Shiatsu and massage and studying
I'm looking at options to change my career direction and have come across Shiatsu which is interesting to me. I love working with the meridians (I do EFT already) and would like to do a touch therapy. However Shiatsu is a long and expensive course and I'm wondering whether I could instead opt to do massage, some acupressure add ons and a foundation level shiatsu to begin with.
So I guess my question is, would this work as a starting point? After foundation level, and with massage experience, are you equipped to benefit clients with Shiatsu or is the full practitioner course necessary.
I'm also interested in the demand out there for shiatsu, or even massage in general? Can this really be a career change? - I know there are many masseurs out there who don't have enough clients to rely on the income it generates?
Feedback would be really appreciated
I've qualifications in western massage, shiatsu and a degree in TCM acupuncture. In my experience, most shiatsu-only practitioners find it difficult to create a large enough client base to make a decent living, and many go on to study other therapies. The public awareness of shiatsu is limited, and it's difficult to maintain momentum in a diminishing market place. That said, shiatsu is about one of the best things you can do (with your clothes on!), and is very satisfying. You need good personal fitness- this applies to all massage but especially to shiatsu as most treatments are carried out at floor level; good knees, back, hips and wrists are essential.
Learning "ordinary" massage and simply bolting on acupressure points will probably not make you a successful therapist. The palpation skills needed for effective acupressure are not learned overnight, nor are the locations of the acupoints. The same applies to shiatsu. The foundation courses and full practitioner courses are miles apart, as shiatsu practitioners learn quite specific diagnostic techniques usually based on TCM principles that are not taught to beginners.
The shelf life of newly qualified massage practitioners is probably less than you think. Many new arrivals have poor techniques (as a result of poor training) that often lead to injuries. Couple this with poor pay, erratic hours and expensive training, you need to be absolutely sure that this is what you need in your life before changing careers.
This may seem a bit negative, and someone will probably balance the discussion with other comments- however I feel it's important to be well informed on all aspects of a career change.
Thanks David, thats really useful feedback. I actually do have a couple of other therapy skills which either need completing or more experience (eft, nutrition). My love of the meridian system comes from my eft practise and also the tcm parts of my nutrition and other Energy work courses i've taken in the past. I guess i was intending masssge to give me a backup plan (my current job is very unstable) that i could tap into whilst i improved my practice and experience in the other skills. Plus i would like to do a touch/energy based therapy. i was hoping it would bring me in some money though!
Its a shame to hear so many masseurs have not been successful. The shiatsu training looks really grest but im just not sure that the large investment will result in improved earnings. As you say, many people don't know what it is.
I'll have to give it some more thought.
which of your therapies would you say are most popular?
My first "proper" massage course was called Integrated Massage & included ITEC Holistic Massage, A&P and a basic grounding in Shiatsu. Sadly it's not available now but it was a terrific introduction to massage. Some of us went on to do a full shiatsu course - I didn't but still use many of the techniques & went on to study acupressure, aromatherapy & on site seated massage.
These days I don't think studying one discipline is enough to make a living but being able to offer a combination of techniques can make us better therapists & more marketable.
Hey Spacecandi and all others reading,
I qualified as a Shiatsu therapist from the British School of Shiatsu-do last November and have been working to build up my practice. It is my only therapy and I currently work full time as a finance manager. In short I started putting in effort to build the practice since February this year and as of now I have 2-3 clients a week. Certainly not enough to pay the bills. It's been pretty hard work getting to this level and, as David Maldon said 'Shiatsu' isn't as well known as 'acupuncture' or 'physiotherapy' for example. Shiatsu isn't the first thing that comes to someone's mind when they have a problem unless they are familiar with it already. While I agree having a self-rewarding career that reward doesn't put food on the table.
It isn't all bad though (life is all about balance!). I am lucky to have a supporting wife and a full time 'other' job. My goals are to work part time in the office for steady and regular income while doing Shiatsu every other free minute I can get. It's about finding out how to make it work for you and putting things in place to get that happening.
Just about all of my heavy expense stuff has been done (the three year course, the equipment, the website etc) so I am left with the odd running cost and the income. My practice has become self-sufficient (ie not relying on my full time job funds) since May. Keep in mind that running costs are low with Shiatsu...all you need are re-usable clothes for yourself, the futon, some tissue head sheets and candles if you are into them. No oils, no cleaning products, etc. An occasional update to the website, a marketing trip here and there are all that hit me for now. Of course...I am still a fledgling so who knows what is coming round the corner!
If you do want to take up Shiatsu the some pointers:
1) Take it seriously (as David says)...it is a thorough course and having good practitioners is what the name is needing. Shiatsu isn't government regulated (I believe) so you can get people claiming to do Shiatsu that aren't fully qualified.
2) Speak to the schools. I know the BSS-Do do interest free installments or a discount if you pay up front. The schools want therapists out there so they want to train you up. You never know until you ask.
3) A lot of text books and equipment can be bought second hand saving quite a lot of money.
I could go on, but do drop me a mail if you want to talk more (or anyone else!).
Good luck and good energy,
I'm interested in learning Shiatsu, I've been looking at the courses that you can do with the Shiatsu College.
I know it'll take me years but I have the time, I'm also a Martial Arts practitioner so I think that my fellow martial brothers will gladly take the massage when I get proficient enough 🙂
One day I'd like to open my own Martial Arts club and tack on Shiatsu to that.
~21st Century Boy~
Not related to your post (although I have had shiatsu many times - love it - practitioner trained for 3 years and has done other courses since - it is her only therapy, but does not make a decent wage so does secretarial work part-time) - have you met Marc Bolan???
Thanks for the info, no I haven't met Marc D:
Thanks for the info, no I haven't met Marc D:
I did! Several times! My hero! Went to 3 gigs in Portsmouth and Southampton - chatted up the roadies at the stage door, and got to watch the gigs from the wings! Those were the days!!!
I try to see T-Rextasy every year, went to their big end of year show in 2013, was great 😀