What Is Shiatsu Massage Therapy – Benefits & Techniques

25. What Is Shiatsu Massage Therapy1
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Shiatsu is a type of massage that applies direct pressure to specific points on the body using the hands, thumbs, or other body parts.

Shiatsu is one of many different types of massage therapy, as you probably already know, but you might not be familiar with the specifics of the procedure. What exactly is Shiatsu massage therapy, and how does it benefit those who receive it? According to the Shiatsu Society, the practice of shiatsu was developed in Japan using elements of Western therapies and traditional Chinese medicine. It enhances the body’s capacity for self-healing.

Shiatsu Massage – What Is It?

Originally from Japan, shiatsu is a type of bodywork. It combines western medical knowledge with the country of Japan’s traditional manual therapies, including acupuncture and the antiquated massage technique known as anma.

Shiatsu is regarded by medical professionals as a modified version of acupressure, a massage technique that involves applying pressure to specific body points to increase blood and lymphatic circulation and relieve stress and fatigue.

The idea of qi is where shiatsu got its start. The vital life force that underlies all life activity is known as qi in traditional Chinese medicine. It holds that when qi is free to flow, health occurs. Body aches, headaches, and digestive problems are signs of a deficiency or obstruction.

Shiatsu practitioners use pressure to balance or unblock the flow of energy (qi) by placing pressure on the body’s meridians, areas of the body thought to be energy channels.

Shiatsu, which literally means “finger pressure,” can also be applied with the palms, elbows, and occasionally the feet by a shiatsu therapist to relieve pain and tension in the body along energy lines or paths.

How Does It Work?

Shiatsu massage therapy relies on the application of pressure to different parts of the body’s surface using the fingers, thumbs, and palm to treat common conditions and imbalances in the body. Applying pressure to specific body points encourages energy flow and corrects imbalances all throughout the patient’s body. Shiatsu helps treat pain and illness, reduce stress, and improves a patient’s general health and wellbeing in addition to being a profoundly relaxing experience.

Shiatsu stimulates the circulatory, lymphatic, and hormonal systems while regulating the activity of the autonomic nervous system. Shiatsu is a form of alternative medicine that can be used to treat conditions like sinusitis, bronchitis, sprains, arthritis, sciatica, poor posture, and joint and joint-related issues.

What To Expect During A Shiatsu Massage

A shiatsu practitioner evaluates the patient and gauges their qi state prior to the session in order to plan it. Depending on the patient’s general energy level, any blockages, and any conditions, the practitioner may use a variety of protocols.

The practitioner might use techniques to reactivate or stimulate the blood and qi circulation when a patient has low energy levels, for instance. They may use strategies to diffuse excess energy in stressed-out and anxious people in the interim.

Practitioners use their thumbs, fingers, palms, and knees to perform manual techniques such as holding, stretching, tapping, pressure, kneading, and soothing. Additionally, they might perform more body rotations, stretches, and joint mobilizations.

The therapist may occasionally ask the patient to adjust their position so that they can focus on particular meridian points where energy is stagnant or blocked.

Equipment or oils are not used in shiatsu. Individuals are fully clothed and typically lie on a futon mat placed on the floor during a session, though lying on a massage table is also common.

How Does Shiatsu Differ From Or Resemble Other Techniques?

Shiatsu massage therapy employs methods comparable to those used in physiotherapy, lymphatic drainage, osteopathy, and other types of treatment. Shiatsu practitioners differentiate their diagnosis and treatment from other massage therapy modalities because they believe that physical health issues and diseases are caused by obstructions and imbalances in the energy flow throughout the body.

25. What Is Shiatsu Massage Therapy2

Shiatsu Helps In What Ways?

Shiatsu works to enhance overall health by influencing the internal energy system. Increased mobility and better coordination are frequent outcomes of therapy. Shiatsu is a form of assisted stretching and acupressure that can be used as a primary or supplementary therapy to rebuild bone and muscle structure.

Students can gain experience using a variety of techniques within Asian systems of medicine by enrolling in AMC’s Massage Therapy program’s Shiatsu specialization. Students complete programs in Swedish, Shiatsu, and medical massage. A massage therapy diploma and a certification in shiatsu are awarded to program graduates.

What Distinguishes Shiatsu From Other Massage Techniques?

There are five main differences to note compared to other techniques, such as percussion massage and hot stone massage:

  1. Unlike other massage techniques where you might need to take your clothes off, this one doesn’t require it.
    Observe this advice by dressing comfortably and loosely for your shiatsu massage therapy session.
  2. Instead of lying on a table, the practitioner will instruct you to place a mat on the floor. They can now manipulate your body and exert pressure more easily thanks to this.
  3. Instead of your muscles, the focus will be on your joints and connective tissue.
  4. In contrast to Swedish massage, where aromas are inhaled and then absorbed through the skin, no oils are used.
  5. Instead of feeling at ease and sleepy, you’ll emerge feeling energised and rejuvenated.

Acupuncture, which makes use of meridians and pressure points and is based on traditional Chinese medicine theory, is the form of treatment that is most similar to shiatsu.

Contrary to acupuncture, no needles are employed.

Shiatsu With Other Massage

Shiatsu Vs. Swedish Massage

Both Swedish massage and shiatsu use the hands and palms to manually move the body. Effleurage, petrissage, percussion, and friction are among the techniques used in Swedish massage that are different from those in shiatsu. Furthermore, oil must be used in order to perform the Swedish massage techniques.

Shiatsu concentrates on pressure points, whereas Swedish massage concentrates on muscles and connective tissues. Because of this, therapists can let clients pick the intensity or level of massage that they prefer.

Shiatsu Vs. Thai Massage

Shiatsu and Thai massage are both forms of dry massage. Both of them emphasize enhancing the body’s energy flow, but they derive from various traditional practices.

Despite the fact that they both use energy flows, their main objectives are different. Shiatsu emphasizes applying deep pressure to the meridians, whereas Thai massage emphasizes stress reduction, circulation improvement, and flexibility enhancement. Because of this, Thai massage is sometimes referred to as aided yoga.

Read More:What Is the Difference Between Thai Massage & Deep Tissue?

Shiatsu Vs. Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage concentrates on specific areas like injured muscles and long-term muscle tension, in contrast to shiatsu, which offers a holistic approach to the body by balancing the energy flow.

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