|Shiatsu is a whole-body, holistic treatment that combines massage,
acupressure and stretching. The word shiatsu means 'finger pressure', and
sometimes, people describe the practice of shiatsu as 'acupuncture without
Shiatsu is in fact an ancient healing-massage from Asia, and is aimed at
making sure that energy or 'qi' (pronounced 'chee') flows freely around your
body, along its 'meridians' or energy-paths. Life can be difficult - emotionally
and physically, and takes its toll on your body, leaving 'scars' or blockages to
your energy, unbalance you. Like acupuncture, shiatsu aims to unblock the
'qi', restore your body's natural balance; when your body is balanced and the
energy flows freely, your general health, and self, will be well.
Shiatsu uses a range of different techniques, many of which you would find in
other treatments including physiotherapy, deep tissue massage or Thai
As shiatsu is a healing-massage, regular treatments should work with your
body's immune system and strengthen its ability to heal itself.
As with other forms of massage, shiatsu encourages your blood and lymph to
flow around your body, taking oxygen to your organs and skin, helping them
to release toxins and stimulating your immune system. Shiatsu also acts on
the nervous system and helps you to relax. Shiatsu can relieve pain and
stiffness in your muscles and joints, and help your body to release tension,
which in turn means that you should sleep better and feel more relaxed within
A Japanese-style pressure point technique based on the concept of
acupuncture. This massage works on vital energy points resulting in
balanced Chi (life force energy).
|Shiatsu is a form of Japanese massage which aims to correct energy
imbalances within the body. Shiatsu is the Japanese word for ‘finger
pressure’, and in this type of massage the practitioner applies pressure
to the main energy pathways within the client’s body. These pathways or
channels are known as meridians and they are the routes along which
the life-force energy travels within the body. The aim of the therapy is to
release energy where there are any blockages, and to move energy into
those areas of the body that are depleted.
How does it work?
By clearing blocked and stagnant energy within the body the therapist
encourages the client’s natural flow of chi (often also referred to as ki or
qi), which is the life force within every living thing. In addition, scientific
research also suggests that the pressure applied by the practitioner
during the treatment may encourage the release of endorphins, which
are the body’s natural painkillers.
What does it involve?
At the first session, the therapist will begin by taking notes relating to
the client’s medical history and lifestyle. After that, the client will be
asked to lie (fully clothed) on a mat on the floor. The therapist will then
use his or her fingers, palms, knuckles, elbows, knees and feet, to apply
pressure to the client’s meridians, which are sited throughout the body.
The treatment usually takes between forty-five minutes and an hour and,
when the shiatsu has been completed, the practitioner may also offer
nutritional and lifestyle advice.
What is it good for?
Shiatsu is used to treat a range of conditions including back, neck and
shoulder pain, circulatory problems, digestive disorders, sinusitis,
catarrh, asthma and bronchitis, migraine, headaches, chronic fatigue
and stress related problems such as anxiety and depression.
What are the benefits?
Shiatsu is widely regarded in Japan as a means of maintaining good
health and preventing illness and disease. This is because a shiatsu
practitioner can identify and correct the energy imbalances before they
develop into symptoms and then into disease. Many clients report
feeling invigorated and energised after a shiatsu treatment, whilst some
people feel very relaxed and sleepy.
What are the side effects and when should it be avoided?
Shiatsu can be a fairly vigorous therapy, as the therapist will use a range
of pushing, squeezing and twisting movements in order release stagnant
and trapped energy. It should be avoided by anyone with open wounds,
rashes, infectious skin diseases (e.g. Impetigo); anyone who has
phlebitis, varicose veins or is prone to blood clots; anyone who has a
recent fracture or sprain; anyone who has had recent chemotherapy or
Massage of the abdominal area should be avoided by anyone who has
an abdominal hernia, or who is in the first three months of pregnancy. It
is important not to eat, drink alcohol, exercise vigorously or take a hot
bath for at least one hour before or after shiatsu treatment
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