Shiatsu massage is an ancient Japanese technique that’s designed to tap into the energy flows of your body and improve your overall health. It’s more than just your typical massage as it actually is meant to help improve your mind, body, and soul. The Japanese borrowed a lot of the philosophical underpinnings of this massage technique from the Chinese more than 1000 years ago.
I decided to include this article to give the visitors to the site a better understanding of what Shiatsu is really all about. We often hear it mentioned in association with massage chairs and massage cushions, but after talking to some friends and family members it’s become clear to me that most of them don’t really understand what it’s really all about. Hopefully we’ll clarify things for you here.
Mind, Body, and Soul
Shiatsu massage really is designed to be an overall approach to wellness. Its practitioners actually argue that if you truly commit yourself to the technique it will improve all aspects of your life including mind, body, and soul. For the ancient Japanese this meant controlling the energy flow in your body, or what they called Qi. Again, as we’ve already eluded to in the opening paragraphs of this article, these philosophies borrow largely on Chinese philosophy.
Posture and Breathing
In keeping with the philosophy that this technique is designed to help you achieve overall wellness in all aspects of your life, it doesn’t just rely on the actual massage aspects as the only means for achieving this. If you’re truly practicing Shiatsu massage then you’re also encouraged to consider proper posture and good breathing as well. It really is a lifestyle choice.
Extensive Use of Pressure Techniques
Where Shiatsu massage techniques differ from other methods such as Swedish massage, apart from its philosophical underpinnings, is in how the therapist approaches the massage technique. Shiatsu depends more on the therapist using their thumbs and fingers to attack certain pressure points instead of using their palms to cover the whole body.
Don’t Forget to Stretch
Another important aspect of the Shiatsu massage technique is making sure you stretch properly before and after your massage. In fact, you might compare this in a way to the yoga techniques that are so common these days. The idea is that in order for the therapist to be able to reach those target areas you have to make your body open to their techniques, and stretching can help you do this.
Increasing Your Blood Circulation
There are actually scientific underpinnings to the benefits of Shiatsu massage techniques. By attacking certain pressure points in your body directly in order to relieve stress, the technique can also help to improve blood circulation. Stress isn’t good for you at all, but tackling it requires an overall approach that includes mental and physical techniques such as the Shiatsu massage.
The 12 Meridians
To truly understand how Shiatsu massage works you should be aware that its practitioners argue that there are 12 meridians in the body; pressure points that can be targeted to relieve stress on the various organs in your body. The idea is that when your organs are functioning properly they will help to increase your circulation and the energy flows in your body.
No Massage Oil
One very distinctive feature of Shiatsu massage is that there are no massage oils involved. Other methods use massage oils extensively and that’s why you have to remove your clothing in order for them to be effective. Shiatsu, on the other hand, does not require any massage oil and for the most part its practitioners are comfortable massaging their clients with their clothes still on.
It Can Be Uncomfortable for Some
While this type of massage is very beneficial for most people some find it very uncomfortable. By targeting certain points on the body Shiatsu practitioners are usually very intense in their approach. In fact, some people even find the technique painful – at least while the massage is being performed. If you can get through it there’s bound to be lasting positive effects, but some people simply can’t handle it; if this describes you then you may want to consider other methods. The same is true with massage chairs; one of the common complaints leveled at Shiatsu massage chairs is that the built-in rollers actually push on the body too hard and can even result in bruising. This isn’t necessarily a fault in the chair, as it’s just the manufacturers attempt to replicate the real Shiatsu experience. It isn’t for everybody but, for people who like it, they can’t imagine living without it.
If you decide to give Shiatsu massage a try there’s a good chance you’ll notice a difference in your overall well-being. To truly get the advantages of this technique it’s probably better to visit an actual Shiatsu massage therapist, but for the busy person on the go a Shiatsu massage chair or massage cushion is a great alternative. It isn’t for everybody, but people who like it firmly believe that it improves their well-being – mind, body, and soul.