What Is It?
How Does It Work?
What Happens During Treatment?
What Is It Used For?
What Is It?
Shiatsu, meaning “finger pressure”, is a Japanese massage
therapy which involves applying pressure to points on the body called “tsubos”.
It combines energy balancing with healing touch. Shiatsu is similar
to acupressure, but also uses relaxing massage and gentle stretching
techniques to improve the flow of energy through the body.
The techniques used in shiatsu have been practised for thousands of
years, but it wasn’t until the mid 20th century that shiatsu
was recognised by the Japanese government as a therapy which promotes
health and treats illness.
How Does It
Shiatsu is based on the same meridian system of energy used in traditional
Chinese medicine. Blockages in the flow of vital energy, ki (qi in
Chinese), are thought to cause illness, and the aim of shiatsu is to
remove those blockages. This is achieved by using the thumbs, fingers,
palms, elbows, knees and feet to manipulate pressure points known as
tsubos (equivalent to acupoints) along the meridians, which correspond
to other parts of the body. Rebalancing the flow of ki through the
body enhances vitality and promotes natural healing.
Shiatsu may also work by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural
painkillers, and lowering the level of stress hormones in the body.
What Happens During
During your first visit your practitioner will take a medical history
and ask about your diet, lifestyle and any specific health problems.
S/he may examine your abdomen, back or 12 special pulses which correspond
to the meridians, to assess the quality of energy in your body. You
will normally be asked to wear loose, comfortable clothing for the
session. Treatment usually takes place on a mat on the floor. You will
spend some of the time on your back, some lying on your front, and
some time sitting up while the practitioner works the shoulders.
Various techniques are employed, mostly involving the use of the fingers
and thumbs to press, stretch or rotate parts of the body. Zen shiatsu
practitioners use their whole bodies to apply pressure, while those
using barefoot shiatsu use their feet as well as their hands.
Some people describe the experience of shiatsu as “pleasurable
pain”, many feel relaxed during treatment and invigorated afterwards.
The therapy may bring about the release of pent up emotions as related
areas of tension are worked on.
What Is It Used
Shiatsu is recommended for general improvement of the circulatory,
immune and nervous systems. It is particularly helpful for stress related
problems, and may also help to relieve headaches, menstrual problems,
constipation, back and neck pain, insomnia, chronic muscle tension,
asthma, nausea and arthritis.
Avoid shiatsu if you have open wounds, bone fractures, inflamed or
injured areas, slipped disks, varicose veins, phlebitis or are prone
to blood clots.
Avoid massage in the abdominal area if you are in the first trimester
of pregnancy of have an abdominal hernia.
Some people report temporary “healing reactions” after
a shiatsu session as toxins are released. These may include headaches
or flu-like symptoms.
a Shiatsu Practitioner
Prices are in US Dollars
The Complete Book of Shiatsu Therapy
"The Bible of shiatsu and acupressure. This book is
exactly what any would-be practitioner of Shiatsu and acupressure
needs. If you are just starting out, or if you've taken years
of classes, Mr. Namikoshi will show you step-by-step exactly
what points to hit, in what order for maximum effectiveness,
and using what positioning of the body as well as the hands
and fingers you are applying with. No homoeopathic practitioner
should be without this book."
The Complete Illustrated Guide to Shiatsu: The Japanese
Healing Art of Touch for Health and Fitness
"Elaine Liechti has done a wonderful job of sharing
her passion and knowledge of shiatsu. This book is a complete,
concise, yet easy-to-understand introduction to shiatsu;
what it is, the history, the different schools of shiatsu,
the basic principles, and how to do it. The book is well
structured and has lots of diagrams, photos and illustrations
to capture your interest. This book is certainly the most
comprehensive and comprehensible book on shiatsu I have seen." -
The Book of Shiatsu: A Complete Guide to Using Hand
Pressure and Gentle Manipulation to Improve Your Health,
Vitality and Stamina
With shiatsu (a Japanese word meaning "finger pressure")
you can release and stimulate the energy flowing through
your body -- using just your hands and fingers -- to awaken
your body's natural healing modalities. The Book of Shiatsu
is the authoritative, step-by-step guide to this uniquely
effective therapy. The techniques offered are simple and
can be used to treat a variety of health problems, particularly:
• Arthritic conditions
• Emotional stress
• Headaches and migraines
• Intestinal disorders
• Menstrual and reproductive problems
• Muscular pain and tension
Here you'll find more than 240 colour drawings and photographs
in a brand-new, accessible format, demonstrating how to give
both whole-body and specialized massages, diagnose specific
conditions, and work with the body's energy meridians to
promote sustained health and well-being.
<< Natural Therapies Index