What it is:
Shiatsu, literally translated, means “finger pressure” and is an Asian style of bodywork, based in Traditional Chinese Medicine. With its focus on meridian pathways (channels of energy flow throughout the body), Shiatsu bodywork distinguishes itself from other Asian modalities. Direct pressure with palms, elbows, and knees, specific point work (similar to acupuncture/trigger point therapy), joint rotations and stretches are used to clear congestion and invigorate depleted areas, thereby bringing the body back into balance.
History of Shiatsu:
The Japanese root of Shiatsu is the massage art of Anma, typified by the nomadic practitioner who earned a living visiting various communities. To bring focus to this manual therapy as a healing art, practitioners in the early 20th century synthesized the classical texts of acupuncture with common folk-medicine massage techniques to generate anatomically based and energetically structured guidelines.
What to expect in a Shiatsu session:
A clothes-on modality, Shiatsu is traditionally performed on a padded floor mat, which allows for a wider range of techniques than can be delivered on a table. However, the techniques can also be adapted to table work. You should wear loose, comfortable clothes that allow for movement and stretching. Treatment usually begins with abdominal (hara) palpation, to assist the practitioner in honing-in on the receiver’s needs for the shiatsu session and is often used to monitor the body throughout a session.
Use to treat:
Shiatsu is beneficial for most complaints, ranging from physical to emotional, to spiritual. Using the philosophy that there is nothing wrong with you, that whatever is happening in your body is a manifestation of its coping mechanisms for all of life’s experiences, it provides support, helping release physical, emotional and mental tension.