Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu vs. Deep Tissue Massage: Understanding the Differences and Choosing the Best Option

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Shiatsu and deep tissue massage are two popular forms of massage therapy that offer various benefits to the body. Shiatsu originated in Japan and is based on acupuncture principles, focusing on specific pressure points to relieve tension and promote healing. 


On the other hand, deep tissue massage uses techniques that target deep layers of muscle tissue to release chronic muscle tension and knots. While both types of massage can provide relief from pain and stress, they have different approaches and techniques. 


In this blog post, we will dive deeper into the differences between Shiatsu and deep tissue massage, as well as the benefits of each therapy, to help you make an informed decision on which option is best for you.

What is Shiatsu Massage?

Shiatsu massage is a traditional Japanese massage developed in the early 20th century. The Japanese term “shiatsu” literally translates to “finger pressure,” and it is rooted in the age-old wisdom of Chinese medicine. This form of massage works on specific areas of the body by applying firm pressure to fingers, palms, and elbows – all for the purpose of optimizing one’s wellness.


Tokujiro Namikoshi developed Shiatsu in the 1920s, though it originates from a much earlier Japanese massage practice known as Anma. This is linked to the Chinese massage method Tui Na.

Techniques Used

The techniques used in Shiatsu massage are designed to stimulate the body’s pressure points and promote relaxation and healing. The therapist uses their fingers, palms, and elbows to apply pressure to specific points on the body, helping to balance the body’s energy and promoting the free flow of energy throughout the body. Shiatsu massage is a powerful modality, and when blended with other therapies like Swedish or deep tissue massage, it can create an incredibly effective treatment plan.


The benefits of Shiatsu massage are numerous and varied. Shiatsu massage is not only an excellent remedy for stress, tension, and emotional distress, but also a wonderful way to heal physical ailments such as back pain, headaches, or even digestive issues. Frequently used in combination with acupuncture and herbal remedies, the benefits of this innovative technique can be further amplified. Experience improved well-being on all levels today with Shiatsu massage!

Who Can Benefit Most From Shiatsu Massage?

People of all ages and walks of life can benefit from Shiatsu massage. It is especially beneficial for those who suffer from chronic pain, as it helps to promote relaxation and reduce tension. Shiatsu massage can also be used to improve circulation, relieve muscle tension, and promote overall health and well-being. Shiatsu massage is safe for most people, though it may not be suitable for those with certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

What is Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep tissue massage is not just a Swedish massage with increased intensity. This type of massage needs strong force and slow movement to work on the inner layers of muscle as well as the encompassing connective tissue surrounding them.

History and Origin

The history of deep tissue massage can be traced back to ancient times when massage therapy was used as a healing tool. The earliest roots of this massage technique date back to China in the 2nd century BC. The deep tissue massage technique has evolved over time with the incorporation of modern massage techniques and equipment. Today, it is widely used in spas, massage therapy clinics, and sports training centers around the world.

Techniques Used

Deep tissue massage techniques involve using various techniques to apply pressure to deep layers of muscle tissue. Some of the most commonly used techniques include cross-fiber friction, trigger point therapy, muscle stripping, and myofascial release. These techniques are designed to target specific areas of the body and help release knots, tension, and pain in the muscles.


The benefits of deep tissue massage are numerous. From managing chronic pain, particularly in the neck, shoulders, and back, to reducing anxiety and depression symptoms by lowering stress levels within the body – deep tissue massage is an incredibly effective technique. Not only that, but it also enhances athletic performance, increases flexibility, and improves circulation too!

Who Can Benefit Most from Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep tissue massage is ideal for anyone who is looking for relief from chronic pain, stress, or tension in the muscles. This massage technique is particularly useful for athletes or people who engage in physical activity on a regular basis. It is also helpful for people who sit for long hours or have poor posture, which can cause muscle strain and tension.

The Differences Between Shiatsu and Deep Tissue Massage

Massage is a practice that has been used for centuries to alleviate pain and promote relaxation. Get the most out of your massage experience with Shiatsu or Deep Tissue – two of the safest, most effective ways to target any tension points in your body. Despite their many similarities, these techniques also have key variations that make them stand apart from one another.

Pressure and Intensity

One of the main differences between Shiatsu and Deep Tissue massage is the amount of pressure and intensity used. Shiatsu massage is a therapeutic technique that uses steady, rhythmic pressure on specific points of the body in order to rebalance energy and alleviate stress. It’s known for its calming effects that can help you relax your mind and muscles.


Deep Tissue massage, on the other hand, involves the use of deep, firm pressure applied to specific areas of the body. It is designed to target deep layers of muscle and connective tissue and can be quite intense in terms of the amount of pressure applied.

Target Areas

Another difference between the two types of massages is the areas of the body that are targeted. Shiatsu massage focuses on the body’s meridians or energy pathways, and pressure is applied to certain points along these pathways. This type of massage is often used to relieve stress, tension, and pain in the back, neck, and shoulders.


Deep Tissue massage, on the other hand, focuses on specific areas of the body where there is tension or pain. This can include the lower back, neck, shoulders, and legs, and the massage therapist will work to release tightness and knots in these areas.

Techniques Used

Shiatsu massage typically uses techniques such as finger pressure, thumb pressure, and even stretches to release tension in the body. The massage therapist may also use their elbows and knees to apply pressure to certain areas.


Deep Tissue massage typically involves the use of slow, deep strokes to target specific muscles and connective tissues. The massage therapist may also utilize their forearms or elbows to apply pressure on those hard-to-reach deep tissue areas for increased effectiveness.


Both Shiatsu and Deep Tissue massages are effective in promoting relaxation and relieving pain and tension in the body. However, Shiatsu massage is often used to treat conditions such as headaches, insomnia, and anxiety, while Deep Tissue massage is often used to treat conditions such as chronic pain, sports injuries, and muscle spasms.

Choosing the Best Option for You

To determine which massage is most suitable for you, there are multiple components to consider. Two of the top massages that are often compared against each other are Shiatsu and Deep Tissue Massage. Both offer distinct advantages, but in the end, it all comes down to your own preferences as well as any health concerns you may have.


Shiatsu massage originated in Japan and is characterized by applying pressure to specific areas of the body to release tension and improve overall well-being. This type of massage can be particularly beneficial for individuals experiencing headaches, back pain, or digestive problems. Shiatsu massage is known to help reduce muscle tension, promote relaxation, and relieve stress.


On the other hand, Deep Tissue Massage is characterized by applying more forceful pressure to the muscles and connective tissues with slow, deep strokes. This type of massage is recommended for individuals who are experiencing chronic muscle pain, limited mobility, or recovery from sports injuries. Deep Tissue Massage works to target the deeper layers of muscles and tissues, helping to improve circulation and reduce inflammation.


When choosing between Shiatsu and Deep Tissue Massage, it’s important to consider your personal preferences. If you prefer a gentler massage that is more focused on relaxation and tension release, Shiatsu may be the best option for you. If you’re looking for a more intense massage that targets deeper tissues, and you can tolerate more pressure, then Deep Tissue Massage would be a better choice.


It’s also important to consider any health conditions you may have. If you have high blood pressure, Shiatsu massage may not be the best option as it involves pressure on certain parts of the body. Likewise, if you have arthritis, deep-tissue massage may not be the best option as it can cause further inflammation.


In conclusion, when it comes to choosing between Shiatsu and Deep Tissue Massage, the decision should be based on your personal preferences and health conditions. It’s important to communicate with your massage therapist and discuss your goals and expectations before the session to ensure the best possible experience.  If you have never experienced massage before, visit us at Moonlight at Naple and try it out today to help restore balance in your life. We guarantee you won’t regret it!