Shiatsu massage is a beneficial practice which originated in China around 530 B.C. and was quickly picked up by Japan, Korea and the rest of Asia. Contrasting with the basis of Western medicine, which sees illnesses as problems that need to be fixed with a pill, Eastern medicine is based on the idea that the mind and body need to be in balance with their surroundings.
Qi is your body's vital energy which flows through pathways known as meridians and is responsible for all of your body's functions. It is a fundamental concept in Japanese and Chinese medicine and has been used for millennia. Indicators of poor health such as pain and illness are caused by a lack, imbalance or blockage of Qi. Certified Shiatsu therapists have training in recognizing patterns of disharmony in your body, even if you have not experienced symptoms yet.
What Is a Shiatsu Massage?
A Shiatsu massage is based on traditional Chinese medicine and is part of a holistic system which includes acupuncture. However, Shiatsu translates to finger pressure, sometimes called acupressure. It has been used for centuries in Asia but exploded in popularity in the United States in the 1970s. It uses the palms and fingers, especially the thumbs, to balance energy pathways within your body so your Qi can flow freely and abundantly. It also treats several ailments and promotes relaxation and better sleep. Benefits are felt after the first treatment, but it is best to receive treatment regularly, even if you are feeling well. It is an excellent preventative measure once you get better. Shiatsu massage amplifies your body's ability to heal itself by stimulating the circulatory, lymphatic and hormonal system, and regulating the activity of the automatic nervous system. It is used annually by over 39 million Americans and 53% of those were recommended this massage as an alternative therapy for pain by their general health practitioners. If you are struggling from illnesses of the hormonal, lymphatic or circulatory system, seek a local registered Shiatsu therapist and ask if they will bill your health insurance provider for you. This massage therapy technique is similar to other alternative therapy techniques such as physiotherapy, lymphatic drainage, and osteopathy.
The Relaxation of a Shiatsu Massage
Shiatsu massage is one of the most relaxing types of massages. Almost 95 percent of people who receive this type of massage feel calmer and more relaxed afterward; It has been reported that 54 percent of people sleep better and over 85 percent experience reduced or eliminated pain including pain caused by constipation. Licensed shiatsu therapists can help you get whatever you need out of the massage therapy. It can be sedative and calming if you have trouble sleeping. It can be remedial in the beginning but then become preventative. It can be invigorating and stimulating if that is what it takes to ease your pain. Whether you need treatment once a month or you need regular sessions due to extreme stress, it is a highly effective method to improve vitality, maintain wellness and protect your mental health.
Let go of the stress of your day, week, or life by taking time for yourself. Chronic pain causes anxiety and depression and can negatively impact your life. Improve the flow of energy in your body by fixing imbalances and enjoy a better, happier, more relaxed, centered and grounded version of yourself. This type of massage does not just relax you. It also soothes migraines and helps you sleep. Pain and sleep deprivation are both terrible for your mental health, but shiatsu can help. It is done wearing loose clothing on a mat on the floor or low massage table in a rhythmic sequence with each point being held for around two to eight seconds.
Some massage therapists specialize in more than just shiatsu massage. Other specialties include Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, chair massage, prenatal massage, stone therapy massage and Thai massage. Each specialty is good for different needs. For example, Swedish massage therapy is based on Western concepts of physiology and anatomy rather than energy based massages of Asian styles. It is particularly useful for recovering from injury. Prenatal massage is performed on a modified table that allows women to rest safely and comfortably. It relieves swollen ankles and lower back pain without taking any medications which may be harmful to your baby.
Within Shiatsu, there are several styles including:
Benefits of a Shiatsu Massage
There are many physical and psychological benefits of a Shiatsu massage. Research is still being conducted to discover more benefits of this massage, but here are some of the best benefits.
Many athletes use Shiatsu to aid their cutting the night before a weigh-in. When this technique is applied to the lower abdominal region, it stimulates the bowels. The pulling and stretching of the massage relaxes the intestines and colon and loosens the muscles allowing you to produce a bowel movement which may be enough to ensure their qualification for their desired weight class.
Shiatsu massage eliminates muscle spasms and tension. Besides rubbing and pulling the muscles and skin, Shiatsu uses the technique of pressing on acupressure points to release muscle tension. Many of us cannot sleep due to severe muscle pain. By reducing muscle aches and pains, tension, joint pain, and posture, recipients of this massage feel better and sleep better at night. By increasing your range of motion, this massage improves poor posture which is a major cause of low back pain.
Along with treating constipation, shiatsu allows food to digest more easily. It also increases stamina by increasing your fat metabolism and removal from your stored energy reserves. Furthermore, it improves cellular nutrition and circulation. If you are suffering from weakness and fatigue, you may benefit from Shiatsu massage restoring and maintaining the energy levels in your body.
Menstruation and Pregnancy
For thousands of years, Eastern Asians have used shiatsu massage to ease pain caused during a woman's menstrual cycle. Not only does it alleviate menstrual cramping, but it also helps babies turn in the womb and women in labor. It is used to induce labor in women who are overdue when their health is at risk because their baby is growing too large for their bodies. It also reduces swelling caused by pregnancy and eliminates morning sickness.
By improving blood circulation through stimulating the capillaries in the soft tissues of your skin, Shiatsu improves the look and glow of your skin. This does not just benefit aging women. It benefits men and women of all ages. It also keeps your skin smooth and moist by stimulating the secretion of the sebaceous glands. This prevents the formation of wrinkles and improves the resilience of your skin.
Shiatsu massage is excellent for rheumatoid arthritis, the chronic inflammation of your body's tissue which attacks the cushioning between your joints. This massage can be applied to any area affected by arthritis including the hands, feet, and spine. It also reduces muscular pain by limbering the muscles, improving muscle nutrition and improving your range of motion. It also treats osteoarthritis, sprains, sciatica and acute and chronic spinal pain.
Migraines result from blood vessels in your brain or head rapidly shrinking and expanding. Massage increases blood flow and circulation throughout the body and relaxes your head. It also eases the side effects of chemotherapy and reduces stress, tension, anxiety, and depression caused by chronic pain. This leaves you feeling more calm and relaxed, while eliminating the pain that caused the depression and anxiety in the first place. Finally, it improves blood pressure irregularities, sinusitis, and bronchitis.
Shiatsu massage is an excellent natural way to solve a wide variety of ailments. It has been used for thousands of years in the East and is based on traditional Chinese medicine. It is performed on a low massage table or mat on the floor primarily to reduce stress. A licensed Shiatsu therapist does not use lotion or oil as you would expect with a Western-style massage, so wear loose clothing when you go. It has been used for millennia to treat menstrual cramps and benefit babies in the womb and pregnant mothers. It is sometimes even used to induce labor. If you are pregnant, ask your massage therapist if they are also licensed for prenatal massage. Many general health practitioners recommend Shiatsu massage for the primary or complementary treatment of insomnia. Ask your massage therapist if she bills health insurance companies, so you do not have to pay out of pocket for your treatment. This type of massage is also used to treat all sorts of arthritis including osteoarthritis in the spine and rheumatoid arthritis in the feet and hands. Shiatsu therapy opens up your body's energy flow to boost your immune system, protecting you from colds, bronchitis and other infectious illnesses. It is also great for those suffering from skin conditions such as dull or wrinkly skin. It increases blood flow to your brain to ease chronic migraines and is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. It not only relaxes you by giving you time to focus on yourself, it also takes away your pain which is often a major stressor or cause of depression in our lives.