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What is shiatsu?

Shiatsu is a manual therapy in which the therapist applies comfortable pressure to the body primarily with thumbs and palms. Shiatsu treatments aim to improve body functioning and to relieve pain and discomfort.


Are therapists certified?

In Ontario, shiatsu therapists are not regulated by any government body; anybody can practise shiatsu or call themselves a shiatsu therapist. Only practicing members of the S.T.A.O. are entitled to use the trademarked designation CST® (Certified Shiatsu Therapist™). A CST® is your assurance of the most highly trained shiatsu therapist in Canada and North America. A CST® has agreed in writing to abide by the association's code of ethics and is subject to the association's complaints and disciplines procedures. Please check for local regulations regarding the practice of shiatsu therapy.


Are shiatsu treatments covered by any insurance plan?

Shiatsu treatments may be covered by insurance but you need to check your particular insurance policy. Some insurance companies do cover shiatsu treatments under extended health benefits. Check with your insurer. If shiatsu therapy is not covered, request that shiatsu therapy be included in your extended health insurance plan. The S.T.A.O. has information letters that can aid your request. Contact us to receive copies.

Please check for local regulations regarding insurance coverage.


What's the difference between massage therapy and shiatsu therapy?

Generally, massage therapy refers to Swedish massage, a therapy that involves rubbing and kneading the body using oils. Swedish massage acts on the circulatory system of the body to improve circulation. It also affects muscle tissue to relieve muscle tension and pain. 

Shiatsu therapy uses stationary, holding pressure to apply pressure to the body to regulate body functioning. No oils are used; you may wear loose clothes during the treatment. Shiatsu treatments help to relieve pain and improve organ function. The whole body benefits.


What conditions benefit from shiatsu therapy?

Shiatsu therapy is beneficial for a wide variety of conditions including:
· Headaches
· Migraines
· Back pain
· Arthritis
· Insomnia
· Menstrual problems
· Fibromyalgia
· Chronic fatigue
· Asthma
· Whiplash
· Neck pain and stiffness
· Repetitive strain injuries
· Muscle tension and spasm
· Digestive problems
· Anxiety and depression

Ask your therapist how shiatsu therapy can help your individual condition.

How is treatment performed?

Shiatsu treatments are performed on a thick floor mat or on a low therapy table. No oils or lotions are used, so you may wear loose clothing. The therapist takes a complete health history and does a thorough assessment prior to treatment. The therapist applies comfortable pressure to the body, as well as gentle stretches. The amount of pressure is always dependent on your specific condition and comfort. Treatments are normally 1 hour in length, but may also be offered for 1/2 hour or 1-1/2 hour sessions.

How much does a treatment cost?

Many therapists offer a sliding scale, discounts for seniors and children, and package discounts for pre-paid treatments. The cost of a 1 hour treatment ranges from $70 to $90 or more. Housecalls are generally more expensive.

Where do I find a Certified Shiatsu Therapist?

Call the S.T.A.O. at (416) 923-STAO (7826) or toll-free (Canada & the U.S.) 1-877-923-STAO (7826) for information or for a referral to a CST in your area. We have members in Ontario, the rest of Canada and around the world. You can also check our on-line registry.