Essential Guide to Shiatsu Massage

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Table of Contents

What is a Shiatsu Massage?

Shiatsu is a type of massage therapy that was primarily developed in Japan. With its name derived from the Japanese term for “finger pressure,” this Japanese massage involves applying pressure to specific points on the body, moving from one point to another in a rhythmic sequence.

Shiatsu has roots in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and was developed to improve the flow of good energy through the human bloodstream. This flow of energy is called “qi” or “chi”. According to the principles of TCM, blockages in the flow of chi can contribute to a wide range of illnesses. A Shiatsu therapist would use their fingers and palms to help regulate the flow of qi to promote healing results.

What Does Shiatsu Feel Like?

When performing Shiatsu, therapists apply deep pressure using their fingers, thumbs, and/or palms in a continuous sequence. The finger pads are used to apply pressure, and each point is typically held for two to eight seconds.

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Benefits of Shiatsu Massage


According to a European Shiatsu Federation (ESF) study, 95% of massage clients that receive Shiatsu treatment feel more relaxed after getting the treatment. Another ESF study showed 54% of the people who get a Shiatsu treatment sleep better afterwards.

Digestion and Constipation

If we focus the Shiatsu treatments on the abdominal area, it can speed up digestion and bowel movement. The pressure applied during the massage releases stiffness in the intestines and colon which supports bowel movement, waste elimination, and improves your overall metabolism.

Arthritis & Muscle Aches

Applying the necessary pressure to acupoints helps remove tension from muscle spasms, reduce pain and inflammation, and increase circulation flexibility, which is an effective treatment for arthritis and muscle aches. According to an ESF study, this treatment gave relief to more than 85% of participants that suffered from chronic spine discomfort and posture issues.

Menstrual Cramps and Labor Support

In the East, Shiatsu services are the go-to treatment to help women with deep menstrual cramps. During pregnancy, massage therapy can reduce swelling and morning sickness. Shiatsu also aids in labor where the baby turns in the womb, and can even be used to induce labor in overdue women.

Pain Management

Research has proven that Shiatsu services can treat pain from physical problems. Athletes that suffer career-threatening injuries tend to have regular Shiatsu treatment for a rapid recovery with less pain. The fresh blood released from untied knots inside muscle tissues helps in fighting pain.

Improved Energy Flow

The ultimate goal with Shiatsu therapy is to bring a uniform and healthy state to your entire body. It helps your body be more accepting of its internal energy system. The therapists follow a body map and intentionally apply pressure in areas that collectively help your whole system.

Stress & Anxiety Relief

Mental health practitioners recommend trying massage therapy to help with anxiety. Research has shown that Shiatsu can benefit predictable anxiety in patients that have gone through severe accidents or trauma.

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Precautions to take for Shiatsu Massage

People with certain health and medical conditions should be more cautious than others when going for a Shiatsu treatment:

  • If you’re pregnant and want to get a massage, always speak to your doctor beforehand. Communicate with the therapist about your pregnancy stage.
  • Massages that involve deep pressure are not recommended for people that have cancer. Patients that have a tumor in any part of their body are also recommended to not get a massage until it is cured.
  • People with bleeding disorders are advised to not opt for any massage that involves deep pressure.
  • People that use blood-thinning medication are requested to contact their health practitioner prior to a massage.

How Do I Book a Shiatsu Massage Near Me?

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