In Japanese Shi means thumb or finger and atsu means pressure. The therapist works along acupuncture lines of energy called meridians. Treatment is hands on: pressing, holding, stretching using palms, thumbs, fingers, knees, elbows and feet. Each of the major meridians begin or end on the fingers and toes and correspond to muscles and the yin and yang organs in the body.
Shiatsu started in the early 1900's and stems from Anma Massage and Chinese Medicine. Tokujiro Namikoshi was considered the founder of Shiatsu and opened his first Namikoshi Shiatsu clinic in 1925. Zen Shiatsu was started by Shizuto Masunaga.
Healthy ki or life force energy in your meridians results in a healthy body. Stagnant, blocked ki can cause stress, tension, pain and stiffness that can weaken the body and result in future misalignment and dis-ease. Shiatsu stimulates the body's natural ability to heal and helps to maintain healthy ki by unblocking trapped ki or increasing depleted ki.
The recipient remains fully clothed in loose clothing and treatment is on a futon on the floor.
Indications for having Shiatsu: back, neck and shoulder tension, sciatica, stress, insomnia, tension headaches, pre and post event sport, stress and anxiety; menstrual problems; digestive disturbances, fertility issues, high or low blood pressure, fatigue, circulatory disorders, gout, cystitis, neuralgia.
Benefits over time: increased energy, deep relaxation; improved breathing in asthma clients, feelings of optimism, improved mobility, more flexibility, used in a programme to maintain good health; helps release the hips, sacrum and spine; improves vitality and circulation; balances life force energy; releases deep seated tension; alleviates stress and anxiety.
Shiatsu works on a mat on the floor so is not suitable for everyone. It is advisable to have your doctor's approval if you are in any doubt about your state of health.
Shiatsu is contra-indicated for: epilepsy, fractures, broken bones, dislocations, burns, rashes, shingles, fungus, varicose veins, fever, diabetes, osteoporosis, recent surgery, low immune system, pregnancy, cancer, any acute disorder or inflammation, ulcers, arteriosclerosis, TB, scoliosis. There could also be a healing crisis but if you have good health maintenance and receive regular complementary treatments from other modalities then this may not apply.