Percussion VS Shiatsu Massage | Which is Better?

Percussion and Shiatsu massage are two different massages with completely different techniques and processes.

The Key Difference:

Percussion is a massage technique that pounds on your soft tissue to help relieve your muscle tension and is often done during a sports massage or with the use of a massage gun. On the other hand, Shiatsu is only performed by a trained professional and uses your meridians as a guide to help unblock your body, create better blood flow, and increase your immune system. 

I have compared both massage types for each critical factor such as technique, application, benefits, and aftercare to help you determine which is best for you. 

Shiatsu Vs Percussion [Key Differences]

1. Technique

Shiatsu vs Percussion - Technique used

As the name suggests, percussion treatment (also known as percussive therapy) is a sort of rhythmic massage that strikes your soft tissue with quick striking motions. It encourages blood flow to lessen discomfort after exercise and hasten muscle recovery. Some people use it in their exercise warm-up as well.

Percussion therapy uses a massage gun in place of the hands of a massage therapist. Vibration treatment, which uses vibrating components, rollers, or handheld devices, is comparable to percussion therapy. By turning up the pressure, massage guns boost vibration.

On the other hand, Shiatsu is a Japanese massage therapy technique that involves applying pressure to specific points on the body to promote healing and relaxation.

It is based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, which views the body as a system of energy channels or meridians through which life force, or “qi,” flows.

Shiatsu practitioners use their fingers, palms, elbows, and sometimes even feet to apply pressure to these points, stimulating the flow of qi and helping to restore balance to the body’s systems. 

2. Convenience

Percussion vs shiatsu - which massage can you perform at home

Percussion therapy can be done in the comfort of your own home, office, gym, or anywhere else you wish to take your massage gun with you. A trained professional can also use this device to benefit your massage session. 

Shiatsu can be practiced on a massage table or a mat on the floor and is a non-invasive therapy. It frequently coexists with other holistic medical modalities like acupuncture and herbal remedies.

3. Purpose and Benefits

Purpose and benefits of Shiatsu and Percussion massages


The purpose of percussion therapy is to help loosen your muscles, reduce trigger points and ease your pain and discomfort. 

Below are a few of the benefits of this treatment:

1. Increased Mobility 

Your strain and stiffness are relieved by a percussion-based massage, which helps to disseminate the thickened fascia fluid. High-speed pressure applied repeatedly thins the fluids and makes the fascia more malleable, enabling faster and more effective muscle movement.

2. Reduced Soreness

Your muscles accumulate lactic acid after working out or engaging in another activity. This buildup frequently brings on pain and soreness. Using a massager after working out causes lactic acid to be released from muscle fibers, which lessens discomfort.

3. Reduces Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

It’s typical to feel sore and in pain 24 to 72 hours after engaging in an unusual exercise routine, such as a new workout regimen or recovery from an operation or injury. Tiny breaks in the muscle fibers cause muscle discomfort and agony, also known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). 

According to studies, the vibration therapy technique used in percussion boosts blood flow, and hormonal responses to reduce DOMS-related inflammation and pain.


The primary purpose and goal of Shiatsu is to help balance your body’s energy flow. The aim is to help your body learn how to self-heal. 

There are numerous possible advantages of shiatsu massage for the body, mind, and spirit.

Here are a few of the shiatsu benefits that are most frequently mentioned:

  1. Stress relief
  2. Improved circulation
  3. Better sleep
  4. Boosted immune system
  5. Enhanced overall well-being

4. The Price

Percussion or shiatsu - which is cheaper

Percussion therapy guns can cost you anywhere between $ 50 to $ 300, depending on the brand you choose, the product’s quality, and how many attachments the device comes with. 

The price of a Shiatsu massage can range from $94 to $210 per hour. Extra fees apply for sessions that extend longer than an hour. A session should not last longer than 90 minutes because doing so can dehydrate you and make you feel queasy, nauseous, and headache.  

5. Frequency

How frequently do you need to perform Percussion and shiatsu massages?

Percussion therapy can be done several times a day. You can use it before and after a workout at the gym, after a long day at work, and between massage treatments. Do not use it for longer than 30 minutes per muscle area; otherwise, you can cause a muscle tear. 

On the other hand, a shiatsu massage cannot be done every day or several times a day. In my professional opinion, you should go for a Shiatsu treatment once weekly while trying to get your body balanced and your conditions under control. Once you have gotten to the point of maintenance, you should have a session once a month. 

6. Aftercare

The aftercare for both these treatments is relatively simple and similar, but there are a few things that you need to do that are specific to each treatment. 

Shiatsu Massage AfterCare:

  • Drink plenty of water: Massage can release toxins from your muscles, so drinking water is essential to help flush them out of your system.
  • Rest and relax: Give yourself time to rest and relax after the massage. Avoid strenuous activities or exercise for at least a few hours.

Percussion Aftercare 

  • Stretch: To help maintain the benefits of the massage, do some gentle stretching exercises to keep your muscles loose and flexible.
  • Apply heat or cold: If your muscles feel sore or tender after the massage, you can apply heat or cold to the affected areas to help reduce inflammation and promote healing.

Percussion or Shiatsu – Which Technique Is Best for You?

It is important to note that even though percussion therapy is an excellent homecare device for you to have, it does not replace the importance of getting regular massages from your therapist. The massage gun is best used between your massage treatments to maintain muscle relaxation. 

I recommend massage guns to my clients who are athletes, as these devices help warm their muscles before a big race or gym session. It is also ideal for those who sit at a desk all day and get tense shoulders and necks, which result in headaches. 

Although massage guns are quite cool, they shouldn’t be used on your *entire* sore body.

Never apply percussion therapy equipment to:

  • Open wounds
  • Sprains, strains, and muscle tears
  • Over your spine
  • Over your joints
  • On top of your bones 

Shiatsu is an outstanding treatment option for those to utilize in winter or after they have just been sick. Your body needs that immune boost, and Shiatsu can help provide that. It is also great for those who suffer from swelling and circulation problems. 

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