The Shiatsu Therapy Association of Australia (STAA) questioned the ‘shiatsu workforce’ in Australia. Although it is a small-scale study (N = 119), it gives a nice insight into the profession and the complaints that can be treated effectively with shiatsu.
The research was conducted among shiatsu therapists who are members of the STAA or a related professional association and serve as a direction for future research. So it is mainly inventory and exploratory. But therefore no less interesting.

Especially since this is the first Australian study in which only shiatsu therapists have been questioned. So there is no mixing with other TCM or massage disciplines.

Some highlights:

  • Yin is overrepresented: 70% of the therapists are women;
  • She has an average age of 48 years;
  • Few practitioners are younger than 35;
  • On average, shiatsu therapists have 11.8 years of experience;
  • 75% of the respondents have been working as a shiatsu therapist for more than 10 years;
  • 75% of respondents work part-time with shiatsu (= less than 20 hours per week);
Where do shiatsu therapists conduct their practice?
The top 3:
  • Private practice at home or elsewhere
  • In clinic with other TCM therapists
  • Mobile practice

I do not know what a mobile practice is(shiatsu in a camper?), but given the country’s vastness, there are countless options.

Treatment time

The average treatment time is 74 minutes per client. According to earlier research, this relatively long treatment time (at an acupuncturist you are outside within 30 minutes) contributes to the recovery process of the client. “While beyond the scope of this survey, it is worth mentioning that there is a growing body of evidence to a positive effect in the healing process of the client is directly linked to the time spent in a client-practitioner relationship” (STAA Shiatsu). Workforce Australia).

So what is shiatsu good for?

Also interesting is the question with what kind of complaints clients come to a shiatsu therapist.
And of which the therapist thinks that results are positive.
The top 3:
  • Pain symptoms
  • Complaints regarding mental health (emotions, ‘low mood’, depression, anxiety, stress)
  • Reduced energy

New questions

All in all, this research also raises new questions:

  • Why are shiatsu therapists mainly women?
  • Why is that average age so (relatively 🙂 ) high?
  • Is shiatsu primarily a ‘second career’ or a ‘side career’?
  • Why do so many shiatsu therapists work part-time? Because it is a second job or because they do not earn enough?
  • What about that treatment time? Further research into this is relevant, and certainly for other types of treatments. If you GP takes more time for you, do you come less often?

This is the type of research that we can not get enough of in the shiatsu world. A beautiful final question is, therefore: who will organize this research in the Netherlands or other countries? Which professional association takes its responsibility?

Read the research yourself! You can find it here:

Mark Vroonland
Happy Hara
Shiatsu massagetherapie

Please, post your thoughts about this blog at the forum!

title photo by Umut Sedef on Unsplash