Shiatsu Vs Reiki Massage [Comparison & Key Differences]

Because massage styles like Shiatsu and Reiki have names that aren’t familiar to most people, it can be hard to figure out exactly what each method offers.

Both Shiatsu massage and Reiki are often confused or misunderstood; however, you may want to know what the differences between the types of massage are before you choose one.

Today, we’ll talk about the differences between these two great options, what you can expect from them, and the benefits of each, to help you decide which type of therapy might be right for you.

What is Reiki Massage?

The name “Reiki” relates to two independent Japanese sets of, “rei” and “ki”. Rei signifies “higher power,” while “ki” refers to “life force energy”. So, Reiki means “spiritually-guided life force energy”.

It is believed that when our life force energy is low, we are more vulnerable to sicknesses and mental disorders such as anxiety, or depression. When the life force is balanced, it provides a healthy flow, rejuvenates, and renews us.

A Reiki practitioner uses their hands to transfer positive energy into your body, allowing it to relax and release any blockages that may be causing you to feel out of spirit. They do not direct energy or alter their path in any manner. Instead, the procedure stimulates your body to eliminate the contaminants that are causing the issues.

Reiki teaches us that our bodies are comprised of seven chakras. The chakra system is not a new theory; it was first proposed in India between 1500 and 500 BC. Our chakra systems are made of seven core points: the Crown, third eye, throat, heart, solar plexus, navel, and root.

Reiki’s goal is to balance these chakras to heal all regions, resulting in a much more balanced sense of self.

Advantages Of Reiki:

  • Reduces anxiety
  • Increases energy
  • Provides chakra balance   
  • Toxins are released, which strengthens immunity

Reiki is transferred from one practitioner to another via a procedure called ‘attunement’. This is where the practitioner learns to sense and transfer life force energy, and there are many levels to achieve this skill.

How Shiatsu massage is Different from Reiki?

What is Shiatsu Massage?

Shiatsu means “finger pressure,” since the therapist would use his or her fingers, elbows, knees, and even feet to target the meridian points on your body. The strong pressure on those meridian points will control stress, poor circulation, and muscular tension when you lie flat and become entirely relaxed.

It was first used in Japan, where traditional Chinese medicine was combined with new procedures. Also, it was a branch of another Japanese treatment called “anma,” which means “healing hands.”

The therapist will work into your muscles to enhance energy flow throughout the body, often known as Qi or Ki.

Qi is the fundamental life energy that powers all life activities in traditional Chinese medicine. When Qi flows, health arises. Symptoms such as body aches, headaches, and digestive disorders occur when Qi flows become insufficient or obstructed.

However, Shiatsu is viewed by healthcare professionals as a modified form of acupressure, a massage therapy that requires pressing specific points on the body to enhance the body’s healing properties. This occurs by enhancing blood and lymphatic circulation, so you can expect to see improvement in problem areas as well as a reduction in tension and fatigue.

According to research, the combination of Shiatsu with medical treatment for low back pain improves symptoms and quality of life immediately after the session. In addition, hand self-Shiatsu, a self-application type of Shiatsu, improves sleep in young people with chronic pain.

Few Other Benefits of Shiatsu

  • Improves mood status and eliminates depression.
  • Detoxifies the body.
  • Aids in improper posture correction.
  • Relieves joint pain and sciatica pain.

How Different are Shiatsu and Reiki Massage Sessions?

What Happens During a Reiki Session?

Rather than employing physical contact or pressure, Reiki channels life force energy via the hands of the Reiki master and into your body. A Reiki master will begin the session by placing his or her hands on top of your body without touching. They will work their way down the body, via the chakras, to check if some places need more care than others.

The energy is then transferred by the Reiki master, beginning with the third eye. This may occur by touch or without contact. The energy will be sent as needed.
The sessions are highly calming and will be helpful whether you are awake or sleeping.

Most Reiki masters will work with you to develop a wellness plan that is specific to your needs, which will decide how many sessions are required.

What Happens During a Shiatsu Massage in Comparison To Reiki?

To arrange the session, a Shiatsu therapist will analyze your Qi status before the session starts. Depending on your overall energy level, the existence of blockages, and their situation, the therapist may use a variety of procedures.

If your energy levels are low, the therapist may apply procedures to promote blood and Qi circulation, and they may use strategies to release excess energy in anxious and nervous persons.

The therapist will perform manual methods such as holding, stretching, tapping, pressure, kneading, and calming. They may also do further rotations and joint mobilizations.

The therapist may sometimes request that you shift positions to enable them to work on certain meridian points associated with energy blockages.

Shiatsu does not use any equipment or oils. You will be completely clothed throughout a session and often lay on a futon mat on the floor or a massage table.

Shiatsu applies forceful pressure, but it’s not painful. However, due to small breaks in the muscle fibers that may develop during the massage and the healing process, some people may feel delayed onset muscular soreness for 24-48 hours following the session.

Shiatsu Vs Reiki [Comparison]

While both Shiatsu and Reiki massage aim to encourage self-healing and relieve emotional disturbances, the techniques used to accomplish these goals differ.


  • Both methods were developed in Japan.
  • Both aim for self-healing and rely on the strength of Ki, or life force energy flow.
  • They improve circulation.
  • Both improve stress management.
  • Both offer mental and physical balance.


  • Reiki is done with energy and no touch (spiritually based), but Shiatsu is obtained through physical pressure (physically based).
  • Reiki is conducted by a Reiki master, whereas Shiatsu is performed by a qualified massage therapist.  

Which Is Suitable for You – Shiatsu Or Reiki?

Which Is Suitable for You - Shiatsu Or Reiki Massage?

Choosing which strategy is most interesting to you should be easy now. Shiatsu massage and Reiki therapy each have unique benefits.

While many people are attracted to the idea of Reiki, others may find it unsuitable for their lifestyle. If you believe in the healing potential of raw energy, you may prefer it over physical contact.

Reiki requires the recipient to keep an open mind and accept the energy that is being pushed into their body. If you remain closed off, you may miss out on the benefits you deserve.

Shiatsu is a physical treatment, while Reiki is a spiritual therapy; both, however, have many similarities. People react differently to each sort of therapy, so you may try both to find out which one your body prefers.

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