is a form of Oriental Therapy evolved from a 5000 years old
tradition of healing arts.
utilizes a combination of pressure and assisted-stretching
techniques, some of which are common to other therapies, such
as Massage, Physiotherapy, Acupressure, Osteopathy, Lymphatic
Drainage, Do-in and others. The treatment stimulates the
circulation and the flow of lymphatic fluid, releases toxins
and deep seated tensions from the muscles, stimulates the
hormonal system and the immune system, and acts on the autonomic
nervous system, allowing the recipient to relax deeply and
to get in touch with own healing power.
Benefits of Shiatsu include
Reduced stress & fatigue (tsubo) accumulated in the
circulation of blood and lymph
blood pressure and muscle stiffness
vitality, stamina and energy (Qi)
is a contemporary therapy with its roots in Oriental traditional
medicine. It is sometimes described as Japanese physiotherapy.
The actual treatment approach and philosophy is similar to
acupuncture in its usage of the meridians (energy channels)
and tsubo (pressure points) as well as diagnostic methods,
but without the use of needles. Unlike most other forms of
bodywork, in shiatsu the receiver remains clothed for the
treatment and no oil is used for the massage.
is a Japanese word made up of two written characters meaning
finger (shi) and pressure (atsu).
The application of pressure is the underlying principle of
shiatsu. Shiatsu is often called accupressure, although technically
it is not correct. We can say Shiatsu is a variant of accupressure,
as it involves the stimulation of the acupoints with pressure.
However, this is not the only thing nor the principal technique
used in Shiatsu. In Shiatsu, the pressure is sometimes applied
over a wider area, not just over the acupoints; sometimes,
the pressure is applied precisely over the acupoints. The
practitioners use fingers and thumb for applying pressure
precisely at localized points. For applying pressure over
a larger area, they use palms, elbows, knees, and feet.
addition to the pressure itself, shiatsu involves gentle stretch
and manipulation techniques. These may have been borrowed
from modern physiotherapy rather than from the ancient oriental
massage. But shiatsu differs from Western massage in technique
as well as in theory. While Swedish massage therapists use
long, flowing hand movements to knead muscles, shiatsu practitioners
apply rhythmic and gradual pressure to the meridians and tsubos.
Sometimes, very light 'holding' techniques may be used, usually
with the palm, almost like the laying on of hands as in spiritual
healing. Stretching exercises and other corrective techniques
creates flexibility and balance in the body, both physically
works on the flow of energy or qi that circulates through
our bodies in specific energy channels or meridians. Traditional
Oriental Medicine suggests that we all have a "life force"
or "life energy" which created our physical structure
and regulates physical, emotional, mental and spiritual stability.
This life force, called qi or chi in Chinese and ki in Japanese,
maintains a homeostatic balance in your body.
flow of qi can be disturbed either through external trauma,
such as an injury, or internal trauma such as depression or
stress. This is when symptoms like aches and pain start to
occur and we start to experience a state of "disease".
In shiatsu the physical touch is used to assess the distribution
of qi throughout the body and to try to correct any imbalances
is the essence of shiatsu. Touch is a wonderful means of communicating
our love and compassion for others in a very direct way. Touch
can be of very different quality, ranging from aggressive,
abusive and mechanical to more nurturing, caring and intuitive.
All living things responds to touch and shiatsu helps to fulfill
this need. The caring touch used in shiatsu will help to trigger
the self-healing process within.
modern shiatsu incorporates a mixture of different approaches
- ancient and modern. It includes pressing, hooking, sweeping,
shaking, rotating, grasping, vibrating, patting, plucking,
lifting, pinching, rolling, brushing, and in one variation
called barefoot shiatsu, it involves walking on the person's
back. Legs, and feet. These all share a common theme, namely
touch. Shiatsu is thus a 'hands-on' therapy.
has become a respected alternative therapy in the western
countries and is offered in many hospital settings as a complementary
therapy for the treatment and prevention of many common ailments.
It is a very safe and effective treatment.
originated in China at least 2000 years ago, when the earliest
accounts gave the causes of ailments and the remedies that
could be effected through a change of diet and way of life.
The use of massage and acupuncture was also recommended. Thus
acupuncture, massage and herbal medicine evolved side by side
to treat the range of diseases encountered. The traditional
massage of ancient China was known as 'anma' and found its
way to Japan to be adopted and adapted by the Japanese, who
also called it 'anma'. The therapy that is known today as
shiatsu has gradually evolved with time from anma under influences
from both East and West.
(anma in Japanese) has been used for centuries to deal with
many common ailments, aches and pains as well as treating
more serious "diseases". New influences from traditional
Eastern medicine and Western science have gradually shaped
it into what is today called shiatsu. There are several main
styles of shiatsu found in the West: barefoot shiatsu, macrobiotic
shiatsu, Namikoshi style, Ohashiatsu, Shiatsu-Do and Zen shiatsu.
These are all valid and effective therapies using the basic
shiatsu principles but with differing emphasis placed on techniques
or philosophy. In Japan there are more than 87,000 registered
shiatsu practitioners. This fact alone goes some way towards
demonstrating its effectiveness in the prevention and treatment
is only very recently that it has gained recognition and popularity,
with people becoming aware of its existence and benefits.
East and West have different viewpoints on health and life,
these can complement one another. The Eastern belief is of
a primary flow of energy throughout the body, which runs along
certain channels known as meridians. It is also believed that
this energy exists throughout the universe and that all living
creatures are dependent upon it as much as on physical nourishment.
The energy is known by three similar names, ki, chi and prana
in Japan, China and India respectively. As in acupuncture,
there are certain pressure points on the meridians that relate
to certain organs, and these points are known as tsubos.