What is Shiatsu?
Shiatsu, which literally translated means 'finger pressure' is a traditional Japanese healing art, promoting well-being and stimulating the body's healing ability. Shiatsu is a deeply relaxing experience, and regular sessions can help to relieve tension in our everyday lives, improve mood and aid sleep.
Background to Shiatsu
The philosophy underlying Shiatsu is that vital energy (known as Ki in Japanese, and Chi in Chinese) flows throughout the body in a series of channels called meridians. For many different reasons this circulation of Ki can be disturbed and the flow affected, leading, in time, to symptoms in mind and body. In Shiatsu, the practitioner will consider your state of health and any symptoms you may be experiencing, and depending on your constitution and general energy levels, will use a variety of techniques to improve your energy flow. These may include gentle holding, pressing with palms, thumbs or fingers on the meridians, other soft-tissue massage movements and, when appropriate, careful stretching techniques.
As the quality of Ki changes, the symptoms associated with a deficient or congested energy flow will gradually improve. Shiatsu is a therapy that works on the individual as a complete being – addressing the physical, as well as the emotional and mental, aspects of the whole person.
What to expect in a session
Each session lasts approximately one hour. The first appointment will include history-taking and a treatment. The Shiatsu session itself takes place with the client lying on a cotton and wool-filled futon at floor level. Cushions are available to aid comfort and relaxation. It is possible to receive Shiatsu sitting on a chair if you are unable to lie down. The client stays fully clothed throughout.
Following a treatment, there is often a feeling of deep relaxation, increased vitality and elevation of mood. Occasionally there may be a feeling of tiredness and a desire to sleep. Sometimes emotions will surface during or after the session. This is usually experienced as a release. In the course of a series of treatments an individual will usually experience a range of these effects as energies settle and balance.
Guidelines for receiving Shiatsu
Please bring or wear loose comfortable clothing, preferably cotton e.g. T-shirt, loose-fitting trousers and cotton socks.
- Do not eat heavily during the two hours prior to treatment.
- After treatment drink plenty of water to aid the release of toxins.
- Try, if possible, to avoid strenuous or stressful activities after your session.
Finding a qualified Shiatsu practitioner
The Shiatsu Society maintains a Register of qualified practitioners, each of whom has been assessed for their professionalism and clinical expertise by a panel of highly respected practitioners and teachers of Shiatsu. Only practitioners who have successfully completed this assessment may use the letters MRSS after their name.