Shiatsu as an adjuvant therapy for schizophrenia: an open-label pilot study

Altern Ther Health Med. 2009 Sep-Oct;15(5):44-6.


Context: Studies have suggested a possible role for shiatsu in treating a variety of mental and physical ailments.

Objective: To determine if shiatsu can provide clinical benefit to individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Design: An open-label pilot study.

Setting: An inpatient psychiatric ward at Herzog Memorial Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel.

Patients: Twelve hospitalized patients with chronic schizophrenia.

Intervention: Shiatsu treatment provided in a course of eight 40-minute biweekly sessions over 4 weeks.

Main outcome measures: All subjects were evaluated at baseline, 2 weeks, 4 weeks (end of treatment), and 12 weeks (followup). The tools used for assessment included the Clinical Global Impression (CGI), the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D), the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A), and the Nurses' Observation Scale for Inpatient Evaluation (NOSIE). Side effects were measured using the Simpson-Angus Scale for Extrapyramidal Symptoms (SAS) and the Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale (AIMS).

Results: On all scales of psychopathology and side effects, the subjects showed a statistically and clinically significant improvement by the end of treatment. This improvement was maintained at the 12-week follow-up. These findings, while encouraging, must be considered preliminary and require confirmation and cross-validation in larger-scale controlled studies.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupressure / methods*
  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cognition
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Holistic Health*
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Schizophrenia / therapy*
  • Social Behavior
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antipsychotic Agents