General Information
Are there any requirements for joining a course?
There are no academic requirements for participating in any of our courses.

The certificate and diploma courses build up on each other and therefore the certificate course must be completed prior to beginning the diploma course.

Pre-requisite for attending the certificate course is at least one introductory course.

If you are a student under 16 years of age, we request that you contact us to discuss your participation. This is because a certain level of maturity may be important for some courses.

How do I choose the right course for me?

We offer introductory courses and advanced training! Which one you may want to attend, depends on your experience level and interests.

Find out which course is right for you here.

Where are the courses held?

All of our courses are held in a private hall in rural Katikati, Bay of Plenty. This is where the weekend courses, tutorials and student clinics will be held.

If you can get together a reasonable sized group, we would consider traveling to a location near you.

A large portion of the Certificate and Diploma training will be achieved via distance learning and self-directed learning, reading and essays, which can be completed in the comfort of your own home, a library, cafe or where ever you like to study 🙂

What extra fees are associated with the courses?

Each Course has associated costs that may be variable, however all course fees are published with the course information on our website. There will be no hidden costs and all additional fees or costs not included in the price will be clearly mentioned in the course page. We are currently unable to offer accommodation on site.

My English literacy is not great. Can I still attend the course?
For the certificate and diploma training, courses include reading materials, written distance learning classes as well as written essays and case notes. Please talk with us about your attendance before you register,  if you have concerns about your ability to read course material or complete written assignments.

Although the Shiatsu Intro Course contains course materials with written content, it is completely possible to participate in the course without reading or writing, as the nature of the course is very practical.

What happens if I can't make it to my course?
Please let us know as soon as possible if you cannot make it to your course.

If you are booked into single weekend course (ie Shiatsu Intro Course) you will need to either change your booking to another date or transfer your course to a friend. Otherwise you will miss out and may loose your money.

Please read our Return and Refund Policy carefully.

If you are booked into a certificate or diploma course, and cannot attend a day or a weekend, you will need to catch up the missed hours / days either with a one-on-one session with your teacher (at your expense) or in the next available course. If you miss too much of the total course content, you may be asked to transfer to the next available certificate or diploma course as the weekend courses build up on each other. You will not be able to graduate until you have finished all the required materials and hours of the course.

What are the payment options?

Retreat weekends are generally paid in one payment at the time of booking through our online shop. 

There are payment plans available for the certificate and diploma programs. You can pay in one hit and get it out of the way before the course starts, or pay a deposit (on booking) and then continue to pay monthly or weekly (starting the week of the course start). The price goes up a little for each option, to offset the extra admin costs.  Generally speaking, monthly payments are $400 and weekly payments are $110, after paying a deposit.

To see the payment plans for your courses, find the program you are interested in and select ‘pay with payment plans’ above the ‘add-to-cart button’.

If you require another option for payment, please contact Jenni at

Weekend Courses / Introductory Retreats
What are the accommodation options in the area?

Currently, we are not able to offer accommodation on site.
But we have a few ideas for accommodation in the area, and some recommendations from past participants or friends

Download: Accommodation Options

What are the Course times?

Course Details will be sent to you after registration for the course.

Weekend retreats are always held on Saturdays & Sundays from 9am – 6pm.

We ask that participants aim to arrive a few minutes early so we can start at 9am sharp. The room will be open from 8.30am.

Is food provided?

Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea will be provided for both days.

All food provided will be free of animal products, and gluten-free options are available. If you have any other dietary requirements or allergies, please let us know via your participant information form, which we will send to you before the course.

Times are approximately:

  • Morning tea 10.30 – 10.45am
  • Lunch: 12.30 – 1.30pm
  • Afternoon tea: 3.30 – 3.45pm
What do I need to bring to my course?

All course materials are provided.

Please bring a pen and extra paper if you would like to take notes.

Wear comfortable clothes with long sleeves and long pants, and bring a spare pair of clean socks. You may also bring a towel, scarf or sarong to lie on if you like.

Do I get a certificate?

We do provide certificates for all of our courses, including the seasonal Weekend Retreats. Your certificate will be emailed to you in pdf format after completion of the weekend. 

Certificate & Diploma Programs
Can I practice shiatsu after completing the shiatsu certificate course?
The Shiatsu Certificate Course is only the first year of the practitioner training. It gives students a basic understanding of Shiatsu and the practices and underlying principles. This first year does not include diagnosis and treatment plans and as such does not enable students to treat clients from a qualified practitioners background.

Practitioners and therapists of other bodywork modalities will be able to include elements of Shiatsu into their existing treatments.

Can I legally work as a shiatsu practitioner after completing the diploma?
The diploma course we offer meets the requirements of the New Zealand Shiatsu Association and Charter of Natural Therapies standards and exceeds minimum hours of teaching and practice.

After successful completion of the full three year diploma, graduates will qualify for Shiatsu Association of Aoteaora (SPAANZ) membership.

New Zealand has no NZQA unit standards for Shiatsu Therapy.

How many hours does the certificate and diploma course encompass?

The full diploma training is divided into two parts:

The Certificate Course makes up the first year and encompasses 500+ hours of teaching, online reading and self-directed learning a week in addition to the 10 weekend courses. Students should expect to spend between 8 and 10 hours weekly on course-related activities in addition to the 10 weekend courses.

The Diploma level makes up the remaining 2 years and totals 1100 hours of teaching, online reading and self-directed learning. Student should expect to spend between 10 and 12 hours weekly on course-related activities in addition to the 10 full weekend courses per year.

Find out more about the Certificate in Shiatsu Program

Find out more about the Diploma in Shiatsu Therapy

Is the training valid to practice Shiatsu overseas?
Shiatsu accreditation across different countries varies and will be the students responsibility to enquire about for the area in which they intend to work.

Most countries require significantly less hours than our diploma training provides.

Are there exams to pass the training? What about Assignments?

There are no written or practical exams to pass as such.

As an education provider, we have our own quality standards and as long as you are present for the minimum hours of teaching and independent study and committed to the course outcomes, your teachers will work with you to achieve competency in the topics covered.

There is an introductory reflection exercise before the certificate course starts, so get yourself tuned into what you want to achieve.

There will be assignments (essays) in both the Foundation Level and Diploma courses. The instructions and delivery of these are through the online platform, and these will be discussed in detail in the related weekend modules. If we think your essay is missing any vital information or you have not correctly or fully understood the material, we will support you to gain the missing knowledge and you will be able to revise and edit your assignment until we can pass it. There is no grading, just a competent pass or re-do.

We want to support you on your journey to becoming a competent shiatsu practitioner

Can I cross-credit any other study towards my Shiatsu Diploma?

Many of our students are looking for a change of career or seeking to enrich their current body work practices with Shiatsu, when they enrol in the Certificate and Diploma. For this reason, we welcome applications for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), based on relevant qualifications you may already have, current or recent relevant work experience, and where pertinent, life experience. You will need to provide evidence of these skills and knowledge in your application. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss if your skills, experience and qualifications are appropriate for Recognition of Prior Learning.

This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Generally, all students must attend all of the Practical Shiatsu based workshops within the training as well as the practical hours, swaps and student clinics. There may be other parts of the training that can be cross-credited.

If you have a health related qualification and can prove a minimum of 100hrs of anatomy and physiology training, the anatomy and physiology course will not be mandatory for you. We will need a copy of this.

How is each weekend run? What can I expect?

The weekend flows pretty much like the retreat weekend or intro course you attended. We always start with connecting with self and others, usually shiatsu self-massage, stretches, or Japanese yoga. Each weekend has an overarching topic (again, much like the seasonal approach of the weekend retreats). We look at a couple of focus meridians each weekend and do loads of practice. You will also be instructed on any assignments coming up and be able to have questions answered regarding the shiatsu sessions you have given between courses.

What are the tutorials?

After most weekend modules, there is a tutorial. The tutorial allows you to focus on the areas you feel you need more practical advice or clarity. They are immensely helpful to recap the weekend and get in more informal teaching and practice in. As a group, you get to steer where this session goes and what you need from your tutors. These are optional for the foundation level, but mandatory in the diploma program.

Coming from Wellington each weekend, I was not going to attend these sessions, but I attended the first one and changed my schedule as I realised how beneficial this was going to be for me – Alex (Certificate Student 2022)

What are the external modules of the Certificate Program?

Two parts of the certificate in Shiatsu are to be reached externally:

  1. Anatomy & physiology (100+hrs): there are several options for this. I have attached a sheet with the requirements and a few recommended options that our past students have completed.

  2. First Aid: You must have a valid First Aid Certificate at the completion of the training

These costs are not covered by Shiatsu Bodywork Academy and are in addition to your fees with us. You can upload the certificate for these on our online portal.

Download the external course requirements

How much study do I need to do between the certificate course modules?

That is very much up to you. The course modules are woven together with our online course platform, which will give you access to the entire course as you progress through it. The platform contains information about all the expectations, learning outcomes, and content for each weekend module. Once you have completed the weekend course, it gives you access to all the handouts in digital form, as well as a bunch of extra reading in the form of pdf documents or links to articles and websites. You can choose to dive as deep as suits you into this experience.

You must complete 30 sessions on friends and family (with written reflections), and 2 written essays throughout the certificate training.

The certificate course encompasses 500 hours of teaching, online reading and self-directed learning. Students should expect to spend between 8 and 10 hours weekly on course-related activities in addition to the 10 weekend courses.

What are the Oriental Practice and Self Awareness components?

We expect students to undertake some form of Daily Reflective Practice (50-100 hours per year), preferably of oriental origin, which could be breath work, meditation, tai chi, or other. 

What about reading lists?

We provide you with some reading for each module (easy to a little deeper, so there’s something for everyone). All course material is provided and you do not need to purchase any books or materials for this training. We quote excerpts from many amazing books throughout the year, and these are referenced on the course platform, so you can choose to purchase books if you wish… here’s to the starting point for further exploration!

What if I get sick and can't make a module?

We will support you to complete the training as smoothly as possible. The easiest way to do this is to be at each weekend module and do the intended work between modules to stay up to date.

However, in between everything we have planned, we experience life! The weekend modules are built upon each other in the order they are placed in the year, but no module is a prerequisite for another. So, while we don’t encourage this, you can miss a weekend if something happens and continue with the rest of the course. Each weekend module is mandatory, meaning you will still need to complete the missed module (in the next year’s training), and will be awarded your certificate when you have attended all 10 weekends of the program.

Still have questions? – contact Jenni at or 027 4595 898