When choosing a shiatsu school, consider your professional goals, the status of massage and bodywork licensing in the area where you live, as well as the accreditation and reputation of the school. If you plan to attend shiatsu school in order to offer shiatsu services on a professional basis, it is very important to make sure that education received at the school is recognized by credentialing and licensing agencies pertinent to your ability to legally practice your trade. If you are already licensed to provide bodywork services and are attending shiatsu school to enhance your skills, it is still important to find out whether the school has a good reputation and can train you to safely and accurately become a shiatsu massage therapist.
Shiatsu is an Asian bodywork modality in which a practitioner places pressure on various points of the body using his fingers, thumbs, and palms. These points are said to correspond with various aspects of a person's central nervous system, and, according to advocates of shiatsu, can treat various disorders of the body. While there have been no definitive studies that scientifically establish the effectiveness of shiatsu, it remains a popular alternative medicine modality. Practitioners of shiatsu in Japan must complete an extensive training course at an approved shiatsu school and must be licensed by its Ministry of Health and Welfare. Licensing to practice shiatsu in other countries varies significantly, and in the United States its practice may be regulated by state massage therapy laws.
The shiatsu school of your choice should be approved to operate by the appropriate local school licensing board in your area. If you are hoping to receive licensure to practice shiatsu or massage therapy, you should ensure that the school is approved by the regulatory board that will grant you your license to practice. You should also find out if the school is recognized by a respected shiatsu professional association or certification board. You might want to talk with shiatsu practitioners to find out what school they attended or what their opinion is of the shiatsu school that interests you.
In situations where you already hold licensure as a bodywork professional, you should find out if a shiatsu school offers accelerated programs for those interested in practicing shiatsu but who already have bodywork experience. You can also ask if they offer continuing education courses. Another option is to contact other bodywork schools in your area to see if they offer shiatsu training. This approach may let you get training in modalities in addition to shiatsu.