The origins of Shiatsu date back to ancient China to the times of the Yellow Emperor. The Buddhist priest, Gan Jin Osho brought Chinese medicine to Japan, in the 6th century A.D. and taught Japanese healers the medicine of Imperial China.

Shiatsu as a form of physical manipulation was developed in Japan in the twentieth century. Its origin comes from ancient Chinese techniques, Do-In and anma. Do-In is very similar to yoga while anma resembles western massage. These two techniques are the oldest forms of medical treatment in the Orient.

The official founder of the Shiatsu School of Bodywork is Tamai Tempaku – his book “Shiatsu Ho” (Finger Pressure Therapy) published in 1919.

What is shiatsu?

  • Literally, “finger pressure”
  • A system of manual therapy originating in Japan. The primary technique is the application of pressure using the thumbs, fingers, hands, and, in some styles, elbows and knees.
  • Evolved from traditional Japanese massage, or Anma, in the early years of the 20th century.

What happens in a treatment?

  • The client is clothed in loose comfortable clothing, preferably of natural fibres, and lies on a cotton mattress, or futon.
  • No oils are used.
  • The therapist applies firm, sensitive pressure along lines of energy called meridians, to specific points, and to sensitive points or areas on the muscles.
  • Stretches are also commonly used in a treatment.

Indications for Shiatsu therapy

  • Preventative: Regular shiatsu treatments help to keep the soma (body) and psyche (soul) balanced, so that fewer health problems are experienced.
  • Curative:  Helping to bring the person into a more balanced state can alleviate illnesses , and bring a person back to good health.
  • Rehabilitative:  Treatments are extremely helpful in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions and some nerve conditions to restore the person to a healthy state.
  • Palliative:  Shiatsu’s nurturing touch comforts and balances.
  • Supportive:  Treatments help in terms of health maintenance, strengthening weaker areas or areas that are more vulnerable due to past injury or disease.
  • Complementary to other forms of treatment:  The overall balance that shiatsu treatments can provide can minimize side effects of drug therapy, and enhance the benefits of other therapies, be they mainstream or complementary/alternative.

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