Shiatsu by David
Shiatsu and Massage Therapist
Shiatsu Therapy

Description and Overview

Shiatsu is Japanese for ‘finger pressure'. It is an increasingly popular and powerful complementary therapy, utilizing the same theories as acupuncture from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), using gentle stretches, assisted body movements, body rocking, and pressure application from light to deep. Shiatsu balances energy in the organs, opens energy (meridian) lines, and treats local, point specific issues, while using our body’s own energies to strengthen and improve health and well being.

During our everyday lives, we all develop imbalances in our natural equilibrium due to the after effects of illness, trauma, injury or constitutional or environmental factors. One can see these symptoms presenting as aches and pains, sleeping disorders, lack of energy, headaches, or an assortment of other maladies and issues. Like acupuncture, Shiatsu works on Chi (Ki in Japanese), the basic energy of every movement and function of the body. Instead of using needles, however, practitioners use pressure applied primarily with the fingers, palms, arms, knees, and legs, to remove blockages and allow efficient Chi flow, thus restoring balance and homeostasis to the systems of the body.

Shiatsu works by treating the whole body system in order to influence the prevailing disharmony that caused the unwanted symptom. As such, it is truly holistic, treating cause and symptom at the same time. This means that Shiatsu is effective in a very wide range of problems and conditions. One would use Shiatsu therapy versus Swedish massage when dealing with clients that are in need of alleviating issues caused by energy obstructions or point specific issues throughout the body, thus leading to a return to homeostasis.

Though several styles have been developed, the effectiveness of Shiatsu depends more upon the attitude, proficiency and attunement of the practitioner than upon a particular style. Shiatsu is now a popular natural therapy and bodywork throughout the world, including Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand as well as in the United States.



Shiatsu and Swedish massage are different yet have similarities. Both Shiatsu and Swedish massage are great ways for relieving stress and pain from the body, promoting health and happiness, removing metabolic wastes, improving blood circulation and returning the body to homeostasis.

Table of comparisons / differences between Shiatsu and Swedish massage:


Deep Tissue and Swedish Massage

Works with the meridians and acupressure points (tsubos) of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to address imbalances in any aspect of the organs, body, or mind

Works primarily with the muscles and connective tissue to improve circulation and decrease tension

Uses mostly deep rhythmic pressure, rocking, and stretching

Uses mostly effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, rubbing and kneading

Performed with the client fully clothed

Usually performed on bare skin with oils or lotions, and requires the client to partially or fully disrobe

Usually performed on a mat on the floor

Performed on a table, or is sometimes adapted to a special "massage chair"

Primarily based on principles of TCM, which is explicitly holistic, integrating treatment of the body and the mind/spirit. (Asian Bodywork Therapists are also well trained in conventional Western anatomy and physiology)

Primarily based on current conventional Western views of wellness and healing. (Swedish Massage Therapists are trained in Western anatomy and physiology)

Mostly leaves the recipient feeling relaxed but energized, and relieves point specific issues throughout the body

Mostly leaves the recipient relaxed and without stress, relieving muscular pain, trigger points, and cramps, when receiving deep tissue massage


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