What is Shiatsu?
Shiatsu is an ancient Japanese form of massage that incorporates finger touch on various points of the body to balance the Qi or life force energy. Shiatsu is sometimes referred to as acupressure. According to the Shiatsu Society, shiatsu practitioners aim to align the body’s inner energies with the physical body structure to ward of disease and maintain wellness by means of pressure and manipulation.
Shiatsu is a Japanese based form of Oriental Bodywork, similar to Tui Na. Acutally, Shiatsu was created out of Tui Na during the Meiji Dynasty in an effort to move Japan away from the perceived “mysticism” of Traditional Chinese Medcine. Points are held by the practitioner for longer periods than in Tui Na. Shiatsu excels in tonification of Qi and many may find it to be more relaxing than Tui Na.
What Are The Benefits?
Shiatsu is a non-invasive therapy that can help reduce stress and contribute to overall well-being and is used in bothpreventative and remedial treatment protocols.
Used in the treatment of a wide range of internal, musculoskeletal, and emotional conditions, Shiatsu is thought to reduce muscle stiffness, stimulate the skin, aid digestion, and influence the nervous system. Shiatsu is used to treat a wide range of chronic conditions, such as headaches, PMS, digestive disorders, fatigue, insomnia, fibromyalgia, stress, anxiety, and musculoskeletal pain, including low back, neck, and joint pain.
Are you muscles achy, tight and full of knots? Shiatsu helps muscle relax and receive more blood flow resulting in improved function and flexibility.
Do your hips, ankles or knees creak? This modality helps to open the synovial joints which increase lubrication of the joints and lessening creaking and relieving pain.
Do you feel “tight” and inflexible? During this session, adhesions in connective tissue and fascia release allowing the interstitial fluid to flow through the body.
Feeling rundown, low-energy or just kinda “blah”? Shiatsu promotes blood and Qi movement creating a greater sense of vitality.
Do you experience chronic pain? Through the application of massage and manipulation techniques, Shiatsu seeks to establish a more harmonious flow of Qi through the body, allowing it to naturally heal itself.
Who can benefit?
People of all ages in all types of physical condition. In addition to treating specific ailments, it is also an excellent way of maintaining optimal health, physically and mentally, as well as strengthening the body’s immune system.
What Conditions Can Shiatsu Treat?
By stimulating acupressure points and using passive and active joint movement, Shiatsu treats both acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, such as low back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, headache, insomnia, gastric pain and other common dysfunctions.
What Happens During a Session?
Each session begins with the practitioner conducting a formal assessment. On your initial visit, you will be asked to complete an Intake Form that asks basic medical information. This assessment will be used to create an individualized treatment protocol.
In a typical session, the client, wearing loose clothing and no shoes, lies on a table or floor mat. The practitioner examines the specific problems of the client and begins to apply a specific treatment protocol. The major focus of application is upon specific pain sites, acupressure points, energy meridians, and muscles and joints. Sessions last 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The client usually feels relaxed but energized by the treatment.
Do I Have to Undress?
No, but loose clothing that allows movement is preferred. You will be asked to remove your jewelry, belt and shoes while lying on your back or stomach or in a seated position. Various pressing, tapping, and kneading techniques with palms, fingertips, knuckles will be performed.
Does It Hurt?
The treatment is always customized to the needs of the individual; however, this is a therapeutic treatment targeted at the root of the problem, requiring firm and significant pressure. Particular areas of tension in the body may feel tender to the touch.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Shiatsu treatment has no adverse side effects. Some may feel very energetic and soothed which others may feel slightly tired – this is short term and is due to the movement of Qi. The effects of Shiatsu are primarily dependent on the nature and longevity of the condition being treated.
After a Treatment?
Drink lots of water and avoid alcohol intake. If possible, refrain from engaging in strenuous activities.
Shiatsu massage follows many of the same tenets as acupuncture, and aims to find various meridian points in the body to provide stress relief by applying pressure, instead of needles, to those points. Practitioners claim that the gentle pressure applied to the points of tension allow clients to relax and release negative thoughts and feelings that often cause stress. As with most massage, shiatsu is typically performed in a quiet environment often filled with soothing music. The manipulation techniques employed by shiatsu massage therapists can relieve tight muscles and stretch tense ligaments. Researchers at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) report that massage generally works to relieve anxiety by reducing blood pressure and lowering heart rate.
Shiatsu practitioners identify various pressure points associated with painful areas on the client’s body. Researchers at the Institute for Traditional Medicine report that shiatsu therapists work in a meditative state so they can become aware of when they touch on a point that affects their patient. They stay on the point and deliver additional pressure to relieve pain. NCCAM doctors report that many medical practitioners turn to various massage modalities, such as shiatsu massage, to help patients with chronic pain issues. Cancer patients and those with lower back pain often find relief from shiatsu’s gentle pressure treatments.
Shiatsu practitioners are trained to find areas in the body that are imbalanced, and manipulate or apply pressure to the spots to restore a healthy balance. According to the Institute for Traditional Medicine, shiatsu massage strengthens the immune systems and increases blood and lymph circulation, which can help prevent illnesses.