What Is Shiatsu?
Shiatsu Massage is the perfect treatment for relaxation and stress reduction. Just like other forms of massage, shiatsu uses manual manipulation of the muscles to ease away pain and stiffness, promote circulation and gently relax the body and mind.
There are a couple of things that make shiatsu different from standard massage. Firstly, it does not use oils on the skin, but is performed through clothing, enabling you to remain fully clothed throughout. Secondly, coming from a tradition of medicine that developed in the far east, it also makes use of ‘pressure points‘, to affect the body’s natural healing processes, like acupuncture without the needles. For this reason, it is sometimes called Acupressure.
How Does It Work?
Shiatsu Massage has an effect on a number of different body systems:
It eases tense and knotted muscles and joints, helping to improve overall flexibility and mobility.
It stimulates the nervous system causing the release of endorphins which reduce pain, relieve stress and promote relaxation and a general sense of well-being.
It stimulates circulation, improving the supply of oxygen and nutrients to soft tissues. This also aids the lymphatic system which removes toxins and waste products from your body.
Traditionally speaking, it also aims to rebalance the body’s energetic system by improving the flow of ‘Chi’, or ‘vitality’ which is responsible for maintaining health.
Together these actions can generate powerful and far reaching effects on the health of tissues, organs and systems of the body.
What Do I Do After A Treatment?
To maximise the effects of treatment it is best to avoid certain activities for a few hours afterwards:
Don’t: Eat large meals or sugary snacks; drink caffeine or alcohol; engage in strenuous physical or intense mental activity or stressful situations.
Do: Relax; sleep; drink water or dilute fruit juice; eat light meals; pay attention to the ways in which your body and mind have changed.
It is helpful if you keep a simple record of what you experience after treatment. These details can help the practitioner to assess the effects of treatment and will influence the pattern of any on-going treatment that you may require. As well as changes to the problem you have been treated for, look out for anything unusual for you, even it does not seem relevant. For example, changes in sleep patterns, appetite or mood are all common reactions and give invaluable clues to the practitioner.
How Many Treatments Do I Need?
If you are having shiatsu simply for relaxation and de-stressing, you only need to come when you feel like it. However, it is worth considering a regular maintenance session every couple of months to help to prevent the build-up of stress and tension in the body.
If you are using shiatsu as a therapy for specific problems you will probably require more frequent treatment. The number of treatments required varies from person to person. As a general rule, the longer a problem had been around and the more complex it is, the more treatments will be required.
Andy Green BSc (Hons) MBAcC
Andy Green is a fully qualified acupuncturist and shiatsu massage therapist. He is a member of the British Acupuncture Council.
Andy first became interested in oriental culture when he took up martial arts at age 13. Later in life this interest led him to train in Shiatsu, the Japanese style of therapeutic massage and bodywork. After three years of training he attained a Licentiate Diploma in 2002 and established a busy professional practice, working alongside Osteopaths and Massage Therapists.
His drive to deepen his understanding of the theoretical roots of Shiatsu led him to embark on a Bachelor of Science Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). After three years further study at the London College of Traditional Acupuncture, he qualified as an acupuncturist in 2006. Today he works in private practice in Bradford on Avon, Bath and Chippenham, as well as providing shiatsu on health retreats around Wiltshire.
If you require any further information or wish to discuss any problems you may have, please contact the Church Street Practice on 01225 868282 or book in for a free 15 minute consultation.