Shiatsu has its roots in the Chinese healing systems. It was later adopted and developed by the Japanese after the introduction of Chen (Zen) Buddhism, aspects of Chinese philosophy and culture, and Chinese medicine into Japan in the Sixth Century. It incorporates a meditative approach to the healing process where the practitioner, through experience and with the proper training cultivates sensitivity to the movement of Ki by increasing his/her listening skill.
Zen Shiatsu bodywork is used to treat chronic ailments as well as promoting health, wellbeing and the ability to fight off illness. Treatment consists of two main tools, sedation and tonification of the meridians and points. With sedation the object is to prepare the Ki for movement, and this is done through a series of joint rotations, stretches, rubbing and palming. tonification is the attraction of the mobilised Ki by using pressure on the meridians and points (tsubos), with this pressure being applied using the thumbs, fingers, elbows and the knees. Shiatsu therapy is usually given at floor level on a futon. Unlike some other forms of body therapy, Shiatsu is carried out with the client fully clothed and without the application of oils, etc.
Shiatsu for health and wellbeing
Shiatsu (pronounced shee-at-soo) is a Japanese word meaning finger pressure and is the name created early in the 20th century for this gentle, efficient, healing technique. The Japanese Government recognised Shiatsu as a valuable part of their health system over 60 years ago. Here, in the West, we have only recently started to appreciate Shiatsu and it has now been recognised by the European Parliament and included in the European Register of Non-Conventional Medical Disciplines.
Shiatsu has some of its origins in Traditional Chinese Medicine and it is a blend of Chinese acupuncture and the Japanese system of Anma (massage). It is sometimes referred to as “Acupressure” but this is an inaccurate description as Shiatsu has so much more to offer. The practitioner may use fingers, thumbs, elbows and even knees to apply pressure on the tsubos (acupuncture points) as well as incorporating gentle stretches and manipulations.
These stretches, combined with the use of the tsubos, has the effect of stimulating the circulatory system and the lymphatic system, it works on both divisions of the autonomic nervous system, helps to release tension in the muscles, and can also stimulate the hormonal system. Shiatsu usually leaves a feeling of well-being and calmness, of being more in touch with one’s body and self.
Findings from the European Shiatsu Federation research study carried out by Professor Andrew Long at the University of Leeds.
The Experience and Effects of Shiatsu: A Cross-European Study.
- 89% of Shiatsu receivers felt calmer and more relaxed.
- Up to 60% of regular shiatsu receivers slept better.
- Receivers rated their symptoms as significantly reduced throughout the 6 month study.
- 86% said that shiatsu was effective in treating stress and tension, structural and postural problems, low energy and fatigue.
- Overall, Shiatsu receivers adopted a more relaxed, healthier and balanced approach to life.
- Reduced use of conventional medicine.
SHIATSU (meaning “finger pressure”) – is a Japanese therapy whose roots can be traced back to Chinese medical traditions and the Japanese massage know as Amna. Shiatsu combines Western knowledge of anatomy and physiology with the wisdom of, ancient, Eastern philosophy, employing techniques of manual pressure (using the fingers, thumbs & elbows) while also employing stretching to release muscular tension and stress.
There are a number of conditions that Shiatsu can benefit. These include: arthritic pain, menstrual irregularities, insomnia, muscular tension, muscular pain, digestive problems, anxiety, stress, and headaches.
By using sensitive, yet deep, pressure, applied to the tsubos (acupuncture points) along the meridians (the body’s energy pathways) Shiatsu induces a state of deep relaxation that allows the body’s natural healing mechanisms function more efficiently. It is well documented that stress & tension are detrimental to health and the operation of the immune system.
Shiatsu is, traditionally, given at floor level, on a futon. However, there are new techniques that allow for treatment to be carried out on a therapy chair or couch. The client is normally fully clothed during treatment and no oils, etc. are used.
Shiatsu can be used to treat people with specific ailments but the real beauty of this healing system is that it is most efficacious when received on a regular to keep the receiver in a good state of health and wellbeing.
Shiatsu can help with:
- Stiff neck and shoulders
- Menstrual/menopausal imbalances
- Back pain
- Post traumatic stress
- Poor circulation
“This is the kind of massage I have always dreamed of and now I know it has a name, Shiatsu!” Billie Piper