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Traditional Treatments for Today's World

What is Shiatsu?

Shiatsu massage is deeply relaxing, calming and revitalising. For health and well-being to thrive there needs to be a balanced and healthy flow of energy throughout the body and mind. This traditional Japanese body massage combines acupressure, joint mobilisations, stretches and gentle holding techniques to achieve this.  The combination of Eastern and Western therapeutic techniques and philosophies is an extremely effective method of promoting healing.  This holistic approach addresses the cause as well as the symptom/s.

How does it work?

Shiatsu or ‘finger pressure’ uses thumbs, hands, elbows and knees to apply acupressure on acupoints and meridians.  This relaxes the nervous system and releases underlying tension and stress which is common with many health issues.  This will help the body to regain balance and people have found that symptoms can lesson or disappear.

Symptoms are often a result of congestion caused by: lifestyle, emotional and physical stress, poor diet, injury, accidents or lack of exercise.  This can manifest as pain or tension which gets held in the body and limits the circulation of energy and blood.  If left unattended this can result in further symptoms or dis-ease within the body and mind.

How will I benefit?

People receive shiatsu massage for many reasons. It may be for a specific health issue, to relax or as a pleasurable way of maintaining good health and well-being.  Research shows that people have experienced many benefits i.e. feeling calmer, more relaxed and balanced, energised, reduction or disappearance of pain and an increase in mobility.

By receiving shiatsu a self-awareness and sense of well-being develops as tension and stress diminishes and a resilience and ability to cope better, physically and emotionally, increases.  This can lead to healthier lifestyle choices.

Common reasons for receiving shiatsu are to:

  • reduce headaches
  • improve sleep
  • decrease pain, back, muscle and joint
  • increase vitality
  • improve breathing, digestion
  • improve circulatory disorders
  • reduce menstrual cramps
  • improve posture and flexibility
  • strengthen the immune system
  • support rehabilitation
  • reduce anxiety and stress related symptoms

What happens in a session?

Shiatsu is given on a futon on the floor or on a table (please request a table if preferred).  No oil is used as the treatment is given through clothes and you are asked to wear loose comfortable clothing such as jogging bottoms, top and socks.  On the first session you will be asked questions about your health (past and present) to help assess any contributing influencing factors.  Each session is tailored to the needs of the client.  The massage lasts between 45 minutes to 1 hour and suggestions such as exercises are given for self help between sessions.

For your own benefit you are asked not to eat heavily for at least one hour prior to the session or drink alcohol before or directly after the treatment.  If possible allow yourself at least 30 minutes rest after the session.

What Can Shiatsu be used alongside Western medicine or other treatments I am having?

As well a standalone treatment shiatsu is an excellent complement to other treatments i.e. western medicine, physical therapies or psychological therapies such as counselling or psychotherapy.  If you are already undergoing treatment of some kind you are asked to consult with your practitioner before making an appointment.

Is Shiatsu Safe?

Yes, shiatsu is a safe treatment.  It is advisable to ensure that the practitioner is qualified.

How many treatments will I need?

One session may be all that is needed but usually a series of six is suggested to allow the shiatsu to deepen and take effect.   To support in maintaining good health you may choose to have shiatsu at regular intervals.

Can I receive treatments if I am pregnant?

Yes. The style of the treatments will be adapted to each trimester and any presenting symptoms.


Information supplied by Doe Warnes, LEAF Health Hitchin.