Massage … it’s so relaxing, right? In your life, you have probably undergone a massage treatment and given little thought to the techniques being used by your practitioner.
Massage has so many different variations, from Swedish to sports massage. Shiatsu massage is one of the many techniques that promotes general health and wellness, while also treating specific medical conditions.
Shiatsu is a form of Asian bodywork that involves manipulating the body using “figure pressure” — the literal translation of the term. These are some of the techniques a massage therapist might use in a session:
- Pressure (with fingers, hands, elbows and even feet)
- Light tapping
- Gentle stretching
A massage therapist named Tamai Tempaku created Shiatsu in the 20th century as a way to revive the healing aspect of the massage typically used by those practicing traditional Chinese medicine, which had evolved to have more of a focus on relaxation. He incorporated the Western sciences of anatomy and physiology into his practice, and added principles from chiropractic care and physiotherapy. Shiatsu aims to improve a patient’s flow of qi, which is a person’s natural energy system that runs along internal pathways called meridians. The American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia uses a traffic metaphor to describe it:
“The meridians form a network — like a system of roads, highways, and country lanes. Acupoints are found at the major junctions, crossroads, overpasses, bus stops and traffic lights. The subtle art of assessment and treatment requires the selection of specific meridians and acupoints that can be used to unblock traffic jams and enhance the free flow of traffic that results in homeostasis.”
The free movement of energy blockages and achievement of balance are the goals of Shiatsu treatment.
What conditions does Shiatsu help?
Besides making you feel relaxed and energized, what is Shiatsu massage good for treating? Shiatsu is a modality of massage that can be used to help heal a variety of internal, musculoskeletal and emotional conditions. Shiatsu can help with the following:
- Muscle stiffness
- Digestive problems
- Nervous system ailments
Shiatsu massage also aids in the treatment of many specific health issues.
- Migraines and other headaches: Reduces tension, depression and anxiety, and has been shown to diminish the intensity, duration and reliance on medication for sufferers
- Muscle pain, including low back and joint pain: Helps facilitate blood flow and circulation, aiding in healinginjured muscles
- Chronic pain, including fibromyalgia: Relieves tension and stress, improves sleep and reduces muscle and joint pain, all of which plague chronic pain sufferers
- Stress and anxiety: Increases relaxation and soothes body tension and pain, while increasing the release of serotonin and dopamine
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Decreases cortisol and increases serotonin and dopamine, which can calm some of the condition’s symptoms
- Pregnancy discomfort: Elevates mood, increases blood flow and range of motion, helping relax and prep mothers-to-be for childbirth
- Sleep issues, including fatigue and insomnia: Promotes relaxation and reduces stress, leading to more ZZZs
Studying Shiatsu massage
The Acupuncture and Massage College offers a massage therapy degree program that includes a certification in Shiatsu massage training. Get an edge with your training by enrolling in one of our programs, which start every four weeks and take as little as 8.5 months to complete. Call (305) 595-5900 and ask for the admissions department.