I often hear people when I talk about shiatsu, they say, "Oh is that the painful body work?" It has this connotation of being painful or deep and what I really love about shiatsu is that it can be extremely deep but it can also be very subtle and light. And why that is, is that no two sessions are alike.
Most practitioners will check out what's going on in the body by talking to the client as well as from their own diagnostic tools and figure out what the person needs to best balance their body. So if someone is feeling extremely tight and their energy is really accumulated and bound up they might need a really deep session to help release that. Whereas if someone on the flip side is coming from a weaker constitution and their body is needing rejuvenation and recharge, then the session might be slower and lighter touch.
And so this really changes and it runs the full spectrum. So no two sessions are alike and it can be deep but it's not always deep.