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Shiatsu Massage Basics

Updated on March 27, 2013

Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu massage therapy is becoming very popular worldwide and has many health benefits. It is a traditional hands-on therapy originating in Japan. Shiatsu is a unique, non-invasive form of therapy designed to stimulate the body's inherent ability to heal itself. Literally translated from Japanese, it means "finger pressure".

Health Philosophy

Shiatsu is the philosophy that the vital energy, 'qi' in Chinese and 'ki' in Japanese, should flow through the entire body's meridians, which are a series of energy pathways. Other oriental health massage including acupuncture also use these meridian principles and believe that if there is blocked energy symptoms of diseases may be produced.

How It Is Applied

Shiatsu uses finger pressure to adjust the body and allow the vital energy to flow freely. The pressure is applied on the acupuncture points together with manipulating and stretching of the body. The technique include dynamic rotations, palm pressing and gentle holding on the elbows, feet and knees. Shiatsu massage does not utilize massage oil and is performed on the client fully clothed.

It is believed that Shiatsu massage can benefit people suffering from migraines, arthritis, joint problems, muscular pain, stress, chronic fatigue, digestive and skin disorders.

The massage typically lasts between 30 to 60 minutes. The first session is expected to be longer than the succeeding ones since the shiatsu therapist requires medical history, lifestyle details, and other health information from you.

The massage takes place with you lying down whether on a padded mat, at a floor level, or on a couch. If not, a shiatsu massage chair will be used, which is now gaining popularity because of its convenience.

What Can You Expect After The Massage

After the massage treatment, the clients should find a new sense of energy levels, as well as relaxed muscles and joints with improved mobility. It is also normal for people to experience muscle soreness and mild headaches after the treatment but should disappear after a few hours of rest. This is a result of block energy being released from the body.

Shiatsu massage is a safe form of massage and should be performed by a qualified practitioner or therapist. It is deeply relaxing as it releases tension from the body .

Shiatsu Massage Chair

Shiatsu massage or "finger-pressure" uses the fingers, palms, thumbs, knees, elbows and even feet to apply pressure to the body's energy points. By applying pressure, shiatsu can serve as preventative therapy, addressing the underlying roots as well as the symptoms of various diseases. The meridians or energy pathways are associated with most major body organs, like the lungs, kidneys, liver and heart.

The Shiatsu massage chair was designed for a more comfortable and convenient way to give the massage. The practitioner can still apply the same traditional shiatsu massage using the finger-pressure technique.

There are companies who provide workplace chair-massage. Individuals or companies make arrangements for the Shiatsu practitioner to come to the office on a weekly or monthly bases. This is a great way to promote wellness in the work place.

Little Yet Significant Known Benefits

Shiatsu massage can be very beneficial in helping to relieve a number of health complaints.

Muscle Pain and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammation occurring in the body tissues and attacking the joints. People with condition can experience a great deal of pain. Shiatsu massage has been shown to alleviate some of the symptoms. It is most effective when applied to the hands and feet and as well it can reduce pain and improving blood circulation.

Digestive and Circulatory System

Shiatsu massage has been also found to help aid digestion. A gentle massage can help to improve circulation and helps benefit the digestive system be allowing food to be digested more easily and as well aids in the elimination of body wastes.

Migraine and Headaches

If you have every experienced a migraine headache you know that all you want is for it to stop. Shiatsu massage helps to relieve the common symptoms of nausea, weakness, numbness and vision problems. It helps to increase the blood flow and improve circulation throughout the body and as well is relaxing.


Shiatsu massage helps stimulating the circulation of blood and as a result helps improve the skin. It also enables the sebaceous glands to open up which helps to keep the skin smooth and moist. And as well it improved the skin's resilience and helps to prevent wrinkles.

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    • True Blue Tips profile image

      True Blue Tips 7 years ago

      Thanks Money Glitch, I appreciate your support. I'm glad you found the hub informative.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

      Very informative, I've heard of the Shiatsu massage, however, did not know what it entailed. You can imagine my surprise when I watched the video and realized that this is part of the therapy that my chiropractor uses to realign my back when I have a flare-up from an old injury. Thanks for sharing. :) Rating up for you. :)

    • True Blue Tips profile image

      True Blue Tips 7 years ago

      Hi Immartin. I don't know where you live but if you google Shiatsu massage and your city name you might just be surprised! Good luck.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      This is an excellent article and I wish I knew of a practitioner here -- but I don't. Thanks for explaining all this. Lynda