Man receiving shiatsu massage using thumb pressure.


Man receiving shiatsu massage using thumb pressure.

What is Shiatsu massage?

Originating in Japan and increasing in popularity over the last 40 years, Shiatsu massage consists of medium pressure calmly and steadily applied using the soft tips of your therapist's fingers to various, pressure point positions, over your body. It is often combined alongside a classic Swedish massage or deep tissue massage, so if your masseuse is marked as offering Shiatsu, feel free to ask your therapist to add it in to any other treatment style that she offers. 

Shiatsu massage, like many other Eastern forms of massage and healing, are based on a fundamental underlying belief in the principle that life - and therefore our bodies - comprise vital energy (known as "Qi") and a balancing harmony of opposing forces and elements that together form existence (together knows as "Yin and Yang"). 

The aim of a therapist practicing traditional Shiatsu massage, is to apply pressure along specific points of the body (known as meridian lines) to release any blockages that have formed. This is believed to balance your Qi and when your energy is balanced, it is believed natural healing is more efficient. The meridian lines are believed to be closely aligned with the body's nervous and immune systems. 

Whilst there are various theories and many proponents and opponents regarding these beliefs of Qi and Yin & Yang, it is relatively easy to subscribe to the theory that any system that is in harmony is more likely to be in better health and sustainability. Conversely, if a system is in disharmony it is understandable how that system may be more prone to suffering and disease.


What is Shiatsu massage good for?

Because of their background in Eastern medicine, Shiatsu massage (and acupressure generally) is believed to have a very wide range of benefits. Some of those often mentioned include:

  1. Restoring overall energy, especially helpful if you have been suffering from fatigue;
  2. helpful in reducing overall tension, stress as well as anxiety and depression;
  3. improved blood circulation;
  4. reduces common problem such as stiff neck and backaches, including sciatica; and
  5. can help aid better sleep.