While Shiatsu certification is serious business in Japan, most of the rest of the world allows the practice of Shiatsu without any additional licensing beyond normal massage requirements.
Shiatsu massage is more commonly known as a great form of a deep tissue massage. The massage works its way deeply into the tissue giving great relaxation benefits. Shiatsu is becoming more recognized as a mainstream massage technique. It is even included in many massage chairs that can be purchased for individual use. This massage involves working deeply and intently into problem areas for your client.
A shiatsu massage is given using only the fingers (usually thumbs) and palms. You challenge is to find areas of trouble for your client and correcting the imbalances that are causing the problem in the first place. This is a hide-and-seek approach. You are the seeker trying to find the troubles spots that are hiding beneath the skin. It is a trying thing to find these areas. Sometimes they will be hiding deep within the tissue and will be harder to find and work on. You will need to use the guidance of your client. Ask them where they are feeling discomfort and use this as a starting point. This will help you to find what you're looking for and as you acquire more and more experience, you'll have an easier time finding the areas that need work.
You use your hands to find areas of stiffness and misalignment of muscles beneath the skin. Once those areas have been located, you will then work with them using only your palms and finger (thumbs). This will work the problem areas until they have released and relaxed.
This will lead to better alignment of the back, which helps reduce pain and stress. This method of massage may also contribute to the healing of certain illnesses, but of course healing claims are frowned upon.
As of right now, no licensure or Shiatsu certification is required to practice Shiatsu massage in the United States beyond the normal massage licensing requirements. This is in stark contrast to Japan in which three years of schooling and training are required. There are organizations that are trying to make training and licensure necessary for the practice of Shiatsu massage in America too, but the movement toward Shiatsu certification is unlikely to succeed in the near term. In the event that new requirements are added, learning this skill now can help you avoid costly courses that you may have to take otherwise in the future if a grandfathering clause is included in the legislation.
Shiatsu name recognition continues to grow and has become the de facto way that many people request a deep tissue massage. It is a good technique to know to broaden your massage skills. Shiatsu is commonly taught at massage schools across the United States and Canada (as well as extensively in Japan).
Index of Massage Techniques
Swedish Massage - Deep Tissue Massage - Chair Massage - Ayurveda Massage - Hot Stone Massage - Craniosacral Therapy - Reflexology - Shiatsu - Sports Massage - Thai Massage - Rolfing Massage - Lomilomi Restorative Massage - Reiki Massage - Myofascial Release
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