It means “finger pressure” in Japanese, and that’s exactly what shiatsu is: a Japanese type of bodywork, or massage, that uses finger pressure to relieve aches and pains throughout the body. Some say it’s helpful and some say it’s silly, but the fact is that any type of massage can be relaxing, calming, and pleasurable. So what do you have to lose?

Shiatsu Benefits

The origins of shiatsu date back at least 5,000 years. It originated as a traditional Chinese healing form called Anma, which made its way to Japan and began to develop into something more unique. The word shiatsu was coined in the 20th century, and in the mid-1950s, the Japanese government officially recognized it as a legitimate type of therapy.

Like acupuncture, this type of bodywork or massage is performed by concentrating on the body’s Chinese meridian system, or specific pressure points. When pressure is applied along these very specific meridian lines, the body is believed to be able to realign its natural qi, or energy flows.

Shiatsu practitioners use these pressure techniques combined with assisted stretching to stimulate the lymphatic system and help blood circulate throughout the body. It is believed that by doing this, the body will finally release accumulated toxins and the muscles will get rid of accumulated tension.

Proponents of this ancient technique believe that this release can help the body heal itself overall by building up its hormonal and immune systems, which in turn has a positive effect on the nervous system. Therefore, shiatsu is supposed to not only have immediate results when we feel better instantly, but also long-term results that can help us overcome a variety of ailments. Benefits may include:

reduced blood pressure

reduced muscle stiffness

Increased blood circulation

Greater vitality and energy.

better resistance

Increased flow of lymphatic fluid.

better circulation

How does Shiatsu work?

Experiencing shiatsu is as easy as finding a qualified professional, and there are many. Once you find someone you like, he or she will ask you questions about your general health, perform an exam that usually includes looking at your tongue and listening to your voice, and then perform various techniques to improve the flow of energy around your body. . .

Each treatment typically lasts about an hour and will include the practitioner applying pressure to various parts of your body using hands, thumbs, fingers, palms, knees, feet, elbows, etc., and You will also perform some assisted stretching techniques. There are several different schools of shiatsu and the treatment you receive will be tailored to the school, including:

Shiatsu Namikoshi. It uses rubbing and pressure techniques to aid in healing. Developed by Mr. Tokujiro Namikoshi, who supposedly cured his mother’s rheumatism and became a well-known and talented healer at the ripe age of 10. He uses pressure to remove toxins from cells, targeting both deep and superficial tissues. Repeated pressing is believed to generate electrical charges that help boost energy levels and remove adhesions that have held the body back.

zen shiatsu. The most popular type of shiatsu, which focuses on the entire body, sometimes requiring an abdominal massage. Developed by Shizuto Masanuga, a psychologist and shiatsu practitioner who died in 1981. Lifestyle and diet advice can be given. The practitioner will listen to how the body responds to a certain pressure, which will dictate the steps he or she will take next. The container is usually on a futon or mat on the floor and massage oils are not used.

Tsubo therapy. Not as popular in the United States as it is in Japan, it was developed by Katsusuke Serizawa and focuses on tsubo, or acupressure points. The skin is believed to have an electrical resistance that changes at specific tsubo points, so a tsubo therapist will use a variety of techniques to test this, including needles and electrical devices, as well as simple massage. Acupressure shiatsu is largely considered to be a derivative of Serizawa’s techniques.

Please note that shiatsu is not for everyone. People with certain skin rashes, who have just had surgery, or who are prone to blood clots should refrain from doing so. Pregnant women, people with osteoporosis, and those who have just received chemotherapy or radiation therapy should first consult their doctor. And use common sense: avoid wearing it if you have large bruises, have just had surgery for a hernia or an open fracture, etc.

Does it really work?

Shiatsu advocates believe it can “cure” everything from constipation to insomnia to back pain, and say it also works well for depression, sports injuries, poor digestion, anxiety, stress, and fatigue. and other muscular pains. Others say that it works primarily as a relaxation technique, and while it can certainly temporarily relieve pain, especially that associated with muscle stiffness due to its massage element, it can’t actually help the body heal itself.

“Ordinary massage and the legitimate practice of massage therapy can help people feel better. Yet many practitioners falsely claim they do much more, and agencies that oversee the licensing and educational systems show no evidence of concern. about it,” writes Dr. Stephen Barrett. on the Quackwatch website, he bills himself as “Your He Guide to Quackery, Health Fraud, and Smart Decisions.”

“Over the years, I’ve been amazed at the outlandish claims made by many bodyworkers. It’s wonderful to get a great massage. It increases circulation, temporarily relieves pain, provides a sense of well-being, and promotes relaxation, but I don’t know. of nothing (other than the blues) that I have ever cured.

“People need to realize that just because it’s a wonderful treat doesn’t make it good medicine.”

If you want to try shiatsu yourself, make sure you have a trained practitioner in a safe and clean environment. But remember that this type of complementary therapy should not be intended to replace conventional medicine, and if a shiatsu practitioner attempts to diagnose a particular health problem or prescribe medication, they are breaking the law. Other than that, sit back and enjoy it!