WHAT IS Shiatsu?
Shiatsu is a traditional hands-on Japanese healing art. It can help in a wide range of conditions - from specific injuries to more general symptoms of poor health. Shiatsu is a deeply relaxing experience and regular Shiatsu sessions help to prevent the build up of stress in our daily lives.
Common conditions which can be helped by Shiatsu include:
- back pain
- headaches, migraines
- whiplash injuries and neck stiffness
- joint pain and reduced mobility
- menstrual problems
- digestive problems
- asthmatic symptoms
- sports injuries
Background to Shiatsu
The philosophy underlying Shiatsu is that vital energy (known as Ki in Japanese) flows throughout the body in a series of channels called meridians. For many different reasons Ki can stop flowing freely and this then produces a symptom.
Your Shiatsu practitioner will consider your state of health, the symptoms you are experiencing and, depending on your constitution and general energy levels, will use a variety of techniques to improve your energy flow. These may include gentle holding, pressing with palms, thumbs, fingers, elbows, knees and feet on the meridians and, when appropriate, more dynamic rotations and stretches.
As the quality of Ki changes, the symptoms associated with a lack of flow will gradually improve. Shiatsu is a therapy that works on the individual as a complete being - not just the physical body but also on an emotional and/or mental level.
Guidelines for receiving shiatsu
Please bring or wear loose, warm, comfortable clothing, preferably cotton, e.g. sweatshirt, tracksuit trousers and cotton socks. Do not eat heavily in the two hours prior to treatment. Do not drink alcohol before or after treatment. After treatment drink plenty of water to smooth the flow of changes through the system. If at all possible avoid strenuous or stressful activities after your session.
What to expect in a shiatsu session
- Each session lasts approximately one hour. The first session may be slightly longer since your practitioner will ask for details of your current state of health and about any medical conditions, history, and any medication being used. The practitioner may take written notes.
- You remain fully clothed at all times. The session usually takes place on a padded mat or futon at floor level, although it is possible to receive Shiatsu sitting on a chair if you prefer not to lie down or have mobility problems.
- Your practitioner will treat your whole body by using finger / palm pressure or sometimes, if needed, using knees, elbows and feet.
- Shiatsu can involve rotation and stretches of joints and limbs.
- Following Shiatsu, due to the bodyâ€™s natural healing process, there can be a feeling of increased vitality and you may feel invigorated yet relaxed. To experience the full benefits you may wish to rest for an hour or two after having received Shiatsu.
All text and images Â©2006 Shiatsu Society (UK)
For more information on Shiatsu or to find a practitioner near you visit the Shiatsu Society website.
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