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

Myths and Misconceptions about Shiatsu

Myth #1: Shiatsu should be painful

"I was feeling tight, you know? Shoulders and neck. So I called down and had a shiatsu massage in my room. And the tightness has completely disappeared...and been replaced by unbelievable pain. Just staggering, unbearable pain." -- from Lost in Translation

Now, don't get me wrong - Lost in Translation is a fine movie, I recommend it highly. But this bit of dialog illustrates one of the greatest misconceptions about shiatsu.

It's true that some people - including some practitioners - think that shiatsu has to be very deep, uncomfortable work.

But shiatsu can be done with a very, very light touch; or it can be done with very heavy deep work. A good practitioner works at the client's comfort level.

Myth #2: "Shiatsu massage" chairs are anything like shiatsu

No. A massage chair might be comfortable, but you should not form any opinion about shiatsu based on them. A massage chair cannot locate the meridians and points that are essesntial to shiatsu therapy. Also, one of the distinguishing characteristics of shiatsu is its focus on techniques using pressure, rather than rubbing or kneading; massage chairs can't do that.

Myth #3: Shiatsu is only good for sore muscles and stiff joints

Shiatsu can be useful for people suffering from many stress-related disorders, not just from sore muscles and joints. And of course preventive care is the best care of all. Don't wait until you're in pain to schedule a session.

Myth #4: A massage therapist can learn shiatsu in a weekend seminar

Shiatsu is a therapy that is very distinct from Swedish or deep-tissue massage. To properly practice it requires hundreds of hours of training. A massage therapist who takes a weekend seminar may learn a few useful techniques, but is misrepresenting themselves if they claim to be trained in shiatsu. Ask your therapist about their training and credentials.


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!