Shiatsu is a massage process wherein pressure is applied by fingers, palms and particularly the thumbs on points that relate to the nervous system. Although shiatsu has some reflections of acupressure, it involves the whole body in providing an extra dimension to both diagnosis and therapy and emphasizes treating the individual as a complete human being – not only as a physical entity.
Usually Shiatsu massage sessions are preformed with the client lying on a mat dressed in comfortable clothing similar to clothing you would wear to the gym. As the patient lies on the mat the Shiatsu practitioner will massage their meridians and any troubled spots they find. The practitioner feels and senses spots of blocked energy along the meridians. These troubled spots can be felt as either warm or hot spots where energy has been blocked and pooled up in excess or they can be felt as cool or cold spots where energy has not been not been able to make it in sufficient amounts.
An experienced practitioner also judges your problems from your appearance or odor, facial twitches or the sounds you make, your pulses, appearance of your tongue, and other physiological evidences. Imbalances in the meridians also show up in the appearance of the whole person and the way they act, talk and carry themselves.
When one meridian has too much energy it will affect the opposing meridian with not enough energy. A good Shiatsu practitioner can tell what meridians are unbalanced and what other meridians they are probably affecting and work on them accordingly.
With stretching and massaging the points and places along the meridians, a good Shiatsu practitioner can get the energy flowing in a balanced state again and return the patient to a place closer to balance and harmony.
Shiatsu is a traditional Japanese hands-on medical therapy of which one of the schools has evolved based on western anatomical and physiological theories. Having its feet firmly entrenched in traditional therapeutic wisdom on one side and evolved on western scientific grounds on the other, it is making it into the mainstream western alternative healing medicine.
Shiatsu technique is one of the few massage therapies that is officially recognized almost anywhere in the world. The Japanese medical department of the Ministry of Welfare, while recognizing Shiatsu, has defined it as “a method contributing to the healing of specific illnesses, correcting the imbalances of the body and for maintaining and promoting health.” Shiatsu practitioners undergo a 3 year course with clinical practice and live examinations before they qualify as practitioners in many countries.
Shiatsu massage is growing so fast in popularity that shiatsu practitioners in the USA and the UK felt an urgent need for standardizing its licensing to regulate its practice.
In the US, shiatsu, through a professional body of shiatsupractors, is named in the licensure laws of Washington, DC and Illinois. In the EU and Japan, the use of shiatsu and shiatsupractors are protected as registered trademarks.
When we are talking of imbalanced energies and physiological disharmonies, what this readily implies is that shiatsu is far more beneficial in permanently relieving long term ailments like joint pains, muscular pains, psychological stress, migraine, improve circulation and the like. Some practitioners have also demonstrated that shiatsu can be used for improving immune system which promotes preventing or relapse of illnesses related to muscles, bones and nervous system like no other.
If you are in the EU or the USA, you can seek shiatsu massage from practitioners recognized by NCCAOM (National Certification Council for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine)