An ancient Japanese technique that can ease stress, muscle pain, nausea, anxiety and depression can be learned through home-study massage courses. That technique is shiatsu massage.

Home-study courses offered are used to maintain and promote the body’s health and typically focus on the use of the therapist’s fingers and palm, which are used to apply pressure to sections of the body to correct imbalances.

An Internet search revealed numerous home-study courses that are available for any massage therapist to take to fulfill his continuing education requirements.

Home-study courses on shiatsu focus on a variety of areas including the meridians, ampuku, Five Element Shiatsu, contrasting views of Eastern and Western medicine cultures, taiji and abdominal digestion. The courses also focus on how to apply shiatsu to the neck, limbs, body and head.

According to a recent study, researchers found shiatsu massage “contributed to the general promotion of good health among clients.”

The study, “The potential of complementary and alternative medicine in promoting well-being and critical health literacy: a prospective, observational study of shiatsu,” was conducted through a survey that was completed by 633 shiatsu clients and 85 practitioners in Spain, Austria and the United Kingdom.

The questions posed to the clients included asking about what they hoped to achieve by receiving shiatsu, the client-therapist relationship, life changes made as a result of shiatsu and what areas of their life they changed.

For the therapists, questions in the survey focused on how they practiced shiatsu and what types of advice they provided to clients.

During a six-month follow up, about 80 percent of the clients reported they had made lifestyle changes as a result of receiving the shiatsu session. The most common trait among those changes included increases in rest and relaxation, as well as exercise.

Make sure to check with your national and state licensing bodies to make sure the courses you select are acceptable for continuing education credits.