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Shiatsu As a Type of Massage Therapy

Carlos Montenegro

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Shiatsu is just one of the many types of massage therapy. In English, the word shiatsu means “finger therapy" and is considered to be a Japanese form of bodywork.

Similar to acupuncture, this type of massage therapy is based on the holistic system of traditional Chinese medicine because those who practice it believe that a person does not feel well due to imbalances in the life force.

To fix it, the massage therapist uses finger and palm pressure to energetic pathways known as meridians to improve the life force.

Scientists have a better explanation for this by saying that shiatsu calms the overactive sympathetic nervous system. By doing so, it helps improve blood circulation, relieves stiff muscles and alleviates stress.

For shiatsu to be effective, the massage therapist has to apply pressure in a continuous rhythmic sequence. Unlike other types of massage therapy, the pressure feels more localized so certain points feel tender. If at any time you feel pain, you can tell the therapist to adjust the pressure so it is comfortable to you.

Treatment fro shiatsu is done on a low massage table or on the floor. Two others things that differentiates this type of massage therapy from the rest is that it does not use any massage oil and this is done while you are fully clothed.

Shiatsu is very good for people who suffer from anxiety, arthritis, back pain, constipation, depression, headaches, insomnia, neck and shoulder pain, poor digestion, stress, tiredness and premenstrual syndrome. It is so good that you can even get one just for relaxation.

But not everybody can enjoy acupuncture. It is not safe for people who have open wounds, have undergone chemotherapy or radiation therapy, immediately after surgery, and are prone to blood clots, pregnant as well as immediately after surgery.

If you don't have any of these problems, they by all means, you can enjoy shiatsu. When you schedule an appointment, make sure you don't eat a heavy meal before going there. Also, if it is your first time, try to be there at least 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment since you will have to fill up some forms first. But if you are a regular, just be there 5 minutes before.

For shiatsu to be effective, the practitioner must be relaxed so he or she will be able to give comfort to the person lying down on the mattress. Proper positioning is also required and both hands must be used at all times even if one hand is still and the other is active.

Though this form of massage therapy is all about applying a little pressure, the key here is perpendicular penetration without any side to side motion so the professional is able to treat an entire meridian and not jot just an individual point. So the person leaves feeling relaxed and ready to go home.

Shiatsu as a type of massage therapy has been around for years and there are various styles to choose from. Some focus merely on the acupressure points, others more on the general work of the human body and the meridians while some highlight the diagnostic systems such as the Five Element System. Whichever is used, you can't deny the fact these are all based from traditional Chinese medicine.


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