Shiatsu, a traditional healing art from Japan, has its roots in the ancient wisdom and principles of Chinese medicine. Shiatsu is often called“acupuncture without needles.” “Shi” means finger and “atsu”means pressure.
The shiatsu specialist uses thumb and finger pressure to stimulate the entire meridian pathway, rather than inserting needles into a few specific points along the channel. The benefits include restoring vitality and healthy function to your body, and harmony and clarity to your mind.
Clients are fully clothed during treatment. Shiatsu is non-invasive and profoundly effective for a range of common complaints, injuries and illnesses.
A BRIEF HISTORY
Shiatsu is based on the same system as acupuncture, but with shiatsu, no needles are used. Chinese medicine dates from the 1st century B.C.E. with the oldest written medical text still in existence – The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. This text documents the sphere of bodywork in Asian medicine and states that “finger pressure is used to promote digestive function and restore vigor.” Asian medicine was brought to Japan by a Buddhist priest, Gan Jin Osho, in 552 C.E.
In Japan, it is believed to this day that no instrument will ever surpass the precision and sensitivity of the human hand for assessing energy and being able to determine the condition of a person’s health. For this reason, examination and diagnosis by palpation has been developed to an extraordinary degree in Japan.
The Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare defines shiatsu therapy as “a form of manipulation administered by the thumbs, fingers and palms, without the use of any instrument, mechanical or otherwise, to apply pressure to the human skin, correct internal malfunctioning, promote and maintain health, and treat specific diseases.” The ministry lists over 200 health concerns for which shiatsu is considered a primary treatment. In the United States, the National Institute of Health (NIH) has come to concur. The research on acupuncture and massage shows agreement.
WHAT SHIATSU OFFERS
Shiatsu addresses a wide variety of complaints. Some of the benefits are:
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Pain relief from backache, headache, muscle tension or injury
- Increased mobility and flexibility
Shiatsu is used to assist recovery from mild to severe injuries from accidents or sports. Shiatsu relieves pain due to backache, headache, arthritis, and sore muscles caused by too much or too little exercise or repetitive motion. Shiatsu boosts the immune system and is effective in the treatment of fatigue, low energy, insomnia and quality of sleep.
Shiatsu has proven successful in treating digestive complaints such as heartburn, constipation, abdominal discomfort and general sluggishness. Shiatsu is commonly used for women’s health, menstrual and menopausal complaints,and all stages of pregnancy, including fertility and birthing.
Shiatsu is very helpful for respiratory problems such as shortness of breath, asthma, allergies, and sinuses. Shiatsu combines successfully with other forms of treatment. It strengthens and increases the actions of acupuncture and naturopathy and aids the digestion and absorption of herbs. It combines very well with chiropractic in two ways: if received beforehand, it makes manipulations easier; if afterwards, it helps keep adjustments longer.
Clients report that Shiatsu enhances personal and spiritual development. They experience feeling grounded and centered and having a heightened awareness of being in the body. They comment on the added strength, stability and awareness they gain as an extra advantage for their personal and spiritual development. Shiatsu relaxes the mind and strengthens the body. It promotes health and helps create a positive outlook on life. It empowers a grounded assessment and interpretation of life’s events, and the ability to respond from the heart.
WHEN TO SEEK TREATMENT
You can seek out shiatsu treatments for many diverse reasons. You may want to remedy the physical symptoms of acute or chronic pain and discomfort. You may need some relief from stress, anxiety or tension. Perhaps you are not really sick but you don’t feel quite up to par. Maybe your brain is a bit “foggy” and you would like to have better clarity and focus or feel more grounded. You could be facing the “empty nest” and need a stronger sense of self and of purpose.
Shiatsu has proven effective for treating a variety of mild to severe complaints in categories such as:
Injury – auto accidents, sports injuries, repetitive motion
Pain – backache, headache, muscle tension, joint pain, chronic pain, neck & shoulders, low back & hips
Digestion – heartburn, constipation/sluggishness, bloating,loose stool/diarrhea
Immune System – fatigue, low energy, sleep problems, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome
Respiratory – allergies, sinusitis, asthma, shortness of breath
Women’s Health – menstrual, menopausal, pregnancy, fertility
Shiatsu also combines successfully with other forms of treatment:
Acupuncture – integrates treatment, assists digestion of herbs
Naturopathy – helps absorb remedies, stimulates detoxification
Chiropractic – makes manipulations easier, sustains adjustments longer
Shiatsu enhances personal and spiritual development. Clients report:
~ Increased vitality and vigor
~ Feeling grounded and centered
~ Awareness of “being in the body”
~ Tuning in to their inner knowing
~ Developing a desire to connect with Spirit
BLUEPRINT OF A SHIATSU SESSION
Before the first treatment I talk with you about your needs and goals and email you some basic information and directions to the office. When you arrive you fill out a brief health history form, and I will probably have a few more questions based on the information you provide. When that is complete, you move into the treatment room and change into loose, comfortable clothing. You lie on the table fully clothed and I come in.
I apply palms, fingers and thumbs to the entire meridian system (the lines you see on an acupuncture chart that connect the points). I work through the clothing, so no oils or lotions are used.
- The amount of pressure can vary from gentle to firm, depending on your needs and comfort
- A session lasts approximately 45-60 minutes, determined by the condition of your health at the time of treatment
- Your whole body is addressed, even if your only reason for treatment is a stiff neck (the meridians that treat a stiff neck will run from head to foot)
- After the treatment, you typically feel very calm, relaxed and clear-headed
- Your complaints will often be either gone, or at least noticeably reduced
- The results tend to last longer than a regular massage for most people. There is a cumulative effect after several treatments that lasts even longer – for some clients, as long as months; a few have even said years
In traditional Asian medicine a typical course of Shiatsu treatment for one complaint begins with 10 sessions, 30-50 minutes each, one to three times a week. These days, in America, we usually see clients less frequently – once a week, once a month, or anything in between. It depends on the desired results, the severity of the condition, and whether the condition is acute or chronic. For a strong and healthy person with little or no stress in life, quarterly treatments are recommended at the change of seasons.
We evaluate the effectiveness of treatments every two or three sessions to determine whether the best strategy is to continue with the treatment plan, refine or modify it, or, if resolved, conclude the course of treatment. One fact to keep in mind is that all forms of natural medicine show best results with a cumulative build up. To determine how Shiatsu will work for you, consider an initial series of three consecutive weekly treatments to get a sense of its cumulative effect.
WHAT I PROVIDE AS A SPECIALIST
Since 1975, I have trained extensively with Shiatsu masters, European osteopaths, Asian acupuncturists, American chiropractors and shamanic healers from five cultures. These, combined with many years of treatment experience, form my personal technique. I love my work!
What I bring to the table:
- I have 35+ yrs of experience treating everything from stress and fatigue to backache and headache, from digestion and PMS to accidents and injuries, from depression and insomnia to allergies and sinuses
- I listen intently to what you say as well as to what your body tells me
- I give specific attention to your areas of complaint and pay attention to any additional areas of disharmony
- I track your progress, answer your questions, and help you connect the dots when you can’t make sense of what is going on in your body
- I will always tell you when I think a different treatment will help you, and I will recommend someone whose skills and integrity I trust
My wish for you is that you be happy and healthy!