The shiatsu therapy: what it is, how it helps and what other massage techniques to consider

Applying oil for the Shiatsu massage therapy

Originated in Japan, the shiatsu technique can be translated as ‘finger pressure’. Shiatsu reaches the Ki concept through which our bodies maintain their internal harmony. The same massage therapy can be also experienced at home, on a professional massage chair.

What is shiatsu, the Japan traditional therapy

Activating the Ki, or our body’s life force, shiatsu therapy focuses on detecting areas in which our energy flow is hindered or blocked, manipulating various points of pressure through stretching, kneading, and tapping. Practitioners connect to our energy levels by starting each session from the abdominal area or the Hara.

The main benefits of shiatsu massage

Operating on our body’s capacity to self heal, shiatsu restores our energetic balance, releasing tension, and activating relaxation. Shiatsu is connected to outstanding effects on digestive and bowel disorders, improving appetite, releasing toxins, and tackling nausea.

The effect of shiatsu on the respiratory system recommends it for hay fever, asthma, and the overall sensitivity to colds.Tacking muscle pain and tension, shiatsu is also integrated in the rehabilitation of sports injuries. Beneficial for poor posture, shiatsu also improves sciatica issues, and can also be applied for arthritis. As a strong mood lifted, shiatsu is praised for its impact on fatigue, insomnia, stress, anxiety, and depression. Stimulating the hormonal system, shiatsu can also be applied for premenstrual syndrome and low libido.

Woman receiving shiatsu massage
There are multiple reasons for trying the shiatsu massage and you can take full advantage of its benefits at your home while using a professional massage chair

However, different health goals demand distinctive massage techniques. For example, a low energy level can be rebalanced by stimulating blood circulation. Anxiety and stress can be tackled by diffusing energy.

How it works and what to expect during a shiatsu therapy session

A shiatsu massage session usually lasts about an hour. Each session is unique adapted to the clients specific needs at a given moment. Therefore, each session debuts through a series of questions related to the client’s lifestyle, health status, and overall wellbeing. Shiatsu massage doesn’t require having clients or patients unclothed. Loose fitting clothes and socks are best recommended for a shiatsu session. Sessions are conducted on the floor or on a mattress. Practitioners may use their fingers, elbows, knees, toes, and even feet, as shiatsu techniques do not require oils or equipment.

Are there any risks associated with Japanese therapy?

Shiatsu doesn’t expose our body to health risks beyond the discomfort of experiencing a delayed onset muscle soreness 24-48 h after sessions if the therapist had applied more pressure than necessary, leading to micro fibre tears. In the following hours after a shiatsu session, we may also experience mild side effects such as headaches, muscle stiffness, and tiredness.

However, shiatsu can cause risks for blood cancers and chemotherapy, especially in cases of high blood pressure. The increased pressure manipulated through the shiatsu techniques are also likely to affect bone fracture, herniated disc, and ankylosing spondylitis. Osteoporosis requires increased care from practitioners to reduce the intensity of their routine. Operating with energy, and, thus, activating variations within our body heat makes shiatsu massage not advised for acute illness or fever, arrhythmia, uncontrolled diabetes, and even flu. Nevertheless, though not requiring nudity and not operating with oils and equipment, shiatsu should be avoided on areas of inflammation, skin lesions, recent wounds, and varicose.

Other popular massage techniques

Shiatsu can be regarded as the modern interpretation of the Anna massage tradition which allows complementing each session with additional reflexotherapy techniques. For example, acupressure may also be integrated, as it uses the same energy points as shiatsu. Nevertheless, practitioners may also integrate ashiatsu in their sessions. Implying strokes conducted through bare feet, the ashiatsu technique operates on deep compression, relieving pressure through assisted stretching.

How to get a shiatsu massage at home

Since each massage sessions is individualised on the issues we confront ourselves with in a given moment, we can always perform shiatsu on ourselves, especially in easily accessible areas such as our abdominal region or our limbs. However, we may experience some challenges when accessing our back or when maintaining the required focus to actually conduct an energy flow through our body.

The Komoder Therapeutix massage chair with shiatsu massage therapy
The Komoder Therapeutix massage chair can offer the shiatsu massage therapy at your demand with its multiple massage functions

Nevertheless, we can access the benefits of shiatsu in our homes through a massage chair, such as the Komoder professional massage chairs. Present in most models of massage chairs, the shiatsu function operates through adjusted tension points and gentle heat flows which allow activating the energy transmission targeted by practitioners in their techniques.

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