Ancient Healing for a Modern World
What is shiatsu?
Shiatsu is a Japanese form of bodywork. The word shiatsu means "finger pressure", and shiatsu is sometimes described as a finger pressure massage. Shiatsu is usually performed with the client fully clothed, so it is best to wear loose fitting clothing.
How does shiatsu work? Like acupuncture, shiatsu is based on the holistic system of traditional Chinese medicine, where illness is thought to result from imbalances in the natural flow of energy, or qi (pronounced "chee") through the body. Shiatsu therapists use finger and palm pressure to energetic pathways, called meridians to improve the flow of qi.
A scientific explanation is that shiatsu calms an overactive sympathetic nervous system, which improves circulation, relieves stiff muscles, and alleviates stress.
What does shiatsu feel like?
The shiatsu therapist applies pressure using his or her fingers, thumbs, and/or palms in a continuous rhythmic sequence.
The pressure feels more localized, because unlike other types of massage, the finger pads are used to apply pressure for most of the treatment instead of the entire palm.
Certain pressure points may feel tender, which some people describe it as "good pain."
If you feel any discomfort or pain during the treatment, tell your therapist and he or she will adjust the pressure so that it is comfortable to you.
What conditions is shiatsu used for?
Neck and shoulder pain
Recovery from injuries