Shiatsu massage is a form of physical therapy that strengthens and supports the natural ability of the body to balance and heal itself. This works on the whole person, not only on the physical body but also on the emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of being. Shiatsu was primarily developed in Japan. With its name derived from the Japanese term for “finger pressure,” it involves applying pressure to specific points on the body, moving from one point to another in a rhythmic sequence.
The Japanese refined and developed most of its methods to suit their own temperament, climate and physiology. Specifically, they developed manual healing as well as diagnostic arts, altering special techniques of abdominal treatment, diagnosis and massage that are being used in the practice of shiatsu today.
Shiatsu eliminates muscle aches through pulling and rubbing the skin and muscles as well as by pressing on the acupressure points, thus releasing tension. This is a non-invasive therapy which helps in reducing anxiety, tension, depression and stress by leaving you calm and relaxed. Although scientists have yet to determine how or why shiatsu might improve health, it’s theorized that the treatment may calm the sympathetic nervous system and—in turn—stimulate circulation, reduce stress, and soothe pain.
Migraines develops as the result of rapid narrowing and widening of the blood vessels in the head or brain that causes pain and irritation. Shiatsu can help in aiding migraines through relaxing the body and enhancing blood circulation and blood flow all over the body.
It can help people suffering from weakness and fatigue through restoring and maintaining the energy of the body.
This can help stimulate circulate in the capillaries of the soft tissues of the skin. It also serves in stimulating the secretion of sebaceous glands and keeping the skin smooth and moist. This also helps in prevention of wrinkling and promotes skin resilience. The improved circulation of blood also helps in improving the glow and look of the skin.
The actual Shiatsu treatment is a kind of conversation between the practitioner and the energies in your body. When performing shiatsu, therapists apply deep pressure using their fingers, thumbs, and/or palms in a continuous sequence in order to unblock excesses of ki or stimulate areas that are lacking. The finger pads are used to apply pressure, and each point is typically held for two to eight seconds. In some cases, pressure points stimulated during shiatsu may feel tender but it should not hurt. People often describe this tenderness as “good pain.”
It’s advisable to wear loose, comfortable clothes when going for treatment, which will be carried on a mat or futon on the floor, or on a treatment table. Some practitioners will ask for a medical history, others will rely on what they can see, hear and feel for themselves, when they touch you, on the understanding that your body will tell its own story.
The session will last from 40 to 60 minutes, during which you may experience a variety of sensations and also emotions (crying, laughter, joy, serenity, stillness are quite common) as blocked energy is released. Shiatsu is typically done on a low massage table or on a mat on the floor. Although the sequence is often similar to other types of massage, no massage oil is used, so it is usually done with the client fully clothed in loose, comfortable clothing.
Research on the health effects of shiatsu is fairly limited, but there’s some evidence that it may offer certain benefits. Shiatsu is often used to lessen stress and protect against stress-related health issues. In addition, shiatsu is said to promote healing in conditions such as insomnia, menstrual problems, neck and shoulder pain, sciatica, sinus problem, anxiety, arthritis, back pain, constipation, headache. Shiatsu is also said to increase energy, promote recovery from injuries, and stimulate the digestive system.
While shiatsu is generally considered safe when done by a qualified professional, certain individuals should take caution and consult a physician before receiving shiatsu. For example, there’s some concern that shiatsu may have harmful effects in the following individuals – pregnant women, patients who have recently undergone chemotherapy or radiation, people with hearth disease, and blood clothing disorders.