Delivering shiatsu in a primary care setting: benefits and challenges

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2012 Feb;18(1):37-42. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2011.07.001. Epub 2011 Aug 3.


Aim: To pilot the delivery of shiatsu in primary care and investigate the non-clinical impact on the general practice, its patients and staff.

Design: Ten patients, referred by four GPs, were each offered six shiatsu treatments with a qualified practitioner.

Setting: An inner-city general practice in Sheffield, England.

Methods: 36 semi-structured interviews, evaluated with Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and practitioner research including a reflective journal.

Findings: GPs welcomed having more options of care, especially for patients with complex, chronic symptoms, and patients appreciated the increased time and holistic, patient-centred approach during shiatsu consultations. Participants claimed the clinic increased equality of access to complementary medicine, improved perceptions of the general practice, reduced consultation and prescription rates, enhanced GP-patient relationships and the working practices of the GPs and shiatsu practitioner.

Conclusion: The study successfully integrated a shiatsu clinic into a general practice and offers a model for future research on complementary medicine in primary care.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupressure*
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Chronic Disease
  • England
  • Female
  • General Practice / methods*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Holistic Health*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Urban Population