Shiatsu is a form of oriental bodywork from Japan. It utilizes thumb, finger, palm, forearm, elbow, and foot pressure along with rocking and stretching to access and move an individual’s energy for the purpose of stimulating natural healing through the intelligence of the body.
- Decreased Anxiety
- Enhanced Sleep Quality
- Energy Upliftment
- Balances Energy
- Improved Concentration
- Increased Circulation
- Reduced Fatigue
- Stimulates Life Force
- Clears Stress Patterns
- Liberates the body’s Healing Power
- Encourages better alignment Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, Spiritually
- Clearer view of Life Spheres
- Clearer about One’s own Self
- Harmonious sense of Wellbeing
- Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
- Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays.
- Ease medication dependence.
- Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body’s natural defense system.
- Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
- Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
- Improve the condition of the body’s largest organ—the skin.
- Increase joint flexibility.
- Lessen depression and anxiety.
- Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
- Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
- Reduce postsurgery adhesions and swelling.
- Reduce spasms and cramping.
- Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
- Release endorphins—amino acids that work as the body’s naturalpainkiller.
- Relieve migraine pain.
Shiatsu treats the meridian pathways in the body where Ki flows. Ki is energy, more specifically it is movement, communication, thoughts, feelings, respiration, digestion, and all other bodily functions. Ki is Life. Shin Tai further incorporates work with fascia, structure, cranial sacral, and meningeal elements to release stress matrixes and recover Life Force.
Tamai Tempaku first coined the name Shiatsu in 1916. This was done in an effort to preserve Japanese massage as a healing art thus separating Shiatsu from Anma, which had become viewed as more of a relaxation therapy. The simple meaning of the word Shiatsu is thumb pressure. However, a deeper look at the word reveals a much more rich meaning. Shi – refers to the thumb but it also means heart and fire and is tied to consciousness. Tsu – refers to pressure but also to the ‘cycling of electro-magnetic energy’, which is tied to Life Force. The ‘A’ in Shiatsu is what ties Consciousness to Life Force thus creating physical life.
Through pressure, Shiatsu balances Yin and Yang energies and opens Ki blockages thus supporting a smooth energetic flow that enhances and supports biological, emotional, and psychological growth. Shiatsu empowers the individual. Shiatsu is a form of therapy that supports and strengthens an individual’s natural ability to heal and harmonize the body … all the bodies…physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual.
One of Tempaku’s students, Tokujiro Namikoshi, is considered the Founder of Modern Shiatsu. He coined the phrase “All you have to do is press.” Namikoshi created the Japan Shiatsu College in 1940. He took the traditional Shiatsu technique and combined it with Western anatomy and physiology. He did not emphasize reliance on the Five Elements instead his approach was much more Western. The Japanese government with a series of laws passed during 1955-1964 officially recognized Shiatsu.
Another of Tempaku’s students was the mother of Shizuto Masunaga. Shizuto Masunaga studied at the Japan Shiatsu College and is considered the Father of Zen Shiatsu, which he created in the 1970’s, which further incorporated psychology and neurology into its practice. Shizuto Masunaga blended Western and Eastern approaches to the body and he extended the twelve traditional meridians throughout the body.
There are many schools of shiatsu around the world. There are many styles of shiatsu around the world. They all seek to move energy, balance energy, and promote self-healing.
Although, Shiatsu received its name in 1916, it is an ancient practice. It stems from Chinese medicine utilizing meridians, acupuncture points, and Chinese medical theory. History claims that in the 6th century a Buddhist monk introduced Chinese medicine and philosophies to Japan. To take this further, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Chinese philosophies have a lot of similarities with Ayurveda and Indian philosophies. It is believed that these two great societies communicated and shared ideas. The point that is being made here is that the word Shiatsu may be modern but the history of what is incorporated into its practices has its roots in antiquity.