WHAT IS IT?
Shiatsu Massage is the perfect treatment for relaxation and stress reduction. Just like other forms of massage, shiatsu uses manual manipulation of the muscles to ease away pain and stiffness, promote circulation and gently relax the body and mind.
There are a couple of things that make shiatsu different from standard massage. Firstly, it does not use oils on the skin, but is performed through clothing, enabling you to remain fully clothed throughout. Secondly, coming from a tradition of medicine that developed in the far east, it also makes use of ‘pressure points‘ to affect the body’s natural healing processes, like acupuncture without the needles. For this reason, it is sometimes called Acupressure.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Shiatsu Massage has an effect on a number of different body systems:
- It eases tense and knotted muscles and joints, helping to improve overall flexibility and mobility.
- It stimulates the nervous system causing the release of endorphins which reduce pain, relieve stress and promote relaxation and a general sense of well-being.
- It stimulates circulation, improving the supply of oxygen and nutrients to soft tissues. This also aids the lymphatic system which removes toxins and waste products from your body.
- Traditionally speaking, it also aims to rebalance the body’s energetic system by improving the flow of ‘Chi’, or ‘vitality’, that is responsible for maintaining health.
Together these actions can generate powerful and far reaching affects on the health of tissues, organs and systems of the body.
Shiatsu massage in it’s modern form was developed in the early 20th century by a Japanese practitioner, Tamai Tempaku, who incorporated the newer Western medical knowledge of anatomy and physiology into several older methods of treatment. Originally he called it “Shiatsu Ryoho”, or “finger pressure way of healing”. Now known simply as “Shiatsu”, it was officially recognized as a therapy by the Japanese Government in 1964. Since then it has spread worldwide, quickly gaining popularity as people experience it’s pleasant, relaxing effects and considerable therapeutic benefits.
HOW WILL I FEEL AFTER A TREATMENT?
In a recent study on the effects of shiatsu, most clients reported feeling relaxed, calm and better able to cope with things. A statistically significant improvement in symptoms was reported across a large number of participants with stress levels and muscular/joint problems showing the most improvement.
Everyone responds differently to shiatsu, but commonly people describe a sense of deep relaxation, a subtle sense of well being and calmness. Others feel energised and focussed with improved concentration and clarity of mind. Occasionally, people experience tiredness and a desire to sleep, in fact, improved sleep the night after treatment is often the first affect that people notice. A delayed response is also common, where no change is noticed until hours or even days after treatment.
WHAT DO I DO AFTER A TREATMENT?
To maximise the effects of treatment it is best to avoid certain activities for a few hours afterwards:
Don’t: Eat large meals or sugary snacks; drink caffeine or alcohol; engage in strenuous physical or intense mental activity or stressful situations.
Do: Relax; sleep; drink water or dilute fruit juice; eat light meals; pay attention to the ways in which your body and mind have changed.
It is helpful if you keep a simple record of what you experience after treatment. These details can help the practitioner to assess the effects of treatment and will influence the pattern of any ongoing treatment that you may require. As well as changes to the problem you have been treated for, look out for anything unusual for you, even it does not seem relevant. For example, changes in sleep patterns, appetite or mood are all common reactions and give invaluable clues to the practitioner. Keep a few simple notes in your diary or on a piece of paper so you remember the details at your next treatment.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS DO I NEED?
If you are having shiatsu simply for relaxation and de-stressing, you only need to come when you feel like it. Though it is worth considering a regular maintenance session every couple of months to help to prevent the build up of stress and tension in the body.
If you are using shiatsu as a therapy for specific problems you will probably require more frequent treatment. The number of treatments required varies from person to person. As a general rule, the longer a problem had been around and the more complex it is, the more treatments will be required. Younger, healthier people tend to respond more quickly and therefore need less treatment. However, there are always exceptions to these rules.
You can help reduce the number of treatments you require by complying with the advice on diet or lifestyle changes that your practitioner may suggest.