Shiatsu – Methodology and Healing Sessions Explained

Shiatsu is a form of noninvasive healing that has roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine but has evolved to its present form in Japan. It is based on the ancient beliefs that good health and well-being of the mind, body, and soul are wholly dependent on the smooth flow of life energy in the body. Any blockages in the meridians through which this life energy flows can result in illnesses. Shiatsu is highly effective as a preventive measure and also as a support for conventional forms of healing. It must be remembered that this healing modality cannot take the place of emergency medical procedures and treatment.

How Shiatsu is Performed

When you come in for a Shiatsu session, the therapist begins by asking you a series of questions to understand the specific mental and physical conditions that you need treatment for. Accordingly, she designs the therapy. Depending on your comfort levels, you can choose to get the treatment while wearing loose comfortable clothes, either lying, sitting, or in any other comfortable position. The therapist will offer you the use of a futon or a light cotton spread on the floor with cushions and pillows. You can also choose to get massage treatment in a hands-on skin approach using oil or any other lubricant.

Shiatsu is given in a quiet room that is free of noise and disturbances. You will be asked to avoid having a large meal before your session. In case you have injuries like cuts in the skin or broken bones, you must let the therapist know so that she takes care to avoid those sections. Do come in for your treatment with a calm and relaxed state of mind.

Typically, the adjustments take about 40 to 50 minutes after which you’re given time to rest and relax. At the end of the session, you can spend time talking to the therapist about the exercises and movements you can do on your own to supplement the treatment. The need and frequency of subsequent sessions depend on your health. You could be asked to come back after 2 to 3 weeks and later, once a month or one every month and a half. Patients dealing with depression and anxiety might need weekly sessions until their symptoms improve.

Techniques used in Shiatsu

Shiatsu works by stimulating the flow of energy in the body with the help of manipulation of the muscles, joints, blood, and physical body. The therapist uses gentle touches or firmer pressure on the acupressure points of the body according to the ailment being treated. For instance, if you need relaxation from muscular and other physical stress, firm pressure is applied whereas emotional disturbances may be treated with light, soothing touches. You will also be asked to breathe deeply and use visualization while stretching and using awareness exercises. All these movements help you synchronize your physical, mental, emotional, and environmental facets to induce healing and good health. Shiatsu can be safely given to people of all ages including babies.

Jade River Healing Arts Center

After Effects of Shiatsu

The manipulations of the therapist can have many after effects on your body that manifest themselves as the body heals.

  • You might notice the symptoms of cold, cough, and the formation of mucous and phlegm. This is a result of your body attempting to eliminate the excess fats and sugar accumulated in the cells.
  • Certain patients sense aches, pains, and headaches. This is typically a sign of the body’s balance returning and healing energy flooding the body. These symptoms should clear up in a couple of days leaving behind good health.
  • As the stress and anxiety are removed, you might feel the need for sleep, rest, and relaxation. Give your body the necessary time to recover. Some patients also react to the stress relief with crying.

Choosing Your Shiatsu Therapist

When looking for a Shiatsu expert professional, it is always advisable to check the registered list of practitioners near your home or workplace. You might also want to check for their credentials and licensing. Do take the time to check for testimonials of past patients. However, you must keep in mind that the therapist you choose should be well trained in treating the specific health issues you’re dealing with. Spend some time with the healer and make sure you feel comfortable interacting with him before you sign up for a session. You can also talk about the poses he recommends and the procedures he intends to use to help you.

Research Conducted on the Efficacy of the Therapy

Here are the results of some clinical studies conducted to ascertain if Shiatsu is indeed effective.

  • Dr. Zoe Pirie conducted a series of studies on 10 patients between the years 1999 and 2003 using National Health Service funding. She found that the patients expressed relief from their symptoms needing fewer medical consultations and prescriptions for medications after receiving Shiatsu treatments.
  • The results of research carried out on 129 patients was published in the British Medical Journal. The trial was conducted at the Institute of Preventive Medicine in Taiwan where it was found that the patients had significant improvement in pain in their lower back after taking sessions of Shiatsu.
  • The NIH has published the outcomes of the study conducted on 633 patients who were given treatment by 85 Shiatsu practitioners from the United Kingdom, Spain, and Austria. After a period of 6 months, the patients reported that they noticed many positives in the maintenance and improvement of their overall health. They had lower stress and anxiety, better energy levels, and fewer physiological problems.

When taken from an expert and well trained Shiatsu professional, you can look forward to many benefits in your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. A highly advanced healing modality with no side effects, Shiatsu is recognized for its good effects that can be brought about without the need for invasive methods.


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