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Shiatsu massage is a Japanese discipline with many benefits for the body. Let’s find out what it is and what are the most used techniques.

Shiatsu massage is an ancient discipline of Japanese origin that has its roots in traditions and oriental rituality. Used already in the twentieth century, it is based on the energy concept that is also the basis of Chinese medicine, and which provides for an excess or lack of energy in certain meridians. Shiatsu literally means pressure and in general it is performed by pressing, with fingers, hands and elbows, on precise points called tsubo.

The final goal of shiatsu massage is to rebalance the body’s energy , preventing excessive accumulation or lack of energy. In any case, however, it is a technique that, like chiropractic and acupuncture, is based on the knowledge and intuition of the masseur. Let’s try to better understand how shiatsu massage is and how it works.

Shiatsu massage: how it works and what it is for

At the base of the shiatsu massage there is the knowledge of the 12 points where the body’s energy flows, the same ones used in acupuncture . In fact, according to the oriental concept, energy manifests itself in the five elements, fire, earth, water, metal and wood, to which an organ is associated. Two meridians correspond to each of these elements, one linked to yin and one to yang, but the fire which corresponds to four is an exception.

woman massaging muscles
woman massaging muscles

Therefore, if the masseur exerts pressure on a meridian, that precise area will be stimulated, but also everything along that meridian. In any case, the pressure exerted by the masseur never exceeds 7 seconds, which drop to 3 when approaching the neck area.

We can therefore say that the manipulations of the shiatsu massage serve to relax the different parts of the body and rebalance the energy. However, it should be remembered that shiatsu massage is an excellent solution for those with cervical or sciatica problems and, more generally, for those suffering from back pain or joint pain.

Shiatsu massage: benefits and contraindications

As we have anticipated, the shiatsu massage is able to balance the energies of the organism. To go more specifically, and understand the true benefits of this discipline, we can say that the masseur focuses on the harmony of the person. In fact it is a real cure-all for anxiety and stress, without considering that it relieves the symptoms of depression.

It can also be a good alternative to treat head, neck and back problems, so much so that shiatsu massages are excellent for the neck. It must also be considered that this discipline can prevent or treat stiffening of the joints and contractures due to anxiety or work and sports activity.

Shiatsu massage is also able to improve posture and posture, enhance motor skills and, last but not least, increases the knowledge and control of one’s body. Like any discipline, however, there are contraindications. In fact, the shiatsu massage is strongly not recommended for those suffering from contagious diseases or serious diseases of the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver, but also bleeding, ulcers, cancer or fractures.

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The different shiatsu techniques

It should be known that there is not just one type of shiatsu massage, but the union and synergy of different approaches and studies. This is in fact the true strength of this discipline, which is expressed with the syncretism typical of oriental culture and which leads to the evolution and elaboration of different currents. Here, therefore, that among the different styles and techniques of shiatsu massage we can find:

Namikoshi , involves the teaching of shiatsu techniques and other complementary disciplines such as breathing, meditation and manipulation. This current is responsible for identifying the pressure points, or tsubo, in which blood vessels, lymphatics and glands are concentrated. The Namikoshi style involves an approach in which the subject is treated first in a lateral position on the upper left, then on the right side, in a prone position and then supine.

Masunaga , according to this current, initially linked to Namikoshi, shiatsu must not be limited to the anatomical sphere, but must open itself to the so-called energetic heritage. In fact, on a technical level, in addition to the pressure of fingers, knuckles and elbows, the hands are used. In particular, one exerts pressure, while the other holds the treated portion still in order to concentrate and not disperse the energies

-Ohashi , this doctrine integrates the notion of the other two currents of thought. In particular, it combines the anatomical and pathological notions of the Namikoshi style and the energizing concepts of the Masunaga. It also tries to focus on the communicative relationship between masseur and patient, made up mostly of energizing postures, empathy and circular breathing.


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