What is Shiatsu?
Is a form of bodywork which, at its highest level, combines a finely-tuned intuition with a thorough understanding of the body-mind. Shiatsu was developed in Japan from a synthesis of Chinese massage called Anma and Western techniques of physical manipulation. As a complete system of healing through touch, it draws extensively on key aspects of Traditional Oriental Medicine.
Shiatsu technique involves stretching, holding and leaning body weight into various part of the recipient’s body to improve energy flow, body, flexibility and posture. Pressure and contact is applied through the hands, thumbs, fingers, forearms, knees and feet, with the recipient sitting or lying in various positions. Treatment is focused along specific Channels (meridians) of subtle bodily energy called Ki. Ki is the life force which sustains activity of the body, mind and Spirit.
Although Shiatsu literally means ‘finger pressure’, the spirit of Shiatsu is one of communication through touch. Shiatsu which is responsive to the recipient’s needs cannot be achieved by technical skill and intellectual study alone. To be effective, it requires sensitivity order to feel and positively influence the quality of vitality within the recipient. Vitality is the basis of health and reflects the strength and harmony of Ki circulation. Shiatsu which is sensitive and supportive both tonifies and corrects the flow of Ki, thereby helping to restore vitality and prevent disease.
The history of Shiatsu:
Although the word Shiatsu was not coined until the early twentieth century, the origins of Shiatsu lie firmly within the roots of Traditional Oriental Medicine. Specifically, it can be traced to China around 530 BC, when Bodhidharma introduced a system of exercises for health and sensory control known as Tao-Yinn. These incorporated a system of self-massage and self-applied pressure point therapy for promoting detoxification and rejuvenation. Tao-Yinn soon become an integral part of the health practices and was gradually exported, along with other Chinese healing arts, through south-east Asia and Korea.
By the tenth century AD, Chinese Medicine had been introduced into Japan, from which time an amalgam of Vibrational Palm Healing, Point Pressure and massage, known collectively as Anma, would have been combined with Tao-Inn (Do-In) to loosely resemble present day Shiatsu.
Health conditions which respond well to Shiatsu:
There are many conditions which can be alleviated by Shiatsu but the most common are; insomnia, anxiety and depression, muscular tension, headaches, digestive disturbances, menstrual dysfunction, backache, sprain and strains, neck and shoulder stiffness, joint pain, poor circulation, etc.
What to expect from a Shiatsu treatment:
A Shiatsu treatment lasts 60 minutes (75 minutes for the first treatment). Each treatment starts with a 5 to 20 minute consultation. The practitioner will gather information regarding your present and past health, your diet and lifestyle in order to determine which meridians (energy channels) to work on. The client needs to be fully clothed in loose and comfortable clothes (preferably made of natural materials such as cotton). A treatment can be given either on a futon or a shiatsu chair depending on a client’s need. After each treatment the client will be given various recommendations to support healing after the treatment.
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