Will Shiatsu massage benefit you?

Shiatsu massage is therapeutic, preventative and promotes harmony of mind and body. Will Shiatsu massage therapy benefit you? What kind of results could you expect? Here's more about this ancient healing art.

Will Shiatsu massage benefit you?

Unique manoeuvres

Forget the oil. The Japanese term Shiatsu translates to “finger pressure”, although practitioners frequently use their feet, elbows or knees for this type of body work. Shiatsu professionals have an acute understanding of physiology and anatomy. They focus on the functions of “pathways” occupying the body.

  • These pathways are called meridians. Each meridian relates to an organ and carries its name. The heart meridian or the liver meridian are two examples.
  • Pressure points on meridians correspond to specific health problems and their resultant symptoms (e.g., gastric reflux, migraines and lethargy).

In addition to stimulating pressure points, the practitioner may also perform assisted stretching exercises, focusing on joints and muscles.

What to expect from a session

The massage therapist will first conduct a thorough visual, auditory and kinetic diagnosis. Part of the assessment includes taking the pulse of your Hara point, or palpation point of the abdomen.

  • Just by simply observing your pulse and your skin’s complexion, the practitioner can usually determine what treatment you might need.
  • You keep your clothes on, so dress comfortably. You may be asked to lay on a futon on the floor, or a low-height massage table.
  • Expect to be asked several questions. The practitioner may apply pressure to the inside of the elbow to treat your stress-related illness. The massage therapist can tell you if the connection to the heart meridian or chi (energy) is blocked.
  • Physical pain is not addressed directly where it hurts. Even if you doubt the method, you will quickly see the Shiatsu technique is very effective and you’ll definitely come back again.

How pain and emotions are connected

When the energy or "chi" is released, blockages are relieved and barriers are eliminated.

  • As a result, even deep-seated emotions may come up to the surface and manifest as a physical sensation.
  • During the session, don’t be surprised if you begin to cry for no reason or if you suddenly experience a rush of old memories. This is all part of the holistic healing process, both physical and emotional.

What can Shiatsu do for you?

Many people swear by the benefits of regular Shiatsu massage. While no two people respond the same way to it, Shiatsu is known to:

  • Lessen most types of physical pain, whether it is rooted in tension, inflammation or chronic illness. This includes the treatment of back pain, sciatica and migraines, as well as digestive or menstrual disorders.
  • Effectively manage many diseases and eliminate the symptoms for extended periods of time. Among other conditions, it relieves irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis and even asthma.
  • Address emotional and psychological disorders, such as stress, anxiety, depression and behavioural problems.
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