Shiatsu Massage has become a popular form of healing bodywork. Its a relaxing blend of traditional western massage and Shiatsu, a form of acupressure, a healing form that comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is taught that our core energy, or chi, flows through a specific pattern of channels, called meridians. Its taught that disease is a manifestation of our chi becoming imbalanced. Being a variation of acupressure, Shiatsu works to stimulate and re-balance the energy along the meridians.
The most well known way to work with this system is acupuncture. In contrast, the therapists thumbs are used, in acupressure, instead of needles to stimulate the points along the meridians. Shiatsu, expands on this by using the palms, forearms and even the feet to stimulate the points.
Typically in receiving Shiatsu, the client will lay down on a pad on the floor. The therapist can then kneel along side their body and use their body weight for pressure. Sense no massage oil is used the client can remain clothed, a benefit for those that avoid massage due to shyness. A fun and effective addition is what is termed Barefoot Shiatsu, where the therapist stands along side the client, and gently uses one foot to apply pressure down the meridians.
In Shiatsu Massage, a combination of classic massage and shiatsu is used. This would typically be done on a massage table. As the therapist leaves the room, the client disrobes and lays on the table covered by a sheet. Then the therapist uncovers just those areas they are working on to give the massage. Typically the Shiatsu treatment begins with massage and then Shiatsu is strategically added throughout, creating a deeply relaxing experience for the client.
Usually, in Shiatsu Massage, traditional Acupressure will be combined with the Shiatsu. In other words, the therapist will use their thumbs to gently hold certain points, while using their palms,and possible elbows or forearms for others. Generally, Shiatsu is used to work down meridians at a slow but even pace. Acupressure is then used to hold points for longer periods, which is more helpful for areas that are especially tense.
This combination of Shiatsu and massage, can create an even more relaxing experience than using just massage alone. The reason for this is because the massage works to relax the surface muscles, while the Shiatsu then takes the relaxation to a deeper more energetic level. It also adds the additional healing benefit of re-balancing the energy of the body, encouraging overall health.