5 things you should know about shiatsu

Ever heard of a shiatsu massage? Know what’s involved? Nope, it’s not where they rub a tiny dog up and down your back. It’s actually a form of Japanese bodywork, which has its origins in traditional Chinese medicine. And going for a shiatsu treatment could help you to heal all kinds of ailments, especially if you’ve been feeling low on energy.

Read on to find out what else you should know about this ancient tradition!

What does shiatsu mean?

The word ‘shiatsu’ means ‘finger pressure’ in Japanese. But the massage itself can involve pressure applied from the thumbs, palms, elbows, knees and even feet! It may sound intense but it’s actually an experience not to be missed; very different from a typical massage but equally – if not more – relaxing for the body and mind.

What does it aim to do?

The theory behind the practice is that the human body is made up of ‘qi’, or energy. When this energy gets blocked, we get pain, anxiety and physical disease. Shiatsu massage focuses on removing these blockages by realigning the ‘meridians’ of the body.

Interestingly, shiatsu doesn’t always involve boosting energy levels. Sometimes we have too much ‘qi’ in our bodies and we need this energy to be subdued. It’s all about creating the right balance.

What does a massage involve?

Shiatsu manipulates the body – without the use of any instruments – in a way that can correct internal conditions, boost health and treat specific diseases. A shiatsu practitioner often stretches, rotates and leans their own body weight into key pressure points of the body (the meridians). This results in a massage that can be quite firm, but that can also have great healing qualities once the ‘qi’ has been realigned.

What are the main benefits?

In addition to relieving stress, easing headaches and soothing various joint/muscular pains in the body, shiatsu provides more internal benefits. For instance, it restores the circulatory system, improving blood flow throughout the body. It can also help to boost energy levels; ideal for those suffering from fatigue or recovering from illness.

Shiatsu can aid digestive disorders, menstrual problems and morning sickness. It can be used to treat coughs, colds and other respiratory problems…and it can even help with insomnia!

All that, from a massage? Sounds like a pretty good idea!

What about aftercare?

If you do book in for a shiatsu massage, make sure you have an easy day lined up afterwards. Since various parts of your body will be stretched and manipulated, avoid any exercise or heavy lifting – and try to bring the peaceful feeling outside with you.

So to prevent injury and get the best results, get plenty of rest afterwards and drink lots of (warm) water.

Most of all, enjoy the new boost of energy it brings to your day!