How is Shiatsu applied?
Shiatsu is administered to a client lying on a soft mat on the floor, special therapy table or chair. Loose-fitting clothing is worn during the treatment such as shorts, a t-shirt, or light track pants. The length of the treatment varies in time, depending on the nature of the problem, but it usually takes one hour. Pressure is applied to the whole body except when there is a specific pathological condition, in which case the treatment is localized.
What kind of pressure is used?
Shiatsu is a gentle, soothing pressure applied to specific anatomical points on the body using the thumbs, fingers, and palms. There are 700 pressure points in the body. If you have an area in the body which is stressed, you might experience some “feel good” pain during the treatment. However, the focus of shiatsu is to encourage the body to heal.
What specific conditions does Shiatsu help?
People who suffer from pathological conditions such as whiplash, migraine headaches, lumbago, repetitive stress/strain injuries (i.e. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, tendonitis, etc.). People find an increase in mobility and return of strength to the affected areas. Also, shiatsu alleviates menopause, premenstrual stress, depression, and numerous other conditions.
The founder of shiatsu, Tokujiro Namikoshi, never taught anything but the use of thumbs, fingers, and palms because shiatsu utilizes pressure from the hands only. Hands, especially the fingertips, balls of the thumbs, and the thenar part of the palm, contain sensory receptors which are highly developed so the practitioner can better detect the patient’s condition. Shiatsu is characterized by gentle soothing pressure. It is not the amount of force that assists the therapeutic value. The art of shiatsu is the application of the appropriate amount of pressure on the correct point. Using other parts of the body is especially dangerous to certain patients such as the elderly who may have osteoporosis, or to babies, children or patients with delicate pathological conditions.
When is Shiatsu NOT applied?
Shiatsu is not applied when these conditions are present:
- Contagious illnesses.
- Pleurisy, peritonitis, appendicitis, pyelitis, pancreatitis, peptic ulcers, duodenal ulcers, cirrhosis of the liver, leukemia, twisting of the bowels, intestinal obstruction, and cancer.
- High fever immediately after surgery, extreme physical debility, infectious skin ailments.
The Complete Book of Shiatsu Therapy by Toru Namikoshi, Japan Publications Inc., Tokyo and New York, First Edition, February1981, Fourteenth printing, December 1992.
Thumbs Up for Shiatsu, Volume 11 Spring/Summer Issue 1999, and Volume 10, Winter Issue 1998.
The Toru Namikoshi drawings were provided by the Kensen Saito.