What is Shiatsu Massage?
Shiatsu means ‘finger pressure’ in Japanese, and this traditional form of massage uses gentle touch and targeted manipulation to balance the body both physiologically and energetically.
There are a number of different philosophies and styles of Shiatsu Massage used around the world, as many early practitioners developed their own styles. You might find that some approaches may focus more on acupoints, while others are more full-body oriented. In general, the overarching aim of Shiatsu is to clear the bodily channels for Ki (気), which translates to “spirit”, “feelings” or “air”.
When was Shiatsu invented?
Massage, acupuncture and herbalism have been at the heart of Chinese medicine for thousands of years. In the 6th century, a Buddhist monk brought these ancient methodologies to Japan. Over time, the practice of massage (known as “Anma”) became detached from its medical roots, and was increasingly used for rest, relaxation and simply pleasure!
Tamai Tempaku was the first person to use the term ‘Shiatsu’ to define a method of combining Western understandings of neuromuscular physiology with Eastern therapeutic practices. Shiatsu was officially recognised as a unique form of massage by the Japanese Government in 1964.
Today, Shiatsu is practiced slightly differently in the USA and UK Europe. In the US, Namikoshi Shiatsu removed references to Eastern philosophical traditions and language, with a focus on muscular alignment. In the UK, Shizuto Masunaga developed Zen Shiatsu, which emphasises the psychological importance of mental attitude and creating a supportive connection between therapist and recipient during treatment. Both forms can have a positive emphasis on both the mind and body.
Depending on your preferences and time-frame, Shiatsu massage techniques are employed fully clothed either using a massage chair or on a mat at floor level.
In a chair massage, your therapist will focus their attention on your neck, shoulders, upper back, lower back and arms. If you decide to have your treatment on a Shiatsu mat, your therapist will apply techniques to areas of tension throughout the body.
A chair massage is a great way to loosen tight shoulders during your lunch break, while a mat is likely to provide a deeper release, particularly if used regularly.
Benefits of Shiatsu Massage
There are many potential benefits to choosing a Shiatsu massage, which may include;
- Increased energy
- Improved circulation
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Relief from headaches
- Promote healing of soft tissue injuries
- Alleviate pain in the neck and back, caused by working at a desk
- Ease arthritis-related stiffness
- Sleep better and more deeply
Who should choose a Shiatsu Massage?
Massage is a complementary therapy that can provide benefits within many different lifestyles. Whether you love to exercise, or sit at a desk all day, there is a massage out there that’s perfect for your needs!