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Shiatsu Therapy

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Shiatsu Therapy | How is Shiatsu different from Massage | Benefits

What is Shiatsu (Acupressure) Therapy?

Shiatsu is a Japanese healing therapy that was developed as a combination of Chinese Massage called Anma, key aspects of traditional Chinese Medicine and the theory of Shizuto Masunaga. The word Shiatsu can be translated as “finger pressure”. During a session the therapist applies comfortable, sustained pressure to various parts of the body in order to help life energy or “chi/qi” flow properly. Qi flows along pathways referred to as Meridian lines. The therapist works on a Meridian line to improve blood flow, muscle tonus and posture. Shiatsu is applied using the thumbs, fingers, palms, forearms and elbows. The goal of Shiatsu is to trigger the body’s own natural healing powers to help restore vitality and prevent disease by harmonizing the body, mind and spirit.

shiatsu massage therapyHow is Shiatsu therapy different from massage?

The main differences are the theories they are based on. Shiatsu is based primarily on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Masunaga Theory. This means that energy pathways will be balanced, locally and distally, rather than certain muscles being massaged. Massage is based on theories which fall into three categories, Circulatory, Mechanical and Energetic. With Shiatsu, the client remains fully clothed during treatment and no oils or lotions are used. Each Shiatsu session includes gentle stretching of the Meridians both before and afterwards to entice the proper flow of energy. This could include providing the client with stretches to do at home on a regular basis.

What can I expect from my Shiatsu treatment?

Shiatsu and other Oriental therapies, like acupuncture, have very unique ways of looking at the body. In Shiatsu we do not diagnose a person but rather the signs and symptoms of disease along with observations, medical history and what is felt in the body during a treatment. The findings are used to understand the personalized pattern of how the condition came to be. The Zen Shiatsu theory is that every organ in the body has an energy pathway that runs along the torso, arms and legs. This gives the advantage of helping any local discomfort as well as balancing the energy of specific organs distally. Remember that you remain fully clothed, so come prepared with comfortable, loose clothing. Your therapist will communicate with you at all times to ensure the pressure is comfortable for you.

What issues/problems can Shiatsu Therapy help treat?

  • Digestive disorders: constipation; acid reflux; bloating and feeling tired after eating.
  • Musculoskeletal problems: muscle tension in the neck and shoulders; low back pain; limited range of motion especially after injury; RSI’s; arthritis and whiplash.
  • Nervous system imbalances: anxiety; depression; insomnia; fatigue; stress; headaches and sciatica.
  • Circulatory problems: cold hands and feet or always feeling cold.
  • Women’s issues: which may include PMS; cravings; cramps; irregularities in flow and timing; menopause signs as well as moodiness.



For more information and to book an appointment, please call 905.465.4595.


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