Shiatsu is a healing art that originated in China around 2,000 years ago. It encompasses a change of diet and way of life, massage and acupuncture. The Japanese also began to practice this modality once it was introduced to their country. It was known as ‘anma’.
Today’s Shiatsu has gradually evolved from the influences and blend of both East and West. The Eastern belief is one of an energy flow which runs along channels known as ‘meridians’. It is also believed that this same energy exists throughout the Universe and all living creatures. This energy is known as ‘ki’ in Japan, ‘chi’ in China, and ‘prana’ in India.
As with Acupuncture, Acupressure and Reflexology, there are pressure points on the channels or meridians that relate to certain organs. These points are known as ‘tsubos’.
Shiatsu is used to treat a variety of minor problems such as headaches, insomnia, anxiety and back pain. By stimulating the flow of energy along the meridians Shiatsu massage clears blockages and alleviate symptoms. A change of lifestyle and/or diet and exercised may also be recommended.
Occasionally an unpleasant result such as lethargy, headaches, pains and aches, unsettled emotions and coughing or sneezing may occur after treatment. These symptoms are due to blockages being cleared as the flow of energy rushes throughout the body causing a temporary imbalance.
Exercises such as deep breathing techniques and ‘Makko-ho’ (which is 6 specific stretching exercises that affect the meridians by stimulating the flow of energy) may also be recommended.
Shiatsu encourages a general feeling of good health and wellbeing in both a physical and spiritual sense.
- Shiatsu should not be given to someone who has consume a large meal.
- No pressure should be exerted on injuries such as cuts, breaks in bones or on varicose veins.
- Shiatsu can be used with pregnant women although four areas should be avoided. These are the stomach, the legs (from the knees down), each side of the neck (where the shoulders meet the neck), and the fleshy web of skin between the forefinger and thumb.
- Shiatsu should not be practiced on people who have serious illnesses such as heart disease disorders, cancer or multiple sclerosis.