Shiatsu is a traditional hands-on Japanese healing therapy that has been formulated over the last 100 years from the traditional Japanese amma massage which is a feel good, therapeutic massage. Shiatsu literally means fingerpressure and as such describes part of the therapy whereby natural body weight (finger, thumbs, elbows, forearms, feet and knees) is used in applying pressure to special points on the body. This is combined with stretches, joint rotations and joint manipulation to give an all-over treatment, which aims at treating the patient on a holistic level.
The aim of a Shiatsu Practitioner is to rebalance the flow of energy (Ki), along the meridians or channels. The surface touch uses points on the surface known as Tsubo to access those meridians. The practitioner feels for excessive (Jitsu) or deficient (Kyo) energy (Ki) within the meridians as they control the movement in the body (blood, gas, air, water).
Shiatsu incorporates pressure, holding, rubbing, heating or stretching techniques which can be deep and firm, but which are applied with sensitivity.
Shiatsu is a deeply relaxing experience and regular Shiatsu sessions help to prevent the build up of stress. Common conditions helped by Shiatsu include: back pain, headaches, whiplash and neck stiffness, joint pain and reduced mobility, menstrual problems, digestive problems, asthmatic symptoms, sports injuries, depression and stress. In some cases, patients responding to Shiatsu may also benefit from Acupuncture.
The massage begins with the practitioner using pulses, tongue, face, hara (stomach area) and spinal column examinations to ascertain what treatments to use. Treatment is carried out fully clothed, usually with the patient lying or sitting on a futon mat on the ground. A typical session will last about an hour.