ShiatsuShiatsu, originally from Japan, is a form of therapy that combines Japanese traditional massage with concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In particular, the basis of Shiatsu is TCM’s meridian theory which refers to the belief that there are invisible lines of energy or Chi in the body.

These lines or meridians can be manipulated to encourage the flow of Chi to eliminate illnesses and maintain good health. Shiatsu is literally translated as “finger pressure” and this type of massage is performed by applying pressure along the body’s meridians using fingers, thumbs, palms as well as arms, elbows, and feet.
Also, practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine observe nature’s cycles and they look at life as a constant process that involves external forces (i.e. climate, environment) and internal forces (i.e. genetic makeup, mentality, emotions) that interact with each other. In TCM, good wellbeing is achieved when there is balance between both external and internal forces.

When a person is not able to adapt to life’s stressors, it will result in disharmony in the body. The flow of vital energy will be disrupted and will lead to illness. The goal of Shiatsu, being rooted on Traditional Chinese Medicine, is to return the dynamic balance in an individual so that he or she can attain optimal health and wellbeing.

The Shiatsu practitioner will determine which organ of the body has excess energy and which is lacking through basic TCM assessment methods such as interviewing the client as well as listening and observing the client. Palpation is also done where the therapist will feel the pulse of the patient to aid in evaluating the condition of the body as a whole and the bodily organs.

After assessment, a therapy plan will be made to restore balance in the body’s energy system. The therapist will then perform rapid hand motions and stretches along the meridians with excess energy to release the excesses. Deep and slow massage will be then applied along the meridians with insufficient energy.

During the therapy session, the therapist will periodically check the client’s pulse and ask for his or her feedback to assess their progress.  A single session can take about one hour, including the initial assessment. To end the session, the therapist will provide the client with dietary and exercise recommendations. A monthly Shiatsu session is ideal to maintain good health.