Research Studies

Shiatsu Shown to Improve Health - Key Facts for GPs

  • 89% of Shiatsu receivers slept better
  • Upto 60% of regular Shiatsu receivers slept better
  • Receivers rated their symptoms as significantly reduced throughout the 6 month study
  • 86% said that Shiatsu was effective in treating stress and tension, structural and postural problems, low energy and fatigue
  • Overall, Shiatsu receivers adopted a more relaxed, healthier, and balanced approach to life
  • Reduced use of conventional medicine


  • Recent research findings by the University of Leeds on behalf of the European Shiatsu Federation suggests a role for Shiatsu in maintaining and enhancing health, and in treating a range of symptoms.
  • The study objectives were to assess client perceptions of the short- and longer-term effects of Shiatsu across Austria, Spain, and the UK over a six-month period.


  • A total of 948 clients received Shiatsu in routine practice from one of 85 practitioners participating in the study.
  • Data were collected from the longitudinal cohort study using previously validated self-administered questionnaires which included a scoring system for each outcome measure [Long A.F. et al, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2003; 9(4):539.47].
  • Outcome measures included: symptom severity; changes in healthcare use at baseline, 3 and 6 months; Shiatsu specific effects; uptake of lifestyle advice given by Shiatsu practitioners; degree to which clients expectations were met; and adverse events.


  • 67% of clients [633/948] receiving Shiatsu provided full follow-up data.
  • Symptoms most frequently states as reasons for wanting Shiatsu included problems with "muscles, joints, structures", "tension/stress", and "low energy/fatigue", or to "maintain health".
  • Symptom scores improved significantly and were maintained over the six month study (P<0.05) for all symptom groups in Austria and the UK, and two symptom groups in Spain ("muscles, joints, structures" and "tension/stress").
  • At the study end, 86% of clients percieved that Shiatsu was effective in treating symptoms of stress and tension, problems with muscle and joints, including back pain and posture, low energy and fatigue; 77-80% of clients indicated that they had changed their lifestyle as a result of receiving Shiatsu, and had experienced an increased sense of calm and feeling of relaxation.
  • Only 1.4% [9/10] clients reported potential adverse events; none ceased Shiatsu therapy.
  • The study found receivers had a reduced dependance on medication.


  • There is apotential role for Shiatsu in public health as this therapy is associated with an improvement in symptom severity, health awareness, and health maintenance.
  • Overall, clients recieving Shiatsu adopted a more relaxed, healthier, and balanced approach to life.

Further Details

  • Long AF. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2008; 14(8):921-30
  • Full report available at European Shiatsu Federation website:
  • Or contact Seamus Connolly at