Shiatsu is a form of massage developed in Japan in the early 1900s, which is applied through loose clothing. Like acupuncture - only without the ‘needles’ - it involves gently working specific points on the body, with the aim of restoring the flow and balance of energy and promoting health and well-being.

What to expect

Following a full consultation, treatment will generally take place on a padded floor mat or futon. Your practitioner will ensure you are positioned comfortably, before applying a variety of different techniques, which may include holding, or applying pressure with the palms, thumbs, finger, elbows, knees or feet. Treatment may also involve rotating or stetching the limbs and joints, where appropriate.  

Benefits of shiatsu

Shiatsu may help to relieve everyday stresses, aid sleep and promote relaxation. In addition to being regularly used by thousands of people all over the world, a variety of charities, health foundations, NHS trusts and hospitals in the UK provide shiatsu to support patients whilst receiving treatment for a range of health issues and to help them maintain their general wellbeing.

To read more about the potential benefits shiatsu has as a form of complementary therapies

Shiatsu should not be used in place of conventional medical care. Always consult a GP or other health professional for medical attention and advice.

Choosing a therapist

It is important to choose a qualified therapist who has undertaken the necessary training to understand the theory and practice of this particular therapy. 

In order for a qualification to be accepted for FHT membership and to the FHT Therapist Register, it must meet the following criteria:


Skills for Health National Occupational Standards:

  • CNH1 Explore and establish the client’s needs for complementary and natural healthcare
  • CNH2 Develop and agree plans for complementary and natural healthcare with clients
  • CNH13 Provide Shiatsu to clients

All qualifications related to the FHT’s Register modalities must be reviewed by the FHT Education Panel. The qualification is reviewed by an expert in that particular therapy prior to the registrant being accepted to the FHT Therapist Register.

Training Required

Practical led and observed training. This will ensure the course is mapped to the above standards.

By choosing a shiatsu practitioner who is a member of the FHT, you can be confident that they are professionally trained, qualified and insured. They will also be listed on our FHT Therapist Register, as shiatsu is considered a form of complementary healthcare.

To check that an FHT member is on the FHT Therapist Register

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