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shiatsuWhat is Shiatsu?

Shiatsu is a Japanese word. It means ‘finger pressure’. A Shiatsu treatment does however incorporate the use not only of finger pressure, but also thumbs, palms, knees, forearms, elbows and feet. Pressure is applied to the areas of energy lines (meridians) to promote good health by 'stimulating the bodys energy flow (Ki)'.

Length of Shiatsu session

Each Shiatsu session usually lasts between 40 minutes and 1 hour. The session usually takes place on a padded mat on the floor.

The session often begins with gentle stretching and manipulation techniques to help stimulate the movement of energy and to relax the muscles. Pressure can be applied to both wide areas as well as precise points and varied according to the body’s needs. Sometimes the pressure can be gentle and calming. Sometimes the pressure can be deeply stimulating. The amount and type of pressure depends on the specific needs of the individual.

Benefits of Shiatsu

Shiatsu can help alleviate the pain associated with a wide range of conditions. Shiatsu can also assist an individual with their self development and self healing; balancing the underlying causes of a condition; taking into account the functioning of the physical and psychological; promoting health and strengthening the body’s own healing abilities.

Shiatsu is a deeply relaxing experience and regular Shiatsu sessions help to prevent the build-up of stress in our daily lives. Following a Shiatsu treatment, the individual may have feelings of increased vitality and relaxation.

Some of the immediate physical benefits of Shiatsu are to:

1. Stimulate the circulatory, lymphatic and hormonal systems.

2. Regulate the activity of the autonomic nervous system.

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What is shiatsu?

Shiatsu is a Japanese form of bodywork. The word shiatsu means "finger pressure", and shiatsu is sometimes described as a finger pressure massage.

How does shiatsu work?

Like acupuncture, shiatsu is based on the holistic system of traditional Chinese medicine, where illness is thought to result from imbalances in the natural flow of energy, or qi (pronounced "chee") through the body.

Shiatsu therapists use finger and palm pressure to energetic pathways, called meridians to improve the flow of qi.

A scientific explanation is that shiatsu calms an overactive sympathetic nervous system, which improves circulation, relieves stiff muscles, and alleviates stress.

What does shiatsu feel like?

The shiatsu therapist applies pressure using his or her fingers, thumbs, and/or palms in a continuous rhythmic sequence.

The pressure feels more localized, because unlike other types of massage, the finger pads are used to apply pressure for most of the treatment instead of the entire palm.

Certain pressure points may feel tender, which some people describe it as "good pain."

If you feel any discomfort or pain during the treatment, tell your therapist and he or she will adjust the pressure so that it is comfortable to you.

Most people say shiatsu is as relaxing as classic forms of massage therapy.

What should I expect during my visit?

The treatment is done on a low massage table or on the floor.

Unlike other forms of massage, with shiatsu no massage oil is applied, so you remain fully clothed during the treatment. You may be asked to bring comfortable clothing to wear.

What conditions is shiatsu used for?

  • Relaxation
  • Back pain
  • Headache
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Tiredness
  • Recovery from injuries
  • Stress
  • Arthritis pain
  • Poor digestion
  • Constipation
  • Depression

Precautions

Shiatsu is not recommended for certain people:

  • infectious skin disease, rash, or open wounds
  • immediately after surgery
  • immediately after chemotherapy or radiation, unless recommended by your doctor
  • people with osteoporosis should consult their doctor before having shiatsu
  • prone to blood clots. There is a risk of blood clots being dislodged. If you have heart disease, check with your doctor before having shiatsu
  • pregnant women should check with their doctor first if they are considering getting any type of massage or bodywork. Shiatsu in pregnant women should be done by massage therapists who are certified in pregnancy massage.
  • shiatsu should not be done directly over bruises, inflamed skin, unhealed wounds, tumors, abdominal hernia, or areas of recent fractures.

Additional tips

  • don’t eat a heavy meal before the shiatsu
  • if it's your first time at the clinic or spa, arrive at least 10 minutes early to complete the necessary forms. Otherwise, arrive 5 minutes early so you can have a few minutes to rest and relax before starting the shiatsu.

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