Shiatsu Vs. Deep Tissue Massage: What is the Difference? 

Sometimes, medication and exercises can’t do much, and most of our pain is resolvable through either physical therapy or a good massage. However, choosing the right massage is crucial in this process, as each kind has its benefits and targeted purposes. There is no harm in choosing a less effective technique, but selecting the right one can elevate the relaxation and overall effectiveness of getting out of a certain massage. For instance, sports massages are more sought after by athletes for their relevant benefits, while shiatsu is used to loosen back muscles and tension. But there are some massages with such a close resemblance that it is hard to tell the two apart, like Deep Tissue Massage and Shiatsu. Today’s blog will identify minor but useful distinctions between the two and how to choose one based on your needs. So, let’s get to it! 

Definition and Techniques 

Deep tissue massages have a self-explanatory name. These are soothing techniques delivered deep into the muscle using hands and force of arms. Their depth is above the jointed paths, making it less deep than shiatsu. Shiatsu, on the other hand, involves a detailed and intense massage using the feet, and the targeted areas are introduced to more pressure. Their underlying execution and effects vary and are conducted depending on the issues. 


Despite the differences, the two are more alike than we think. Both types of massages are used to target worn-out muscles and help the body flush out excess toxins. The ultimate goal behind deep tissue and ashiatsu is to relieve pain and enhance flexibility. While they may lead to different effects and require different care sets, their core technique and targeted areas are the same. 


  1. Application 

Deep tissue massage is a deep relaxation method but still needs to be deeper than shiatsu. Shiatsu contains a specific use of feet to cover a wide expanse of your back. This form of therapeutic movement dissolves any knots and readily elongates muscles. Deep tissue is conducted with hands and has a more diverse range of motion to enhance healing, whereas shiatsu is a little more concentrated with its strokes. So, while one has wider motion, the other has a better depth. 

  1. Purposes

Deep tissue massages are used to target acute and less severe episodes of pain and can be used to relieve stress on a generic level. The practitioner doesn’t have to utilize gravity to their advantage and can use their hands to apply pressure, release stiffness, and bring comfort. For shiatsu, relieving chronic pain, stress, and immunity blocks is the main goal. Think of the two as interconnected but with shiatsu as a more advanced version of deep tissue therapy. 

  1. Cost

The cost of the procedure depends on the facilities provided in a set package along with the designated duration. A usual deep tissue massage lasts between 45 minutes to an hour. Since the movement is less precise but more prolonged, this process uses repetitive force. DTM cost usually falls between $80 to $100. On the other hand, the extra accuracy makes shiatsu a slightly expensive process. For a 90-minute session, you can expect to be charged between $150 to $200. The more detailed and care-driven a technique is, the more it will cost you. 

  1. Frequency 

Depending on your schedule, activities, and level of discomfort, you might need two to four monthly sessions of deep tissue massage as this method alleviates low to medium levels of pain and muscular stress. But for shiatsu, twice-a-month sessions could be more than enough due to the overall effectiveness. The more effective the technique is, the less you will need it unless or until your physical state demands so. 

  1. Effectiveness

Deep tissue massages could resolve surface-level exhaustion and muscle issues. Even without chronic pain, you can get a nice session and unwind. However, the deeply focused movements of shiatsu have proven to be an advanced therapeutic medium. So, regarding needing a durable and highly effective massage, shiatsu is the perfect choice. 

Which One Do I Need? 

Analyze yourself and try to assess your physical state. Deep tissue can be preferred if you need a good and adequate massage. But if you need thorough care and attentive techniques, shiatsu is a more suitable option.
We advise taking suggestions from an expert medical professional or masseur. This is how visiting a spa can help you make up your mind. Based on your described needs and conditions, the professionals can suggest a more suitable option out of the two or something else entirely. 

We hope all the confusion is cleared! Now, it’s time to try the type of massage you need. Luckily, our experts can perform all sorts of massage therapies, including the above two. So, if you are looking for shiatsu or deep tissue massage in Vancouver, WA, visit our website and book your session now! 

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