Shiatsu in the Japanese language means “finger pressure”. As the translation indicates, pressure is applied to acupressure points along the meridian lines of the body using the fingers as well as elbows, knees, and sometimes feet. Rotation and stretching of limbs and joints is also common practice in a Shiatsu massage. Based on the work of Tamai Tempaku, this type of massage therapy has been widely practiced around the world since the 1970s and is based on Japanese anma traditional massage. During the twentieth century, Shiatsu distinguished itself from anma through the merging of Western knowledge of anatomy, acupressure and other Chinese medicine, healing breathing practices and Buddhism.
Similar to Acupressure, Shiatsu therapy is used to unblock the flow of life energy and restore balance in the organs and meridians in order to encourage self-healing and relaxation of the body.
In Chinese medicine there is a theory that we are made up of “qi” or “chi”: an all-pervading energy that flows through us and everything in the universe. In Acupuncture, there are twelve pathways in the body called meridians, in which this vital energy flows. Each meridian is associated with specific organs (lungs, stomach, spleen, heart, bladder, kidney, heart, gallbladder, liver, and small and large intestines). When energy becomes blocked, the meridians unalign and it affects these organs, causing physical and mental stress. However, through Shiatsu massage therapy, we re-align the meridians and bring our body and mind back into balance. This is how healing occurs through Shiatsu.