Home » Massage Techniques » What is Shiatsu Massage?

What is Shiatsu Massage?

Source : The Great British Channel

Shiatsu comes from Japan, albeit’s early foundations are based on very early Chinese theoretical medicine. It is based on the belief that stimulating points (acupuncture points) on the surface of the body can influence the functioning of internal organs within our body.

As in acupressure, shiatsu works by the application of pressure to acupuncture points in order to stimulate the body’s energy flow and remove any blockages from the energy channels or Meridians. It also incorporates massage techniques to treat a wide range of disorders.

The pressure points are located long the meridians where the energy channels lie close to the skin.

The Shiatsu Method

The name shiatsu comes from the Japanese for “finger massage”. Literally ‘shi,’ meaning finger, and ‘atsu,’ meaning pressure.

The shiatsu practitioner uses circular movements and firm pressure applied with the fingertips and thumbs to specific energy points or along the course of the energy channels.

Sometime practitioners use their heels of their hands, their elbows, their knees and even their feet to apply suitable pressure to the recipient. The strength of the pressure is dependent upon the location and on whether the aim is to stimulate or sedate the energy flow. Light stroking techniques are used where energy is congested, and sustained or stronger pressure is applied to stimulate the skin.

Where there is pain in a specific area such as the knee, the energy flow may be sluggish so the aim of the treatment is to clear the obstruction. For a painful joint, the practitioner will focus not only on the joint itself but also on points along the energy channels that pass through the affected areas, which may lie some distance away from the actual location of the pain.

How Can Shiatsu Massage Help

Similar to acupressure, shiatsu has been reported to be an effective preventative treatment and is useful for specific ailments such as:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Digestive problems
  • Bowel disorders
  • Sports injuries

Shiatsu has also been claimed to most effective in the relief of tension and other stress-related conditions, and muscuoskeletal disorders such as chronic neck and back pain. Shiatsu is also credited with preventing disease by boosting the body’s immune system.

Within the Western scientific community, there is no evidence to date that shiatsu is an effective medical treatment or that concepts such as meridians exist.

For treatments such as Cancer, Cancer Research UK, have advised that

“There is no scientific evidence to prove that shiatsu can cure or prevent any type of disease, including cancer. Also, a lack of high quality research so far means there is currently no scientific evidence to support the use of shiatsu for controlling cancer symptoms. This doesn’t mean that shiatsu doesn’t work in controlling symptoms or side effects, simply that it has not yet been tested properly





About Fiona Marsh

Next What is Acupuncture ?