Unlike Swedish massage, which is mostly used for relaxation, Shiatsu is usually sought out by clients who seek relief from some kind of ailment.
Regional Admissions Director at Finger Lakes School of Massage (FLSM) in New York, Jessica English explains: “People looking for an alternative, non-invasive way to treat a variety of ailments that range from physical to mental or emotional, can all benefit greatly from Shiatsu. It is a modality that can treat a variety of things, including anger issues and grief.”
She adds that Shiatsu can also provide relief to people who may be nervous about more intense alternative therapies. “People who are interested in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), but are scared of needles and so don’t want to try acupuncture, benefit from Shiatsu.”
Joseph Rongo, Director of ASIS Massage Education, stresses the importance of the philosophy behind Shiatsu: “A primary precept of Zen Shiatsu is the importance of remaining in a Zen-like—a present state—when practicing. Be in the moment.”
“This present-minded work is anchored from working from the hara—the belly—which is the body’s energy center,” he adds.
Apart from staying “in the now” it is important to be aware of the many ailments that Shiatsu can relieve.
Cindy Getchnonis, an instructor at FLSM and a Trager Approach Practitioner® and Certified Aston Patterner® says that she especially likes it for clients with low back and hip issues.
Sondra Hartmann, BFA, LMT, who is an instructor at FLSM as well as a private practitioner, says that clients whose organ systems are congested or those experiencing immune stress, also benefit greatly from Shiatsu.
And let’s not forget that it also helps clients who rather not undress.
“Shiatsu is wonderful for people that are more comfortable receiving bodywork fully clothed,” says Hartmann.
Confirm the types of massage therapy you’re allowed to practice in your area as regulations vary from state to state. This information can usually be found on your state’s occupational licensing or health department website.