Shiatsu - Acupressure - Massage - Reiki
Tom Swiss, Dipl. ABT, AOBTA CP, LMT
Serving Catonsville, Columbia,
Ellicott City, and the greater
Baltimore area.
Hours by appointment

What's the difference between shiatsu and massage?

While I offer both shiatsu and Swedish-style massage, I believe that in many cases shiatsu is the more useful modality. This chart might help explain the differences.

Shiatsu... Massage...
...works with the meridians and acupoints of Chinese medicine to address imbalances in any aspect of the body or mind. ...works primarily with the muscles and connective tissue to improve circulation and decrease tension.
...uses mostly rhythmic pressure and stretching. ...uses mostly rubbing and kneading.
...is performed with the client fully clothed (unless supplemental methods like moxibustion or gua sha are used on bare skin). ...is usually performed on bare skin with oils or lotions, and requires the client to partially or fully disrobe.
...is usually performed on a mat on the floor. (Though a table can be used, and our Shiatsu on the Spot service seats clients on a stool.) ...is performed on a table, or is sometimes adapted to a special "massage chair".
...is primarily based on principles of Chinese medicine, which is explicitly holistic, integrating treatment of the body and the mind/spirit. (However, Asian Bodywork Therapists are also well trained in conventional Western anatomy and physiology.) ...is primarily based on current conventional Western views of wellness and healing, which can be mired in Cartesian mind/body dualism. (However, massage therapists generally take a more holistic approach than other Western healthcare practitioners.)
...often leaves the recipient feeling relaxed but energized. ...often leaves the recipient relaxed but feeling somewhat sleepy.

Both modalities are wonderful ways to relieve stress and promote health.


Nationally certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Certified Practitioner, American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia. State of Maryland Licensed Massage Therapist.

E-mail or call Tom Swiss at 443-803-9621 today to schedule your shiatsu or massage session!