It’s ok if you’ve never heard of a Shiatsu massage before. As someone who enjoys massages and has had several in different parts of the world, you’d think I would have heard the term, but I hadn’t until just recently.

Shiatsu is a type of massage, or massage technique, that is commonly used in spas all around the world and now, also at home. Due to its grown popularity and application in massage products, I felt it necessary to write some information about what it is and the benefits of receiving its treatment.


So, what is a Shiatsu massage anyway?

Massages, in general, have been around for a really long time. The Shiatsu massage stems from traditional Chinese medicine dating back nearly 5,000 years ago. Although stemming from Chinese traditions, the Shiatsu massage is actually a Japanese system that evolved from its Chinese roots to its adapted Japanese techniques during the 17th century.

The term shiatsu in Japanese means, “finger pressure” and is – you guessed it – a massage which uses mainly fingers and thumbs, but also feet and palms to distribute pressure to points on the body to increase blood flow and ultimately relieve many symptoms of discomfort, such as muscle pain, headaches, joint pain, stress, etc.


What are the benefits of a Shiatsu massage?

The Shiatsu massage is based on the Meridian system, which is the traditional Chinese medicine belief that life-energy “qi” flows through a system of paths or channels in the body. The idea is that these channels are associated with our body’s organs and can be manipulated to correct disharmonies in the body which cause a wide range of physical and emotional conditions. Shiatsu can help do the following:

  • Restore and maintain the body’s energy and correct fatigue and weakness
  • Improve blood circulation
  • Reduce stress, tension, anxiety and depression
  • Relieve headaches
  • Promote joint and muscle healing
  • Help bring relief to arthritis sufferers
  • Reduce problems with stiff neck and shoulders as well as backaches (including sciatica)
  • Treat mild colds, coughs, and other sinus and respiratory problems
  • Help those dealing with insomnia
  • Aid in the treatment of various conditions; digestive disorders, bowel trouble, morning sickness, and menstrual problems


Research Says…

The benefits of receiving a Shiatsu massage have been observed and should not be discredited, however, it’s worth mentioning that the Shiatsu massage hasn’t been proven to be to be an effective medical treatment and research hasn’t proven the existence of “qi” or the Meridians.