Shiatsu comes from a Japanese style, or form of bodywork. The word ‘Shiatsu’ itself literally means ‘finger pressure’, which is why the techniques are sometimes referred to as finger pressure techniques.
Much like acupuncture, shiatsu leans on the holistic spectrum of techniques. In particular the Chinese traditional medicine, where belief in a person’s Qi is believed to be the reasons behind their illness.
Trained Shiatsu therapists use their fingers and palms to apply pressure to specific points on a person’s body. Known as energetic pathways, and meridians, with the intention of improving the flow of Qi through their body. In turn improving their health.
Looking at this technique from a scientific stance, the pressure and massage calm the overactive sympathetic nervous system. Improving the person’s blood circulation, relieving aches and pains, and reducing the symptoms of mental conditions such as stress and anxiety.
Understanding Shiatsu Massage Techniques
What Does a Shiatsu Session Feel Like?
Shiatsu therapists apply pressure to the specific body points using their hands. In particular their thumbs, fingers, and palms. Using a continuous motion in rhythm to massage the areas.
Unlike most other types of massage, finger pads are typically used. It can feel a little uncomfortable, or even painful for some. But this is usually described as a good pain as the person can feel the benefit.
If it’s too uncomfortable or painful for you, you should ask the therapist to stop. Discuss with them what is hurting, and see if there is a reason. Maybe they just need to be a little more gentle, everyone is different.
What Should You Expect from Your First Shiatsu Massage?
Shiatsu is carried out on a table, or even the floor in some instances. There are no oils used, which is another thing that separates this type of massage from the more conventional.
You remain fully clothed during the process. So it’s a lot quicker and easier to get ready for, and more convenient for a lot of people. As the undressing part is something that keeps people from having a traditional massage.
Conditions Helped with Shiatsu Techniques
Here are some of the more common conditions Shiatsu therapists say they can help with:
- Back pain
- Sleeping problems
- Digestion issues
- Arthritis pain
- Excessive tiredness
- Muscle pains
If you are looking into treatment for any of these conditions, keep in mind that there is not a substantial amount of scientific evidence. Shiatsu is an alternative form of therapy, and such be treated as such.
Precautions to Take with Shiatsu Massage
Shiatsu is not recommended for everyone, and you should always be aware if you are at risk of any health issues. Here are some of the common conditions that will prohibit you from have a shiatsu treatment:
- Infectious skin conditions, open wounds, rashes etc
- You have recently had a surgery
- You have recently had radiation therapy
- You’re prone to blood clots
There are many other health conditions that will make Shiatsu a bad decision. Always consult with your doctor before going for your first treatment. Also, air any concerns with the shiatsu therapist.
I’m a MA, (CMT) Certified Massage Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and Reiki Master — I’m a licensed massage therapist with over 10 years of experience in the industry.