relaxation in the receiver.
      By: Sandor Kacso
      Shiatsu massage is used to relieve pain and promote relaxation in the receiver.
    • During a shiatsu session, the practitioner may use elbows to stimulate pressure points on the body.
      By: nebari
      During a shiatsu session, the practitioner may use elbows to stimulate pressure points on the body.