The theory behind Shiatsu is that when a patient has poor physical health, their mental and emotional state can also be affected. This cycle can work any way, as all three (mental, emotional, and physical) work in harmony. Therefore, all areas must be involved to wholly heal the body.
Shiatsu therapists apply pressure to acupressure points in the body, to increase energy flow and correct imbalances. As with any massage, the pressure applied to the muscles releases toxins, relieves tension, and realigns any problem areas. It also focuses on the Qi of a patient, as the flow of Qi through meridian channels helps to heal the body.
Shiatsu Massage has evolved since its creation, and different styles exist. These can include an extra focus on meditation, dietary guidance, water Shiatsu, Acupuncture, and breathing techniques. All Shiatsu styles use similar massage techniques, including:
Applying pressure along or against muscles releases a build-up of toxins within the body. Used in many massage techniques, pressure helps a therapist identify problem areas, and re-aligns muscles in a healthy manner. In shiatsu, pressure also removes blockages along the meridians, allowing the Qi to resume a proper flow, which benefits the entire body.
The thumbs, fingers, and heel of palms are used to repetitively knead muscles in a slow motion – similar to the motion of kneading bread. This helps to relieve any tension in the muscles and makes them more pliable. The repetitive motion also works out knots, and breaks down scar tissue.
Quick finger tapping stimulates muscles, particularly in tender areas such as the face. The same technique can be used with fists for larger areas, like the back or glutes. This helps to engage sluggish muscles and improves nerve function. It also helps a patient identify muscles that may be more dormant.
Knowing what to expect from your first appointment is helpful, as it does differ from other massages. Things to know before your first session include: