What is Shiatsu?

Shiatsu is a form of natural healing based on principles similar to those of Acupuncture, where pressure is used instead of needles to act on pressure points and meridians.

It combines manipulative techniques, including stretching, rocking and holding, with pressure which may be applied using thumbs, fingers, palms, forearms, elbows, feet and knees.

Shiatsu aims to promote the free flow of energy within the body by encouraging balance and healing on a physical and emotional level. It is a holistic therapy, working to stimulate harmony in body, mind and spirit.

Why have Shiatsu?

You don’t have to wait to be ill or feel bad to benefit from shiatsu. It can be used as a preventative treatment very much in the same way that most of us will have our cars regularly serviced to keep them in top condi- tion, so why not do the same for our bodies.

Shiatsu can help to:

  • Relieve stress and anxiety
  • increase stamina and energy levels
  • relieve backache and headaches
  • relieve pain related to muscles and joints
  • balance emotional and psychological conditions
  • maintain good physical, mental and spiritual health
  • induce deep relaxation
  • treat digestive disorders

How could you benefit:

Shiatsu can help you to adopt a relaxed, healthier and more balanced approach to life. It can also improve a variety of symptoms related to problems with muscles and body structures, such as back pain, joints and posture. You will feel physically more mobile, more energised, more balanced and more able to cope with things in everyday life.

What to expect:

  • Treatments last approximately one hour.
  • Treatments are fully clothed and are best carriedout through loose, warm and comfortable clothing.
  • Shiatsu is usually done on a soft futon on the floor.
  • Shiatsu treatments are deeply relaxing and promoteyour body’s own self-healing processes.
  • Where appropriate, you may be given advice onexercises, diet and how to reduce stress in your life. These will add to the effects of the treatment and enable you to play a part in your own healing.

History of Shiatsu

Massage, along with acupuncture and herbalism, was for centuries an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine, which was introduced to Japan by a Buddhist monk in the 6th century. The Japanese developed and refined many of its methods to suit their own physiology, temperament and climate. In particular, they developed the manual healing and diagnostic arts, evolving special techniques of abdominal diagnosis, treatment and massage, which are used in shiatsu today.

However, the practice of massage known by the old name of Anma (anmo or tuina in China) became gradually divorced from medicine and more associated with relaxation and pleasure. Certain practitioners were concerned to preserve massage and related techniques as an accepted healing art.

In the early part of the 20th century, one such practitioner, Tamai Tempaku, incorporated the newer Western sciences of anatomy and physiology and disciplines such as physiotherapy and chiropractic into several older methods of treatment. Originally he used the term shiatsu ryoho or finger pressure way of healing, then shiatsu ho or finger pressure method. Now known simply as Shiatsu, it was officially recognized as a therapy by the Japanese Government in 1964, so distinguishing it from Anma and Western massage.

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