Information on Shiatsu Massage
Definition of Shiatsu Massage
The word Shiatsu comes from the Japanese words Shi and Atsu, meaning “finger” and “pressure”. Shiatsu uses methods similar to Chinese acupressure and Anma massage, combined with western massage techniques in order to restore the body’s chi (internal energy) flow. This is accomplished mainly by applying pressure with the fingers, thumbs, palms, knuckles, elbows, knees and even feet along energy channels called meridians. These meridians are thought to correspond to internal organs, balancing the flow of chi and aiding in their proper function.
Shiatsu Massage Chairs vs. Authentic Shiatsu Massage Treatments
Over the past ten years, so-called “Shiatsu massage chairs” have become increasingly popular, despite the fact that they are far less effective than traditional Shiatsu massage. Diagnosis of chi obstruction is an important part of shiatsu massage that often goes overlooked. Since Shiatsu treatment relies on balancing the body’s chi flow, the practitioner must find the problem before it can be fixed. Some people believe that they can get an effective Shiatsu massage from an electric Shiatsu massage chair despite the fact that there is no way for it to perform diagnostic functions. Also, stretching is a major part of any Shiatsu treatment. A chair won’t instruct you on correct stretching techniques to increase treatment effectiveness. Finally, if the user of the chair is positioned improperly, the artificial “hands” of the chair won’t align with the chi meridians, meaning the “massage” could potentially do more harm than good.
How to Perform Shiatsu Massage: Tips and Techniques
- Warm up the affected tissue before beginning the massage. Heat packs or hot showers are recommended, but gentle compressions with the heel of the hand can also be an effective warm-up method.
- Ask the patient to drink plenty of water, both before and after the treatment to aid in the flushing of toxin from the body. Without proper hydration, the released toxins will have no way of leaving the body.
- During treatment, look for subtle, nonverbal cues that the patient may give in response to pain stimuli. Some patients will attempt to hold back from vocalizing the pain, which may cause you to miss problem areas.
- In the case of serious injury, be sure to recommend that the patient visit a doctor in addition to their regular Shiatsu treatments. Shiatsu Massage should be complementary to other medical treatments, not a replacement for them.
Is Shiatsu Massage Safe?
Shiatsu Massage isn’t recommended during periods of acute illness (such as flu accompanied by high fever), or for those with poisoning of any kind (food, venom), external injuries (wounds, fractures), kidney failure, respiratory failure, contagious skin diseases or advanced stage cancers.
Benefits of Shiatsu Massage
Shiatsu is reported to help alleviate many different types of health related issues including nausea, vomiting, migraine headaches, back pain, whiplash, sciatica, arthritis, dislocation, insomnia, abdominal pain, joint pain, muscle pain dizziness, vertigo, carpal tunnel, anxiety, and fatigue. While it works well as a treatment, Shiatsu can be used as a preventative measure as well because it increases circulation and removes toxins from the body that can build up and weaken the immune system.