Shiatsu is a physical therapy that has been used by practitioners in China and Japan since the early 6th Century BC. The massage technique was known as Anma massage in ancient times, and over time the healing aspect of Shiatsu was neglected in favour of its use as a source of relaxation. In the early 20th Century the technique was reinvented in the west by the Japanese therapist Tamai Tempa. This practitioner combined the ancient techniques of Anma massage with western physiological and anatomical knowledge to create the therapy we now know as Shiatsu Massage.
The term Shiatsu is simply the Japanese term for ‘finger pressure’. The therapist uses a combination of massage techniques and finger and palm pressure in specific areas to stimulate the body’s natural abilities to heal and balance itself.
Shiatsu massage, in common with other holistic therapy techniques, is primarily concerned with how the physical body is affected by the spiritual body. It is a ‘whole body therapy’ and aims to bring the spiritual, emotional and physical body into balance.
During a Shiatsu Massage therapy session the practitioner will ask the client to lie fully clothed on a futon in a peaceful and healing space. The practitioner uses touch, comfortable but firm pressure, and manipulative movement techniques to balance the flow of energy between the physical, spiritual and emotional aspect of the body.
A Shiatsu massage is a deeply relaxing whole body experience. Therapists recommend its use for a whole range of physical and emotional issues. The client will find themselves experiencing a feeling of deep peace and relaxation, which may help them to better cope with emotional issues including stress, depression and anxiety. The therapist uses their physiological and anatomical knowledge to deeply manipulate core muscles. Regular Shiatsu sessions will assist to alleviate muscle pain and maintain a feeling or health and well being. The principles of Shiatsu massage are discussed in more detail more detail at dedicated Shiatsu Massage websites.
There are a number of societies and associations which regulate and accredit shiatsu practitioners, and a body called the General Shiatsu Council is in the process of creating a unified regulatory body for shiatsu. One of the larger member societies is the Shiatsu Society which maintains two public registers of qualified practitioners – MRSS and Graduate.