Shiatsu Massage

All it takes is one relaxing treatment to hook you on the benefits of massage therapy. It seems as though you could go for a massage every day of the month and still not have experienced all the different massage modalities available. Shiatsu massage is one type that's gaining in popularity as a technique that most closely resembles the art of Chinese acupuncture.

Unique Shiatsu attributes

More than 4,000 years ago, the Japanese developed this unique type of massage. The word shiatsu means "finger pressure." Just as Chinese acupuncture uses tiny, painless needles to increase energy flow and circulation throughout the body, shiatsu massage calls for therapists to use their fingers on the same pressure points used by acupuncturists. Following the Chinese meridian system, the shiatsu therapist uses thumbs, fingers and palms to massage specific areas of the body that correlate to the ailment of the client. The therapist's fingers tap, squeeze, rub and apply intense pressure along energy meridians to unblock the natural energy force called chi (pronounced 'chee').

Common Shiatsu benefits

All types of massage produce deep muscle and tissue relaxation that aids in stress management. Proponents believe shiatsu massage also releases body toxins, which helps to prevent disease. Among the results are improved blood circulation and lower blood pressure. The practice makes you feel good because it reduces any anxieties or nervousness, while increasing mental and spiritual awareness.

Fundamental to all massage healing methods is the touch communication that develops between the client and therapist. When free-flowing chi is restored, your mind, body and spirit can be restored.

Lesser-known benefits

  • Migraine headaches. Many sufferers find welcome relief using shiatsu massage. Migraines occur because of rapid widening and narrowing of blood vessels in the head. Among the side effects are sensitivities to light and sound, nausea and vision problems. When a therapist applies shiatsu massage techniques to the head, circulation improves, minimizing migraine symptoms.
  • Skin problems. Many skin conditions improve as the result of stimulation and increased circulation through skin capillaries. Stimulating your sebaceous glands increases the secretions needed to keep skin smooth and moist. These benefits aid skin resiliency, restore a healthy skin glow and might even help prevent wrinkling.
  • Arthritis. Painful arthritis and muscle pain can also improve with shiatsu acupressure massage. Chronic inflammation of body tissue in the form of rheumatoid arthritis is noticeably better after the use of shiatsu on hands and feet, places where it commonly attacks joint linings. In general, any area of the body with arthritis benefits from massage techniques that limber muscles, reduce pain and increase circulation.
  • Digestion. The body may even digest and eliminate foods more easily with the help of shiatsu. A strong digestive system improves cellular nutrition throughout your body. You'll feel better, with more energy and stamina.

Shiatsu massage charges vary, depending upon where you live. An average price is $65 for an hour session and half that for 30 minutes.

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