Apr 23, 2007

Shiatsu Massage Techniques

By Crystal Chan

Shiatsu is a healing art, originating in Japan, which uses the power of touch and pressure to enable each of us to contact our own self-healing abilities. In a Shiatsu session the practitioner uses pressure with thumbs, fingers, palms, and sometimes elbows, knees and feet, to induce deep relaxation and a feeling of well-being. It is sometimes a dynamic, sometimes a seemingly static form, involving pressure and stretching on the limbs and torso, kneading and releasing tight muscles, and supporting areas of weakness. To receive, Shiatsu is deeply relaxing and yet invigorating, leaving a feeling of tranquility and a sense of being in touch with every part of one’s body. Giving Shiatsu is like performing a moving mediation and leaves the giver feeling as balanced and energized as the receiver.

Shiatsu was developed from traditional oriental massage and, in common with acupuncture and other oriental therapies, it works upon the body’s energetic system, using the network of meridians or energy pathways which relates to the functioning of the internal organs as well as our emotional, psychological and spiritual harmony. The concept of the body as an ‘energetic’ organism comes from ancient Chinese thought, and through centuries of experience and study has evolved into a system of medical theory which is both rich and poetic.

Shiatsu uses physical pressure and meridian stretches to unblock the dams - which show up as tight muscles and areas of stiffness - and revitalize the empty areas - which may feel cold, weak or just needing to be held. Oriental medical theory provides a framework by which the practitioner can asses the body’s energetic state and needs, and can explain why the body holds tension in certain areas or points and feels weak in others.

The techniques used in Shiatsu are both simple and profound. We are all familiar with ‘the healing power of touch’.

All forms of bodywork and massage can fulfill the need for touch, but Shiatsu is particularly applicable and practical in an everyday setting for a variety of reasons. One important aspect is that the receiver remains clothed during the treatment. In removing clothes is a further challenge that can leave the receiver feeling uncomfortably vulnerable. Another aspect is the slow and sustained holding pressure which characterizes Shiatsu actively encourages conscious relaxation. This allows the psychological mechanisms governing muscle tension to release more efficiently than with some other forms of bodywork. Shiatsu is very practical as it does not need any equipment.

More massage techniques and tips can be found on http://massage.warmbaby.com/sitemap.html

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