- The first difference is the amount of clothing. Except for chair and head massage where the client is fully clothed, most therapeutic massages are performed on an individual who is either partially or completely undressed. For a shiatsu therapy session, you wear loose, comfortable clothing.
- The next is in use of lubricants. A massage therapist uses creams, lotions, or oils to facilitate strokes and protect the skin from friction; a shiatsu therapist does not. Clothing is the protector as compression and range of motion stretches are performed.
- Next is the area of focus. Massage therapy works primarily with the muscles; shiatsu focuses on the joints and fascia (connective tissue).
- Massage therapy is most often performed with the client lying on a massage table, a shiatsu session is done on the floor, with the client lying on a comfortable mat or other padded surface.
- The most common difference is in how you’ll feel afterwards. Most people report a very relaxed and almost sleepy feeling following a therapeutic massage. After a session of shiatsu therapy you’ll most likely feel full of energy and revitalized.
What Massage and Shiatsu Therapy Have in Common
Despite the differences in technique and other elements, both massage therapy and shiatsu therapy can be beneficial for your health.