What is Shiatsu?
Shiatsu is a form of healing through touch, which has its origins thousands of years ago in Japan and was more recently formalised into its modern form over a hundred years ago. It is now quite widely practised in the UK and throughout the world. The receiver is supported to become more aware of their body/mind as an integrated whole, on either a conscious or subconscious level. They become aware of areas of tension or weakness on either a physical or emotional level and through this process healing occurs.
Shiatsu shares much of its background theory with acupuncture and it has been referred to as acupuncture without needles. However it also draws on other bodywork traditions, including massage and soft tissue work. Like acupuncture, Shiatsu stimulates the body’s vital energy (known as ki). Instead of needles, pressure is applied to various parts of the body and stretches, rocking movements and some massage type techniques are used. Shiatsu is calm and relaxing in nature, yet dynamic in effect; the body begins to re-adjust itself and healing takes place.
Some practitioners work to support the integration of change by supporting the hands on work with other modalities such as exercise and breath awareness, dietary therapy, psychotherapeutic and meditative practices.
Who can benefit from Shiatsu?
Since Shiatsu is working with the whole person, rather than simply focusing on conditions, most people, ill or healthy, and of all ages from babies to the elderly can potentially benefit from it. Shiatsu is extremely useful in enhancing health and vitality and many people use it as part of a stress management or preventative health care program. Shiatsu is also excellent if you are feeling unwell but are suffering from no known medical condition. You do not have to be sick to benefit from Shiatsu, nor must you have a name for your condition.
People come to shiatsu for all kinds of reasons and they may come with specific ailments ranging from the acute to the more chronic. They may come presenting with structural problems such as bad necks, backs or poor posture, as well as conditions like menstrual difficulties, skin disorders, digestive problems and migraines or with more psychological issues such as depression or stress. Often people seek out shiatsu during major times of change like adolescence, infertility, pregnancy, the menopause and adjusting to later life.
What does a Shiatsu session involve?
The work is usually done on a futon, a light cotton mattress on the floor. If people don’t want to, or are not able to, lie down, sitting or other positions can be used. It is recommended to wear comfortable clothes that allow freedom of movement.
Avoid having a heavy meal before the session.
It is advisable to rest for at least one hour afterwards, as the process continues after the actual session is over. The effects may be experienced immediately, or after several days.