Shiatsu (“finger pressure”) is a hands-on therapy that originated in Japan.
Similar to acupressure, there are no needles involved in shiatsu. Shiatsu therapists use finger and palm pressure to stimulate pressure points with therapeutic intention to restore harmony and balance to the recipient.
What are the benefits of shiatsu?
Most people find that shiatsu feels great. Shiatsu has been known to relax recipients; ease back, neck, and shoulder pain and headaches; reduce stress, anxiety, and depression; mitigate PMS; and help with insomnia and fatigue. As well, it can aid in injury recovery, boost the immune system, improve digestion, resolve constipation, and release toxins from the body. It also aids in deep muscle and tissue relaxation, and enhances mental and spiritual awareness.
Shiatsu treatments take place on a low massage table or on the floor. With shiatsu no massage oil is applied, so there is no need to remove any clothing during the treatment. Do wear comfortable clothing.
The shiatsu therapist will usually start by asking you some questions about your health and your reason for having a shiatsu treatment. The therapist may also feel for energy imbalances related to the internal organs in and around the abdomen and view signs of these in the back. Ultimately, the purpose of shiatsu (and of the diagnosis) is to identify sources of disharmony in the body and spirit and then try to remove them.
He or she will do this by applying steady pressure using his or her thumbs and palms. Some shiatsu practitioners may also use his or her elbows and knees to stimulate certain pressure points. You will notice that in shiatsu, the pressure applied by the therapist feels more specific than in other forms of massage therapy because the finger pads are used to apply pressure for most of the treatment. Some pressure points may feel tender. Tell your therapist if anything hurts during the treatment, and he or she will adjust the pressure.