Tag Archives: finger pressure

Self Shiatsu for headache relief

Self Shiatsu for headache relief

Did you know that you can use Self Shiatsu for headache relief? We all know what it is like to have a pounding headache.  Our usual response is to reach for the painkillers but what can we do when there are none at hand?  Well, one option open to us is to do some self Shiatsu and stimulate some, easily accessible and easily remembered, acupoints.

It is best that these are stimulated at the onset of the headache while you are able to focus on what you are doing rather than waiting until the headache is in full flow.


GB1diagram of GB meridian (Level with the eye corner, on the temple): Apply finger pressure and hold for 20 to 30 seconds.

GB14 (Above the middle of the eyebrow in the small groove that is halfway up the forehead):  Finger pressure and/or small massaging rotations for 20 to 30 seconds.

GB 12 (Below and behind the mastoid process): Apply finger pressure and hold for 20 to 30 seconds.

GB 20 (At the base of the skull, between the two large muscles [trapezius and the sternocleidomastoid]).  Apply finger pressure and hold for 20 to 30 seconds.


diagram of LI meridian

LI4 (Midway between the joint of the thumb and the index finger, and the border of the
web): Known as “The Great Eliminator” this point draws energy (qi) away from the head).  Apply thumb pressure and hold for 20 to 30 seconds.




The time quoted for stimulation is an approximation.  A good guide is that you hold the acupoint until any discomfort, from the finger pressure, starts to subside.

Easy to remember, easy to do, and all without ingesting chemicals.


When giving Shiatsu head massage, the giver sits/kneels at the head of the receiver.

  1. With the receiver lying in the supine position (face upwards), place both hands at the base of the skull and draw gently towards you (chin should tuck in slightly).
  2. Using the flat of your fingers, gently press in to GB20, noting the rate and depth of breathing and any other subtle movement in the musculature of the neck.
  3. Using your fingertips, start at the base of the neck and work up to the occiput making small circles at the level of each vertebra. Repeat three times noting any areas of tension and any difference between the left and right sides.
  4. With your fingers work on the Bladder meridian (one pair of acupoints at a time), 1 cun out from the spine, up as far as BL10 (just to the outside of the insertion point of trapezius muscle, under the occiput).
  5. Lift the head in both hands and rotate gently within their range of movement, taking note of any resistance or tension. Repeat in both directions.
  6. Cradling the head in one hand, turn it to one side and use finger/thumb pressure from GB20 (between trapezius & sternocleidomastoid under occiput) down the side of the neck to GB21 (top of trapezius). Repeat three times, staying longer on any tender or stiff points.
  7. Keeping the head anchored gently push the shoulder away to create a stretch on the neck.
  8. Squeeze down either side of the SCM muscle, again feeling the points and getting feedback about any referred pain. If such a point is found squeeze for five seconds then release.  Repeat until the pain lessens and then stretch the muscle.
  9. Turn the head to the other side and repeat steps 6-8.
  10. Centre the head and, using the thumb, stimulate the Governing Vessel points from between the eyebrows to the crown.
  11. With fingertips work Bladder meridian from BL2 (in the notch at the inside upper edge of the eye socket) 1 cun out from the mid-line.
  12. With flat of thumbs work along the forehead from centre to the temples, repeat three times, then stimulate TH23 at the outer edge of the eyebrow, and GB1 level with the outer corner of the eye just on the temple area. Both points good for headaches and tension.
  13. Work around the eye socket using finger pressure on the upper orbit and finger/thumb pressure on the lower orbit, making sure not to drag the skin.
  14. Massage in small circular movements at the temples.  The direction of the circles can be alternated.
  15. Using thumbs work down the sides of the nose, three times, and then stimulate LI 20 at the outside corner of the nostril.
  16. Using fingertips work along the underside of the cheekbone. Stimulate ST3 which is under the cheekbone and in line with the pupil of the eye (you need to hook your fingers slightly and pull back towards you).
  17. Work around the upper gum area, again being careful not to drag the skin, then squeezing top and bottom of the jaw from centre to outside edge.
  18. Make circular massage movements on the masseter muscle and press in on any tight parts.  This area holds a lot of tension and is involved in head pain and migraine.
  19. Gently take hold of the ears and pull up and down, backwards and forwards. Finish by pulling down on the ear lobes.
  20. The giver moves to kneel at the side of the receiver.  Then places one thumb or finger at the point between the eyebrows (the “Third Eye”) and the other at the Tandien (3 fingers width below the navel).  These points are held lightly for 10 seconds and then gently lifted off.


Shiatsu for health and wellbeing

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 Therapy

Shiatsu Therapy

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
  • Headaches
  • Digestion
  • Anxiety
  • Migraines
  • Sciatica
  • Menstrual/menopausal imbalances
  • Insomnia
  • Back pain
  • Post traumatic stress
  • Fatigue
  • Poor circulation

“This is the kind of massage I have always dreamed of and now I know it has a name, Shiatsu!” Billie Piper

Treatment for Tennis Elbow & Golfer’s Elbow

Treatment for Tennis Elbow & Golfer’s Elbow

There are a number of holistic, natural, treatments available for Tennis Elbow & Golfer’s Elbow. Here are some:

Complementary Treatment Options

Shiatsu therapy has a good success rate in the treatment of tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, using finger pressure on appropriate acupuncture points along with gentle stretching and manipulation to produce an increase in mobility and reduction of pain.
Shiatsu practitioners can work with conditions of both acute and chronic natures.

Allopathic Treatment Options

Resting the affected arm, applying ice packs, and taking painkillers and/or anti-inflammatory drugs. Ultrasound treatment may also help to reduce inflammation. In severe cases, injections of corticosteroids into the joint capsule may be required.

Treatment for Fibromyalgia

Treatment for Fibromyalgia

There are a number of holistic, natural, treatments available for Fibromyalgia. Here are some:

Complementary Treatment Options

Alleviating symptoms of fibromyalgia through the use of Shiatsu  and Qigong stretching exercises has shown promising results. Fibromyalgia reacts positively to the use of the gentle stretching and muscle manipulation, along with finger pressure on some of the trigger points (That are, coincidentally, located on acupuncture points).

Low impact aerobic exercises are also recommended, especially Taiji and Qigong as as they focus on posture and deep breathing and can lead to an increase energy levels.

There is an article on immunesupport.com that talks about the beneficial use of  Shiatsu in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Check out the link: Aches Define Life for Fibromyalgia Sufferers

Allopathic Treatment Options

At present, there is no cure and no specific treatment for fibromyalgia, but there are things that can help. There are drug regimes using a mixture of different drugs including painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication, and antidepressants to treat pain and any associated emotional problems.



In Western medicine you can use the analogy of the doctor as a repairman…. The repairman fixes things, waiting until he finds something wrong before acting. Here, in the West, our medical system developed in such a way that we, the patients, wait until something is wrong before asking the doctor to repair it. In the East, the analogy could be that of a gardener who constantly digs over the ground, removing weeds, adding nutrients and generally tending to his garden. It is through this constant care that he ensures healthy growth. Shiatsu covers both of these aspects – healing and promoting health.

Shiatsu (pronounced shee-at-soo) is a Japanese word meaning “finger pressure” and is the name coined early in the 20th century to describe this form of healing therapy. It has been recognised as a healing system by the Japanese Government since the 1950’s and now, in the 21st century, it has been recognised by the European Parliament and included as only one of six named Complementary Therapies in the European Register of Non-Conventional Medical Disciplines.

Shiatsu, sometimes referred to as Acupressure, developed from a blend of Chinese acupuncture and the Japanese system of Anma (massage). The Shiatsu therapist uses fingers, thumbs, elbows and knees to apply pressure to the acupoints, also incorporating gentle stretches and manipulations. This has the effect of stimulating the circulation and the flow of lymphatic fluid, helping to release toxins and deep seated tension in the muscles. Shiatsu works on both divisions of the autonomic nervous system and can stimulate the hormonal system. For the recipient, treatment can create a feeling of well-being and calmness.

Shiatsu can be used to treat a wide range of ailments including the following: –

• Sports injuries
• Frozen shoulder
• Tennis elbow & Golfer’s elbow
• Whiplash
• Neck/shoulder pain
• Sciatica
• Lumbar pain
• Leg cramps.
• Headaches
• Migraine
• Tinnitus
• Dizziness
• Insomnia
• Anxiety
• Tension
• Stress.
• Palpitations and panic attacks.
• Facial pain
• Sinusitis pain
• Catarrh
• Trigeminal neuralgia
• Bell’s palsy.
• Arthritic/rheumatic pain.
• Lethargy
• Depression
• Breathlessness
• Asthma
• Bronchitis.
• Constipation
• Diarrhoea
• Bloating
• Indigestion
• Nausea.
• Oedema/water retention.
• Menstrual problems.

1. It is best not to drink alcohol on the day of the treatment; have a light meal at least one hour before your treatment.
2. Do not take a long hot bath on the day of the treatment.
3. For treatment wear loose clothing (tracksuit, etc). You will usually remain fully clothed during Shiatsu treatment, which usually takes place on a futon, at floor level.

Response to treatment

After Shiatsu most recipients feel invigorated yet relaxed. The duration and the frequency of treatment will vary from person to person, as will the total number of treatments.

While patients generally experience increased well-being, there may be temporary “healing reactions” as the lymphatic system starts to clear out any waste (toxins) and, occasionally, negative emotions are released. Shiatsu affects all levels of our being, the physical, emotional and spiritual; treatment is attuned and tailored to the individual’s needs. The practitioner may also give advice on diet, exercise and lifestyle, encouraging self-understanding and greater independence on health matters.

When looking for a Shiatsu Therapist, as with any other therapists, it is important that you check that they are qualified. The letters MRSS (Member of the Register of the Shiatsu Society) show that the therapist has passed the appropriate examinations and criteria. The therapist should also display a certificate of Registration with the Shiatsu Society as well as displaying a current certificate of insurance.