Shiatsu, or Japanese massage, is actually a form of acupressure that evolves from 5,000 year-old Chinese healing practices. It uses finger, elbow, knee and thumb pressure to restore balance to the body, enhancing the mind and the vibrational spirit. Once you experience this treatment, you will feel lighter, freer, and more connected to yourself. The main goal of shiatsu is to prevent disease.
By applying various levels of pressure to acupressure points—along the energy pathways called meridians—blockages are relieved. The body then comes into a more balanced state of being.
The Principles of Shiatsu Massage
The principle of shiatsu work is that the body always wants to be in a state of health, and that it contains the ability to heal itself. Shiatsu stimulates the body’s ability to heal.
Shiatsu acts on the “ki” or life essence, (otherwise known as chi or prana), which maintains and nurtures our physical body, mind and spirit. The human body is a field of continually moving energy circulating through cells, tissues, muscles and internal organs. Any type of “dis-ease” is a sign that the energy, or ki, is out of balance—one part of the body has too much ki, while another part of the body is ki-deficient.
Ki excess or stagnation can be caused by stress, overworking, limited exercise, poor posture, trauma, lack of sleep or rest, low-quality food, a polluted environment and negative emotions.
Ki stagnation can show up as the following symptoms:
- lower back pain
- neck/shoulder pain
- premenstrual syndrome
- joint pain
- digestive disorders (diarrhea, constipation)
- high blood pressure
- poor circulation
The Shiatsu Treatment Process
A combination of techniques including gradual stretches and pressure, holding, and rhythmic rotations are used to encourage the flow of ki back to the deficient area.
The return of ki to the deficient or “kyo” areas will disperse the ki stagnations or “jitsu” areas.
Shiatsu sessions are performed on a futon on the floor. Receivers wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes. Sessions are usually one hour long, and are typically very comforting. You can expect to feel more relaxed and rejuvenated after receiving a shiatsu session.