What to Expect in a Shiatsu Session
Shiatsu originates from Japan and is traditionally performed on a padded mat or futon at floor level. However, it is possible to receive Shiatsu sitting on a chair if you cannot lie down. You remain fully clothed during the session, therefore wearing loose fitting, comfortable clothing is recommended.
Different Shiatsu Techniques
Depending on your constitution and general energy levels, Shiatsu uses a variety of techniques to improve energy flow throughout your body and promote deep relaxation.
These include gentle holding, pressing with palms, thumbs, fingers, elbows, knees and feet, and when appropriate, more dynamic rotations and stretches.
Other Shiatsu techniques can include rocking, rubbing, kneading, and tapping. Depending on the goal of the session, the effect may be stimulating or calming.
The actual techniques I use are much the same for each person, but the manner in which I apply them is different. If you are chronically ill or weak, I will apply less physical pressure and the style of treatment will be softer.
For example I may use a holding technique such as palm healing which will increase your energy and strengthen your body. If you are stronger, I will apply more pressure and the style of treatment will be more vigorous. A firmer approach decreases any excessive energy and helps your body to regain normal balance.
During the Shiatsu session, I may also focus on specific or troubled areas, such as tightness in the neck and shoulders, weakness in the lower back, and/or tension in the abdomen.
How Shiatsu Differs From Other Forms of Bodywork and Massage
Receiving Shiatsu is very different from other types of bodywork or massage. There are a number of differences:
- Shiatsu is usually given on the floor on a futon but it can also be performed on a massage chair;
- Shiatsu practitioners don’t use any oils or specialist equipment;
- Shiatsu is given on top of clothing and there is no need to undress;
- Shiatsu uses perpendicular pressure to stimulate acupressure points and help bring the body into balance;
- Shiatsu practitioners use their body weight to apply pressure to the body, unlike other bodyworkers and masseurs who use physical strength;
- Shiatsu is holistic therapy which works on the whole person. It looks not only at the symptoms of your illness, but all aspects of you as an individual and your lifestyle. This is to understand the cause of the disharmony and give support to your body’s deepest healing processes.
- Receiving Shiatsu creates an integrated feeling in your whole body and promotes deep relaxation.
- Unlike other forms of massage, Shiatsu is the most effective way to achieve balance and prevent illness.