Shiatsu Massage

What is a Shiatsu massage?

Shiatsu means “finger pressure” in Japanese. During this type of massage, Shiatsu therapists use firm pressure and muscle manipulation techniques using not only fingers, but also elbows, knees, and feet. This pressure is placed along specific points of your body, called meridians, to release tension.

What should I expect during a shiatsu massage?

A Shiatsu session typically lasts about an hour. You will usually wear loose-fitting clothing, and lie on a padded mat or sit on a special couch depending on the area you need work on. Shiatsu is a whole-body treatment accomplished with mostly finger or palm pressure, but also with knees, elbows, and feet when needed for extra-tense muscles.

What are the different styles of Shiatsu massage?

Shiatsu is based on the same principles as acupuncture and acupressure (namely, meridian lines), but different therapists and styles take different approaches. For example, some therapists focus on acupressure points while others concentrate on influencing the energy flow.

The four most common types of shiatsu are Zen, Five Elements, Ohashiatsu, and Ashiatsu:

  1. Zen shiatsu techniques involve pressure from the hands, knees, fists, elbows, and palms and focuses mostly on acupressure points, which is more therapeutic than relaxing. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a deeper and more active massage rather than something luxurious and relaxing.

  2. Five Elements Shiatsu incorporates concepts from Traditional Chinese Medicine to diagnose imbalances in different parts of the body. While still incorporating many traditional shiatsu techniques, Five Elements Shiatsu has more of an energy-balancing approach.

  3. Ohashiatsu has a similar focus on energy work, and even incorporates meditation. Both Five Elements and Ohashiatsu methods feel less like a traditional massage – but many people still enjoy its relaxing and grounding effects.

  4. In Ashiatsu, therapists use their feet to apply strong pressure and deep muscle relaxation. Often you will lie on your stomach while your therapist (who holds on to overhead poles for balance) walks on your back.

What are the benefits of shiatsu massage?

After a Shiatsu session – which tends to be deeper and more active than other types of massage – you will likely feel loose and invigorated. Shiatsu massage is intended to increase circulation, detoxify your body, reduce blood pressure, and relieve pain from tense muscles. Shiatsu massage therapists usually recommend resting (and drinking water) for an hour after your session to give your body time to detoxify and recuperate.

Types of Massage

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Medical Massage

Doctor's orders. A medical massage is used for chronic pain relief or injury recovery, and is often prescribed by a physician. Read More >

Myofascial Release Massage

Relax your fascia. This massage stretches and elongates deep muscle tissue, increasing range of motion and circulation. Read More >

Prenatal Massage

Moms-to-be: a prenatal massage is custom-tailored to fit the needs of expecting mothers. Read More >


Reflexology is an ancient Chinese healing technique, using foot massage to relieve a variety of ailments. Read More >

Sports Massage

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Swedish Massage

Looking for the massage with the music in the background and the nice-smelling oils? This ultra-relaxing massage is for you. Read More >

Thai Massage

Described as a mix between yoga and massage, therapists use many parts of their body to stretch and relax the body. Read More >

Therapeutic Massage

Borrowing from many other massage types, a therapeutic massage is good for reducing minor discomfort and pain. Read More >

Trigger Point Massage

A more targeted approach of massage, focusing directly on releasing tight knots and alleviating pain caused by them. Read More >

Acupressure Massage

Sometimes referred to as acupuncture without needles, acupressure is an ancient remedy of Chinese traditional medicine. Read More >

Ayurvedic Massage

Ayurvedic massage is an ancient Indian remedy used to break down and remove toxins from the body. Read More >

Chair Massage

Ever see someone getting a massage in the middle of the mall, airport, or even at work? You're likely seeing a chair massage. Read More >

Combination Massage

A Combination Massage uses various techniques across acupressure, reflexology, Swedish, etc to relieve tension and stress. Read More >

Couples Massage

Two people + Two massage therapists = A perfect way to relax with a friend or partner. Read More >

Deep Tissue Massage

Painful knots in your back? A deep tissue massage will break them down, give you relief. Read More >

Foot Massage

Been on your feet all week? A foot massage helps alleviate sore soles and arches. Read More >

Hot Stone Massage

Some like it hot. Hot stones, that is. This massages uses heated stones to warm up your muscles and relax you. Read More >

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