Shiatsu was mostly developed in Japan, with its name stemming from the Japanese phrase for “finger pressure.” Shiatsu’s foundational belief system and methodologies stem from traditional Chinese medicine, and it has become a popular form of massage therapy practiced in many countries throughout the world.
Some of the techniques used in a Shiatsu massage session – many of which are similar to those in other massage traditions – include physiotherapy, techniques to drain the lymphatic system, and osteopathy. However, the belief system on which Shiatsu founds its practice is different from many other massage traditions. Shiatsu therapists believe that physical and, in many cases, emotional, ailments are linked to disharmony and blockages in the body’s energy flow. Therefore, Shiatsu uses the technique of massage to target the energy system of the client. During a Shiatsu massage, the therapist strategically applies pressure to promotes the smooth and unimpeded flow of vital energies through meridians in the body, thereby rectifying disharmony in the body.
Shiatsu is also believed to treat emotional turmoil, bodily pain, and a variety of illnesses, and is believed to boost overall wellbeing in the client. According to practitioners of Shiatsu, these benefits stem from Shiatsu massage’s ability to stimulate the circulatory system, regulate the lymphatic system, and balance the body’s excretion of hormones. Some of the ailments Shiatsu is believed to target include back pain caused by poor posture, inflamed joints, neck pain, sinusitis, sprains, arthritis, sciatica, and bronchitis.