Article | Category: Glossary Terms

Means "finger" (shi) "pressure" (atsu), a cross between acupuncture and massage developed in Japan by Tokujiro Namikoshi in the 1940s. Like acupressure, Shiatsu works with vital points and energy meridians and uses finger-thumb-palm pressure.

Unlike acupressure, Shiatsu also manipulates other parts of the body in the course of treatment. Intended to stimulate the body's inner powers of balance and healing.




Definition of Offering

Shiatsu in Japanese means “finger pressure”.  Shiatsu is an alternative health technique that uses hand, finger, and palm pressure along energy meridians in the body to help relieve tension and promote healing.  Shiatsu has a strong reputation for reducing stress and relieving nausea and vomiting.


Description of Offering

Technique in which therapists use thumbs, fingers and palms to stimulate the body’s energy system, applying pressure along meridians to balance yin and yang. Shiatsu is a deeply relaxing full body experience.


This offering is a modern creation (originated after 1800).


Brief History of the Offering

Shiatsu is an offshoot of anma that developed during the period after the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Traditional massage (anma) used during the age of shoguns was being criticized and practitioners of koho anma (ancient way) introduced new practices and new names for their therapies.  During the twentieth century, shiatsu distinguished itself from anma through the merging of Western knowledge of anatomy, acupressure, Do-In (breathing practices), and Buddhism. Based on the work of Tamai Tempaku, shiatsu established itself in Japan and worldwide. The Shiatsu Therapists Association was founded in 1925 and clinics and schools followed. Students of Tempaku began teaching their own brand of shiatsu, creating branch disciplines. By 1955, the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare acknowledged shiatsu as a beneficial treatment and licensing was established for practitioners. 


Fun Fact

There are at least 600 acupoints on the human body that Shiatsu can address.




Primary Benefit Received

Energy Alignment


Other Benefits

Stress Reduction, Pain Reduction


Research Publication

Effects of Shiatsu in the Management of Fibromyalgia Symptoms: A Controlled Pilot Study

Susan L.K. Yuan, Ana A. Bersaneti and Amelia P. Marques

Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics (2015), 436-43


Primary Findings of Research

After treatment, the Shiatsu Group presented statistically significant differences for the change scores of all variables, except state anxiety, compared with the control group. 




Typical Length of Offering

45 - 60 minutes


The offering is most often provided one guest at a time.


Offering is primarily suited for:

Day Spa (wellness focus), Day Spa (beauty focus), Resort/Hotel/Cruise Ship Spa, Destination Spa, Medical Clinic/Spa, Hospital/Rehabilitation Center.


How many treatment providers are needed to produce the offering?



Common License/Certification or Training necessary to provide the offering:

Massage Therapist (with supplemental training), Acupuncturist/Oriental Medicine Doctor


Information about the most often used offering protocol

Acupuncturist/Oriental Medicine Doctor

Maurizio Alvarez, Ryan Front

DocSide Document (2015)


Type of space/facility most often used for the offering:

Private Dry Treatment Room


Type of space/facility that can be use for the offering:

One on One Consultation Area, Oriental Medical Doctor’s Office


How many towels are used?



Does the guest generally use a robe and/or a wrap for the offering?



How many sheets are used?



Does the offering require the use of products (i.e. lotions, lacquers, scrubs, cleansers, etc.)?



Does the offering require the use of disposable supplies (i.e. cotton squares, balls and swabs, lancets, etc.)?



Equipment and supplies needed to provide the offering:

Raised Massage-style Table, Floor Mat, Technician Chair, Blanket(s).


Beyond labor, linens, disposable supplies and products, please list any other direct costs associated with the offering?




Including only the following items (products, disposable items, linen laundry, and other direct costs---not labor), what is the typical cost of the offering?

$0 USD


Typical single session price of the offering.

$85 - $155 USD


Comments about offering price.

Based on a 50 minute service.




Publication used to prepare this submission.

Shiatsu Research Institute

Susa L.K., Ana A.B.

Effects of Shiatsu in the Managerment of Fibromyalgia Symptoms (2013)


Shiatsu Society

Alice Whieldon, Chair (2017)


The Complete Book of Shiatsu Therapy: Health and Vitality at Your Fingertips

Toru Namikoshi



Author Information

Shane Bird

Director of Spa Operations, Turning Stone Resort


Author Biography

Shane Bird has been in the spa industry for 18 years.  He has worked in many facets of the spa industry.  He worked for Canyon Ranch for 10 years and has sat on various ISPA task forces. Recently he has been a director for Starwood and Turning Stone.  Shane lives in Fayetteville, New York with his wife and three kids.


Editor Information:

Mary Wisnom

Professor, School of Resort & Hospitality Management, Florida Gulf Coast University, USA