Shiatsu means ‘finger pressure’ and it is a Japanese art which originally developed in China and it has been practiced since ancient times.
Shiatsu involves the application of mainly finger pressure. However, at times besides fingers, palms, elbows, knees and feet are also used to apply pressure on the body. Some other methods such as stretching and rotations are also employed to improve circulation of the body energy.
Shiatsu works with the energy of both the practitioner and the client. Energy is known as qi in Chinese and ki in Japanese. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Shiatsu theory describe this energy as flowing around the body in pathways called meridians. When the smooth flow of energy is disturbed, the energy becomes blocked in parts of the body, and it is this imbalance of energy that causes illness. The energy can be very depleted and blocked. This often occurs at the points that are used in acupuncture. In fact, Shiatsu is compared to acupuncture because of many similarities and it is regarded as "acupuncture without needles", although the treatment involves much more.
The first session of Shiatsu is long. In this session, the practitioner generally examines the clients in order to check the imbalance of energy along the meridians. A Shiatsu treatment is usually given to someone whilst they lie on a cotton mattress (futon) on the ground. Very loose fitting clothes should be worn just to make one feel comfortable. Clients feel the change in them mostly by the end of the 4 sessions. Further treatment is performed based on the feedback of the previous sessions.
This therapy is particularly good for chronic conditions such as back pain, headaches, joint pain, menstrual problems, digestive problems, asthma, insomnia, stress or depression. This therapy is not only meant to cure disorders. It can be practiced by anybody just to feel relaxed.