To understand the benefits of this massage it is important to know its history. Western medicine approaches illnesses as problems that need to be fixed, usually with a pill remedy whereas in the East it is believed the body and mind need to be in balance with its surroundings. Shiatsu is based on the holistic system of traditional Chinese medicine.
Wait! Isn’t that Acupuncture?
It IS similar to acupuncture in the sense that its history lies within the ancient Chinese however it is Shiatsu means “finger pressure”, or acupressure.
The principles of shiatsu was developed around 530 B.C. then was soon after exported to Japan, Asia, and Korea where it was widely used for centuries. It didn’t really get popular in the United States until the ‘70’s. It was designed to help regulate the flow of energy within the body, by the Shiatsu therapists who use finger and palm pressure to meridians to improve the flow of qi.
Meridians? QI? Don’t You Mean IQ? This Makes US Smarter?
No. Although many smart people do get a shiatsu massage that is not what it means.
Qi is pronounced “chee”. To further explain…Qi is the vital energy in the body that underlies all functioning. This is where illnesses were thought to result from imbalances in the natural flow of energy through the body. Qi flows in specific pathways called meridians. Qi is one of the fundamental concepts of Chinese and Japanese medicine.
What does QI have to do with massage?
The Shiatsu therapist’s job is to attain the qi through vital points along the Meridian via massage, kneading, pulling and so forth. As long as there is a generous amount of qi flowing freely through the meridians then good health is attained. However when qi is lacking, off balance or there is a blockage that is when symptoms (such as a cold, headache, indigestion, basically any negative feeling that leaves you unhealthy, sick or in pain) occur. Shiatsu therapists are trained to recognize patterns of disharmony in the body, even prior to physical signs appearing.
Benefits of Receiving a Shiatsu Massage
- Shiatsu can help relieve constipation when applied to abdominal area. The stretching and pulling of the massage can loosen muscles and relax the intestines and colon.
- Shiatsu can work the tension and spasms out of the muscles, thus eliminating muscle aches by rubbing and pulling at the skin and muscles, and by pressing on acupressure points that release tension.
- Migraines are caused by a rapid widening and narrowing of the blood vessels in the brain or head, causing irritation and pain. Shiatsu helps to aid migraines by relaxing the body and increasing blood flow and circulation throughout the body.
- Shiatsu is also a non-invasive therapy that helps reduce stress, tension, anxiety and depression by leaving you relaxed and calm.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammation of the body’s tissue and attacks the linings of the joints. Pressure from the massage can be applied to hands, feet or any area that is affected by arthritis, it also helps to limber muscles, gives muscles nutrition by improved circulation and also helps reduce muscular pain.
- Helps stimulate circulation in capillaries of the skin’s soft tissues. The massage also serves to stimulate the secretion of the sebaceous glands and keeps skin moist and smooth. This helps give skin resilience and prevents wrinkling. The improved blood circulation also helps improve the look and glow of the skin.
- Shiatsu massages have been used for thousands of years to aid women during monthly cycles and alleviate menstrual cramps. On the flip side it has been known to help women in labor and babies turn in the womb. It can induce labor in women who are overdue and help ease morning sickness and swelling that is often caused by pregnancy.
- Not only does shiatsu help improve the circulation and cellular nutrition throughout the body but also benefits the digestive system by allowing food to digest more easily and aides in waste elimination. It increases stamina by storing energy reserves and assists in fat metabolism and removal.
- Helps those who suffer from fatigue and weakness by restoring and maintaining the body’s energy.
Although a regular maintenance program of shiatsu is an excellent way to maintain wellness and improve vitality, the schedule will vary for each person. Every person is different, their lifestyle, their stress level so one person may benefit by just one visit a month, another may require more sessions on a more regular basis. Depending on the goal of the session the effects may be stimulating and invigorating or calming and sedative or both preventative and remedial. Whatever the ailment the benefits are astounding, with little to no side effects, while enjoying a calming massage.