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Learning Center | Massage Techniques- Shiatsu

massage techniques shiatsu

What Is Shiatsu Massage Therapy?

If you’ve been perusing our site or studying massage, you’ve probably seen Shiatsu among the many different types of massage therapy, but you may not know what it entails. What is Shiatsu massage exactly, and how does it help the body? Shiatsu originated in Japan and was based on traditional Chinese medicine with elements of Western therapies, according to the Shiatsu Society. It is designed to help the body heal itself.

"Shiatsu" means "finger pressure" in Japanese, and there are different styles of Shiatsu used across the globe. Each style has roots in one of three systems that developed in Japan in the early 1900s. Shiatsu evolved from the integration of traditional Japanese manual therapies with modern western medicine.

How Does It Work? 

Shiatsu uses the fingers, thumbs, and palm to apply pressure to different areas across the body to help alleviate common ailments and right imbalances in the body. This is supposed to promote energy flow and harmony throughout the patient's body. In addition to being a very relaxing experience, Shiatsu can reduce stress, help with pain and illness, and encourage overall health and wellbeing.

Shiatsu helps the automatic nervous system function and stimulates the circulatory, lymphatic, and hormonal systems. Shiatsu can help with poor posture, joint issues, sprains, arthritis, sciatica, acute and chronic neck and back pain, sinusitis, and bronchitis.

As in acupressure, Shiatsu is used to apply pressure to body points that run across connected pathways called "meridians". By stimulating these points, the flow of vital energy, referred to as qi, is stimulated, facilitating healing. This also helps to relieve blocks in that flow, which practitioners believe can contribute to illness.

Who is Best Served by Shiatsu? 

According to an annual survey from the American Massage Therapy Association, more than 39 million Americans got a massage in the last year. Fifty-three percent of them say their doctor recommended they utilize massage therapy. Massage as a whole has been shown to decrease blood pressure and heart rate while boosting the body’s endorphins- the body’s natural painkillers. Among the different massage therapy types to choose from is Shiatsu, a favorite among many.

Shiatsu is frequently utilized to reduce stress and defend against stress-related health concerns. In addition, shiatsu is said to encourage healing for illnesses like anxiety, arthritis, back pain, neck and shoulder pain, headache, insomnia, constipation, menstrual problems, premenstrual syndrome, sciatica, and sinus problems.

Shiatsu can also bolster energy, improve recovery from injuries, and help the digestive system work correctly.

How Does Shiatsu Help? 

Shiatsu aims to improve general health by helping the internal energy system flow smoothly. It frequently results in an extended range of motion and enhanced coordination. Shiatsu combines assisted-stretching techniques and acupressure massage to restore muscle and bone structure.

And there you have it. 

If you have any questions about this technique, the Ohco, or any of the other Shiatsu massage chairs on our site, you can reach us over the phone or through email at We’d be glad to help you find the perfect chair for your massage preferences and needs.

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