Shiatsu Massage

This originally Japanese massage can be given through (thin) clothing. By giving pressure to specific points on the meridians (energy pathways of the body) with the thumbs and fingertips, the energy flow is stimulated throughout the body. This massage has a healing effect and can work preventively, by removing blockages in the energy system.
This is a Japanese body therapy where the thumbs, palms, and fingers without muscle strength but with body weight are used to exert pressure (ie no friction or kneading) in certain places on the body.

What is Shiatsu

Shiatsu (shi = finger, atsu = pressure) is a body therapy that was developed in Japan by Tokujiro Namikoshi. It is based on Western knowledge about anatomy and physiology. The thumbs, palms, and fingers are used to apply pressure to certain areas of the body. The clinician does not work with muscle strength, but his own body weight is used to exert pressure
to practise. Shiatsu gained a broader support in the late 1950s. In Japan, the training for classical Shiatsu therapists was regulated by the community.

Namikoshi’s son Toru studied chiropractic in the US. He acquired knowledge about the spine and the viscera (the internal organs in the abdomen and chest cavity) and thus extended the knowledge of the classic Shiatsu of his father.

Namikoshi was not aware of Chinese Medicine. Later practitioners of Shiatsu, such as Shizuto Masunaga (a student of amikoshi), began to discover similarities with Chinese Medicine where it concerns the locations where pressure is exerted on the body. These correspond to the points known in Chinese Medicine as points on meridians (acupuncture points). However, in contrast to the methods of acupuncture and acupressure known from Chinese medicine, in which specific, defined points on the meridians are stimulated to treat a condition, Shiatsu applies pressure to all points that merge with a meridian. The term meridian is a concept in traditional Chinese medicine and finds its application in acupuncture and acupressure. The Chinese term for the meridian system is ‘Jing Luo’ (freely translated as: network of barrels or Meridians and collaterals).

Let the energy flow

According to traditional Chinese medicine, energy called qi circulates through the body and follows specific interconnected jobs. These jobs are called meridians. Interruptions in the flow of energy, such as when it stagnates, become blocked, or flow elsewhere, are thought to be caused by emotional or physical problems. In order to eliminate these interruptions and thus the problems, specific points (called acupuncture points, or tsubo in Japanese medicine) on the eridians are stimulated with the help of needles (acupuncture), pressure (acupressure or shiatsu) or in other ways.

The publication Standard acupuncture nomenclature of the World Health Organization has a list of about 400 acupuncture points and 20 meridians that connect virtually all these points.

There are now several professional institutes in the Netherlands offering training for Shiatsu.

The Shiatsu technique is performed on specific parts of the body with the aim of correcting the balance of the body, and for improving or maintaining health. It is also a method to contribute to the healing process in diseases.


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