Shiatsu is a Japanese physical therapy sometimes called massage or Japanese physiotherapy. It was developed by blind people who were assumed to have a greater sense of touch due to loss of sight. As a technique it is adept at treating physical discomfort especially persistent joint problems or sensations that don’t go away. It uses gentle movement and stretches to rotate and release the joints, expanding their range of movement and creating space, where previously there had been tension and restriction. This space allows the blood and chi to move freely, renewing and restoring the previously constricted tissue. Once the free flow of blood and lymph returns to the joints, healing and renewal occurs naturally.
It also works directly on pressure points, stimulating a healing response in exactly the same way as acupuncture. In fact, pressure is applied to the whole of the meridian (chi or energy pathway in the body) easing tension and restoring balance. Shiatsu’s benefits are immediate, providing relief from the problem or pain as well as restoring a sense of wholeness within the body. This sense of oneness comes about from its comprehensive treatment protocol, working on both the structural (muscles and joints) and the energetic, (meridians and pressure points).
This brings the body back in to balance, reducing stress, anxiety and increasing the overall well-being of the body.
Problems that respond well to Shiatsu are:
- Persistent joint problems that don’t seem to go away
- Back ache
- Low energy
- Emotional imbalance
- Pregnancy discomfort
- Stress and anxiety
- Grief, sadness, depression
- Always on edge, unable to relax, feeling wired
What happens during a treatment?
Treatment takes place on a futon (a Japanese floor mattress) and clothes are kept on. It is best to wear loose comfortable clothing for a shiatsu and you will be asked to bring them along, a tracksuit or leggings and a sweatshirt are best. Being comfortable allows movement of the joints and facilitates the unwinding movements that release tension. The whole body is treated starting out with the spine and then moving to the hips or shoulders, arms and legs, hands and feet and finishing with the neck, head and sometimes the jaw and face.