Shiatsu is a form of holistic bodywork which has its roots in ancient Chinese medicine.
It comes via Japan and means ‘finger pressure massage’ in Japanese. The practitioner applies gentle pressure to points along the meridians (energy pathways) in the body to balance ‘ki’ (life energy) within the client. Pressure using fingers, hands, elbows or knees combines with stretches and rotations to open the energy pathways, stimulate bloodflow and relax the body.
Initial sessions take approximately one and a half hours and comprise a full case history, which is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine and includes questions about colours and foods as well as physical and emotional symptoms. Subsequent treatments, which begin with touch diagnosis, take one hour. Treatments usually take place on a mat or futon on the floor, however, a couch or chair may be used to accommodate the individual’s needs. Clients are asked to wear loose, comfortable clothing.
Treatments are generally found to be very enjoyable and can induce deep relaxation or a sense of renewed energy and more vigour. The amount of sessions required varies considerably and is discussed between client and practitioner, the healing being seen as a partnership. Clients are also given advice on diet and lifestyle and shown Shiatsu-based exercises to practise at home. Shiatsu can be good for almost all conditions affecting body, mind and spirit as it strengthens the body’s energy and there are very few contraindications. It has proved particularly effective for back, neck and shoulder pain, migraines, digestive problems, depression, stress, insomnia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.