What is Shiatsu?

Asian culture has long been devoted to the art of massage. Bodywork has especially flourished in Japan. Japanese massage includes two prominent styles. Shiatsu and Anma or Amma. Shiatsu means “to press” with the finger(s). Anma derives from the Chinese word an-mo which means “to rub,” and in both China and Japan it is the equivalent of the English word massage. Its deeper meaning, however, is “to calm with the hands,” or “to make peaceful by touching.” We translate it as “tranquility through touch.”

Shaitsu, then, is both a general style of bodywork and a specific massage technique. As a style of bodywork it utilizes many techniques, including Anma, and is designed to rejuvenate the body and relax the mind. Shiatsu, in conjunction with traditional diagnoses, may complement or substitute for acupuncture treatment. In this sense it is often referred to as acu-pressure.

The form or kata is like a musical score or piece of choreography. The form means both the sequence of technique and the proper way of doing it. Done correctly the kata generates a flow of qi within the bodies of both the recipient and the practitioner. Because of the emphasis on form, this style of shiatsu is called Kata Shiatsu. It is massage practiced as an art form. Shiatsu is learned and practiced much like a martial art, a ballet or piece of music.

Advantages of Shiatsu
Shiatsu offers several significant advantages:

  • No oils, lotions or lubricants are used.
  • There is no need to remove clothing; clients feel safe; modesty and sexual issues rarely occur
  • Shiatsu is versatile. It can be practiced anywhere: on a mat or futon, a massage table, or while seated.
  • Learning shiatsu broadens a practitioner’s repertoire and enhances his/her marketability; collaboration with practitioners of Chinese medicine is possible.
  • Shiatsu is relaxing and enjoyable to give as well as receive.
  • The effects of shiatsu are many faceted. Clients appreciate its depth without being painful, as well as their profound sense of relaxation while also feeling alert, refreshed and invigorated.

Shiatsu & Chinese Medicine
Chinese medical philosophy is the root of holistic medical thinking. It addresses health and disease in the fullest sense, seeking to harmonize the body, mind and spirit internally, and to achieve a balance between the individual and his/her environment. Chinese medicine recognizes massage as an important component of a healthy lifestyle, as well as a profound healing modality. Because “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” the health maintenance and disease prevention aspects of shiatsu can be significant. In this Shiatsu Program students will learn several shiatsu sequences, a significant amount of Oriental medical theory, and personal care practices such as Dao-Yin (Do-In).

About The Program
State licensure is a prerequisite for the Shiatsu Certificate Program, however individual classes may be taken without enrollment. This program is intended to attract students who are serious about wanting to learn and use this work, students who are willing to apply themselves to both the physical and intellectual aspect of the training.

Program Length
The 302 hour Shiatsu Program takes about two years to complete.

Class tuition is approximately $20 per hour of instruction. Please call the OSM office for specific course fees.

More Information
To register for classes or obtain additional information please contact OSM at 800-844-3420 (PORTLAND) or 877-588-8912 (SALEM).

Class Descriptions

Short Form Series (108 Hours)
Shiatsu I (No Prerequisite) 30 Hours
Shiatsu II (Prerequisite: Shiatsu I or Instructor’s Permission) 30 Hours
Short Form Clinic Practicum (Prerequisite: Shiatsu II and Instructor Approval) 45 Hours
Short Form Tutorial 3 Hours
Dao Yin 7 Hours


Chinese Medical Theory (90 Hours)
Part A – An Overview of Chinese Medicine (No Prerequisite) 30 Hours
Part B – Organs in Disharmony (Prerequisite: Part A) 30 Hours
Part C – Point Location (Prerequisite: Shiatsu I or ABC’s Part A) 32 Hours


Long Form Series (104 Hours)
Shiatsu III – Shiatsu Stretches (Prerequisite: Short Form Series) 30 Hours
Shiatsu IV (Prerequisite: Shiatsu III) 30 Hours
Long Form Clinic Practicum (Prerequisite: Shiatsu IV) 40 Hours
Long Form Tutorial 4 Hours


Electives (not required for certificate)
Barefoot Shiatsu 15 Hours
Board Review – Eastern Written 4 Hours
Shiatsu Lab – Extra Practice Time 15 Hours


Summary of Shiatsu Certificate
Short Form Series 115 Hours
Chinese Medical Theory 92 Hours
Long Form Series 104 Hours
Electives – Optional Varies
Total 311 Hours

Click to download the Shiatsu Certification Brochure

Shiatsu Application

More Information
To register for classes or obtain additional information please contact the OSM office at 1-800-844-3420 -or- osm@oregonschoolofmassage.com.