Saturday, January 17, 2009

What Is Shiatsu Massage

There are a multitude of massage techniques. Knowing what a massage technique is or what it can do for you is sometimes confusing. One of the more popular massage techniques is Shiatsu massage. We will see what it is and how it works.

Shiatsu derives from both the ancient healing art of acupuncture and from the traditional form of Japanese massage, amma. It is a Japanese word: "shi" meaning finger, and "atsu" meaning pressure and is based on acupressure. It can be likened to acupuncture without needles - using finger and thumb pressure instead. This type of massage can be done through light clothes or directly on the skin.

Shiatsu balances the body's QI (energy, or life force) to keep your body's systems in perfect harmony. The goal of each of the different types of Shiatsu being practiced, Zen shiatsu, tsubo point therapy, shiatsu massage, and water shiatsu "watsu", is balancing energy flow. It can also stimulate the healing of specific injuries and improve symptoms of poor health such as chronic pain, soreness, stress, insomnia and other conditions that are not effectively treated by Western medical practices.

In shiatsu therapy, practitioners can promote the prevention and recovery of illnesses by stimulating the immune system and natural healing power that people already possess without treating a specific problem. Treating the body as a whole, so they say, helps to restore the physical functions of the nervous system, circulatory system, bone structure, muscles, and internal secretion and stimulates the whole of the mind and body to find harmony. Skilled practitioners can contribute considerably to regional health and medical treatments.

This type of massage can help you if you experience any of the following conditions: anxiety, stress, jet lag, back pain, sciatica, neck and shoulder tension, headaches, insomnia, depression, digestive disorders, PMT or low energy levels. It can be very helpful for postural and muscular-skeletal problems and stress related conditions. This massage method can be beneficial for people of all ages from infant to elderly. It can also help to create improved body awareness and ease childbirth. The mother, birth partner or midwife can also use the massage in labor.

Zen Shiatsu teaches that the abdomen reflects conditions of health and un-health in the body and that we can influence our health directly by massaging and self-massaging our abdomen (self-hara). Self-Hara is part of Do-In, a self-therapy that involves principles of self-massage. In the practice, each person is primarily responsible for his or her own health and well-being and immunity towards all disease.

Barefoot shiatsu includes walking on the person's back, leg, and feet, are commonly practiced. It also uses techniques such as rolling, brushing, vibrating, grasping and in one particular technique developed by Suzuki Yamamoto, pressure is applied with the feet on the persons back, legs and feet (special set up is required for the "foot" Ashiatsu). Thai similar to acupressure and shiatsu combined with stretch movements and yoga positions.

Watsu is the combination of hydrotherapy and shiatsu developed by Harold Dull. The work entails much movement in the water and practitioners believe that it incorporates the activation of the energy lines derived from shiatsu.

Early on, George Balanchine, Ivan Nagy, Martha Graham and many other dancers experienced regular shiatsu sessions to relieve their pains and restore and maintain their vitality. It is well known that Liza Minnelli and Henry Kissinger have received this type of massage treatments to promote and maintain good health.

Massage Therapy can be relaxing and extremely beneficial for your health. If you are interested in massage therapy as a profession or you are a massage therapist and want to increase your business, you can find out how at

No comments: