Shiatsu, a term derived from the Japanese words “shi” (finger) and “atsu” (pressure), is an acupressure technique on the body that uses pressure from the fingers, as well as the palms of the hands, elbows and even the knees and feet, to stimulate the body’s energy pathways called “meridians”. Rooted in ancient Japanese traditions and influenced by concepts of Chinese medicine, Shiatsu offers a holistic approach to health and well-being.

What is shiatsu?

Origins and evolution

Shiatsu has its roots in the traditional Japanese technique called “Anma.” However, while Anma focused more on massaging muscles and ligaments, Shiatsu emphasized the importance of energy flow. Over time, Shiatsu practitioners have incorporated the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), including the concepts of Qi (life energy) and meridians (energy pathways).

How does Shiatsu work?

Shiatsu is based on the thesis that the body contains a vital force or energy called Qi. When this energy flows freely, individuals experience good balance. However, interruptions or blockages in this flow can lead to illness or disease. Shiatsu aims to restore and maintain Qi balance by stimulating specific meridian points, enhancing the body’s natural healing abilities.

Techniques and practices

During a Shiatsu session:

Assessment: The practitioner usually begins by assessing the client’s current energetic state, lifestyle, and physical condition.

Apply pressure: Using thumbs, fingers, palms, elbows and knees, the operator applies pressure to specific points or areas of the body. The pressure can vary from soft to firm.

Stretching: Shiatsu also includes stretching and joint rotations to improve flexibility and energy flow.

Breathing: Clients may be guided in specific breathing patterns during the session to encourage relaxation and energy movement.

Benefits of shiatsu

Stress reduction: Shiatsu can help calm the mind, reduce tension and promote relaxation.

Pain Relief: By addressing energy blockages and muscle tension, Shiatsu can relieve pain caused by various conditions such as migraines, arthritis, and sciatica.

Digestive health: Shiatsu can improve digestion by stimulating the abdominal area and promoting the flow of energy along the digestive meridians.

Improved Circulation: The therapy increases blood flow, aiding in the detoxification process and improving overall vitality.

Balance: Shiatsu promotes physical and emotional balance, promoting a feeling of well-being.

Shiatsu versus other massages

Although Shiatsu shares similarities with other massage therapies, its emphasis on energy flow sets it apart. Unlike Swedish or deep tissue massages, Shiatsu does not use oils or creams and is performed with the client fully clothed. Additionally, while other massages may focus more on relaxation or muscle relief, Shiatsu places equal importance on physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

What is Shiatsu: conclusion

Shiatsu is much more than just a treatment: it is a holistic journey that stimulates the body’s innate self-healing abilities. By recognizing and addressing energetic imbalances, Shiatsu offers a unique path to energetic balance and harmony. Whether you are looking for relief from a specific ailment or a way to improve overall well-being, Shiatsu could be a beneficial addition to your self-care regimen.

What is Shiatsu?

Acupressure technique that is exercised on energy channels defined as meridians, to obtain a general improvement in vitality.

Shiatsu is an evolutionary discipline.

Shiatsu enhances the vital resources of both people involved in the practice, allowing their best expression according to the potential, times and peculiar modalities of each.

Shiatsu generates a better quality of life whatever the age, condition and state of well-being/discomfort of the subjects involved.

Shiatsu is not an alternative therapy, it is not an unconventional medicine, it is not a therapeutic, sports or aesthetic massage.

The benefits of Shiatsu on a symptomatic and preventive level are the result not of an activity aimed at treating pathologies but of a natural “self-healing” process connected to the general improvement of vitality.

Shizuto Masunaga – Zen Shiatsu