Shiatsu Therapy for the Effective Treatment of Migraine


The World Health Organization considers migraine to be one of the four most disabling chronic conditions. Shiatsu, a Japanese manual therapy involving the application of sustained, comfortable pressure to specific points on the body, can alleviate the pain and diminish the frequency of migraine. Shiatsu techniques for both acute and preventive care can be easily integrated with massage therapy and other modalities to provide clients with an effective treatment. We will discuss the pathology of migraine, causes, self-care techniques and evidence-based research for CAM and migraine. Demonstrations of shiatsu techniques will allow participants to confidently incorporate them into their treatments.


Leisa received an Honours Diploma in Shiatsu Therapy in 2001. She works at the Artists’ Health Centre, an integrative clinic at Toronto Western Hospital. She has presented and published across Canada and internationally. Professional interests include CAM for chronic conditions and self-management interventions.


Leisa is a Past President of Natural Health Practitioners of Canada and now sits on the Board of Directors of the Society for Oncology Massage. She is currently pursuing an MSc in Complementary Medicine Research.

Learning Objectives

  • An understanding of the pathology, triggers, phases and symptoms of migraine
  • Knowledge of the shiatsu points used to diminish the pain and frequency of migraine
  • A basic understanding of the theory and application of shiatsu

Learning Outcomes

Participants will be able to:

  • Advise clients on the symptoms of each phase of migraine
  • Incorporate shiatsu techniques for migraine into massage therapy treatments
  • Instruct clients on appropriate self-care for migraine


About the Presenter

Leisa has been practicing shiatsu therapy since 2001, helping clients maintain and improve their health through treatment and education. She is the Shiatsu Therapist at the Artists’ Health Centre, a unique integrative clinic at Toronto Western Hospital, part of the University Health Network. Leisa also works with both private and corporate clients, which have included the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and BBDO.

A key element of Leisa’s practice is education, be it one on one with clients or through workshops and speaking engagements. Leisa regularly presents on shiatsu, self-care and Complementary & Alternative Medicine (CAM) to numerous audiences across Canada and internationally. She has presented for the Alzheimer Society of Ontario, Natural Health Practitioners of Canada, Artists Health Alliance, the Australian Association of Massage Therapists and the Canadian Pain Society, among others.

Passion for her work and the natural healing professions led Leisa to volunteer with the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPC), serving on the NHPC Board of Directors from 2004-2008, as President from 2007-2008 and on several NHPC committees. She has also been volunteering at Toronto's Ronald McDonald House (RMH) for over a decade, where she offers short shiatsu treatments to the families living at the house. This has provided her with valuable clinical experience in working with severe stress and serious pediatric illnesses. She is now developing a health and wellness program for RMH.

Leisa’s professional interests include stress management, self-care interventions for chronic conditions and CAM research. Leisa was invited to present a research poster at the 2011 Alzheimer’s Disease International Conference titled The use of Shiatsu & massage in managing stress in Alzheimer’s patients & caregivers. Leisa was a co-investigator on a research project: Hand self-Shiatsu for sleep problems in persons with chronic pain: A pilot study, which was published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine. This project was awarded a Canadian CAM Research Fund Grant from IN-CAM. Leisa is currently working on a book on self-care for musicians and is pursuing a Master of Science in Advanced Complementary Medicine Research.


Cost: $30.00
Theory Presentation: 1 Hour
Technical Presentation: 1 Hour
Total Presentation Duration: 2 Hours
Assessment: Online short quiz (70% pass rate required)
Certificate of Completion: Downloadable on successful quiz completion