Types of Therapeutic Japanese Massage in London

Category: Massage
Last updated on: 07/09/2023
Zen garden representing our Japanese Massage in London services

Looking for an authentic Japanese massage experience without leaving London? From Shiatsu to Ampuku, discover various styles delivered by professional Japanese therapists in your area. 


Distinctly Japanese: Variants of Massage Styles

Before delving into the nuances of each unique style, it's worth noting that Japanese massage therapies are diverse, each with its own set of techniques and benefits. Whether you seek deep relaxation or targeted relief, there's a Japanese massage form tailored to your needs.

Let's begin with one of the most renowned styles:




One of the most recognised forms of Japanese massage in London, Shiatsu melds ancient Chinese medical practices with modern wellness. It involves the application of targeted pressure using thumbs, fingers, and sometimes elbows, on specific reflex points. 

Did You Know? Shiatsu is renowned for offering relief from conditions like asthma.

In London, Shiatsu is often combined with Western oil-based treatments to offer a comprehensive massage experience.

Interested in Shiatsu?

To explore Shiatsu in greater detail and to book a session, visit our dedicated Shiatsu page.




Developed by a Buddhist Japanese monk, Reiki is a somewhat controversial style, if there is such a thing in massage. This is because the technique is especially unique from all other forms of massage - the therapist does not touch you at all!

This type of treatment is instead based on concepts of metaphysical or spiritual energy. A Reiki practitioner focuses their mind (rather than their hands) on connecting with your mental energy.

Tip: To experience the Reiki Japanese massage style in London, choose a therapist who incorporates it into a traditional full body massage.

That way, you get the normal contact based massage that you are more accustomed to and as a possible added benefit, may also experience a feeling of spiritual warmth and connection if the Reiki part works for you.

Interested in Reiki?

To find local Reiki massage therapists, check out our local Team profiles.




Ashiatsu is a unique type of massage that originated in Japan and literally translates as "foot pressure". 

Note: Ashiatsu can be deeply relaxing and penetrating.

Instead of hands, therapists press down on to their clients body with their bare feet, using body weight and the power of gravity to apply a deeper level of pressure.

Interested in an Ashiatsu massage?

Find out more about Japanese Ashiatsu massage in our dedicated article. 




The oldest form of Japanese massage, this type of therapy was traditionally performed by blind therapists in ancient Japan and developed from one of the most popular types of Asian massage, the Chinese technique of Tui Na.

Therapists often use their knuckles and elbows to apply firm and intense pressure to various parts of the body. They focus pressure along the meridian lines as well as briskly kneading and actively tapping the body to encourage increased blood circulation. 

Caution: Anma is intense and not for the faint-hearted.

Nowadays, Anma has by and large been replaced by its successor Shiatsu, which is based on the same principles but far less intensive and a more relaxing experience whilst still penetrating tight muscles.

Keen on an Anma massage?

If you want an Anma massage in London, choose a therapist who does Shiatsu and Deep Tissue massage. When your therapist arrives, ask her to combine the two styles. If she speaks Japanese, say you want a “按摩“ style massage treatment!




Another ancient Japanese massage style and one that is still in popular demand today is Ampuku massage. This treatment is focused entirely on the abdomen area of the body, which is known as the Hara “腹“ in Japanese.

It is important to appreciate that Ampuku (or Hara massage) is not simply a stomach massage. It is a spiritually based therapeutic approach to dedicating time to a specific and highly regarded region of the body – the abdomen. In Japanese culture it was believed that the abdomen is central to your mental and physical wellbeing. In essence, the ancient Japanese believed that the abdomen comprised the nucleus of the universe of your overall health.

Fact: Ampuku is not just a stomach massage; it's a holistic approach to abdominal health.

Whilst this philosophy may be less familiar in the Western world, popular English terms such as “I feel sick to my gut” or “go with your gut” suggest that the significance of the abdomen in one's overall mental health is an internationally acknowledged concept.

Want an Ampuku treatment?

To explore Ampuku as part of your Japanese massage in London, choose our Shiatsu style and then select the belly as your preferred focus area on FocusMate™ in our online booking system.



Japanese Self-Massage ('Do-In')

To get the best and most authentic experience of a Japanese massage it is best to book a therapist who has trained in one of the styles described above. However, you can also try out many of the techniques described above at home yourself.

DIY: You can perform many Japanese massage techniques at home through 'Do-In'.

Two of the most popular forms of Do-In is performing Shiatsu on your own feet and Ampuku self-massage.

Fancy trying out Japanese Self-Massage?

Try a Japanese Do-In session at home with our easy to follow guide on how to give yourself a foot reflexology massage.

Alternatively, buy a pair of Kenkoh slippers and wear them at home to enjoy Japanese reflexology when walking around at home!



A Step-by-Step Guide to Japanese Massage (Ampuku Hara)



Approximately 5 minutes



Three separate stages


Step 1: Circular Strokes

1. Your therapist starts by using the palms of both hands.

2. They will perform circular strokes in a clockwise direction around your belly.

3. These strokes mimic the path taken by food along your digestive canals.


Step 2: Light Acupressure and Palm Presses

1. The therapist applies light acupressure using fingertips and thumbs.

2. This is focused along the meridian line running down the centre of your abdomen.

3. Soothing palm presses are then combined with the acupressure.


Step 3: Side-to-Side Palm Slides

1. The therapist sits beside you.

2. They reach over to the far side of your torso and place both hands against your abdomen, palms down.

3. Slowly, they pull their hands back to the near side of your torso.

4. This movement is repeated several times.

5. The therapist then swaps to the other side of your abdomen to perform the same motions.


By following these steps, your Japanese Hara massage will be complete.




Japanese massage, or “manoeuvring treatment" as it is commonly known in Japan, is an established and natural form of therapy widely used and readily available in London.

The techniques in use today were originally derived from ancient Asian folk practices since the Taisho era purely for medicinal purposes. Nowadays as well as continuing to be used as a form of alternative medicine for restoring and maintaining health it is also increasingly associated with simple relaxation. The Western concept of a spa day equivalent is to visit an Onsen followed by a massage.

To try one of the best therapeutic Japanese massages London has to offer, choose a professional therapist qualified in holistic Japanese treatment styles using our online search function. Simply enter your postcode below to start the process:



It is worth noting that just as Japanese massage styles have increased in popularity througout Europe and America, Western massage styles such as Swedish massage and aromatherapy (known as ‘Aroma Massage’ in Japan) have become more popular in Asia. Today, most London-based Japanese massage therapists perform a combination of Asian and Western massage styles together in one session, as these have proven to be the most popular with customers.


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