It’s therapeutic body work, and literally means ‘thumb pressure’. Aspects of it are thousands of years old and are based on a traditional model of Chinese medicine.
It was originally conceived in Japan in the 1940s, but came to the West in the 1970s and since then it has broadened from the original concept and can incorporate elements of osteopathy, acupressure points, stretches, and joint mobilization.
Ultimately it is different for every individual, and effects tend to be cumulative. It is about bringing more movement into the body, opening it up to allow energy to move more fluidly – it supports the body and boosts it, reactivating its healing ability so that you feel better and brighter. I like to think of it as going into a house and opening all the doors and windows! It can also work on an emotional and psychological level.
If a client enjoys the treatment but doesn’t live nearby I always try to refer them to a practitioner near home. As you work with a client the body gives you a picture of the entire person, so there is a diagnostic element to it which can allow you to adjust the treatment and make recommendations as you go along. As there are so many other practitioners on site at Lifehouse, if you have a nutritional imbalance or something like that, it is also a great environment to address it in.
Try not to eat very much for an hour or two beforehand, and afterwards rest if possible. Shiatsu is about bringing about change and you have to buy into that concept and continue work on the basis of the treatment – whether that’s continuing with shiatsu, changing your diet or eating habits, exercise routine, taking up yoga – whatever it is.
Because it is so adaptable, it can be beneficial to anyone. There are no products involved, so there are no allergies to consider. We are all so stressed out and on the go all the time, shiatsu is one way to have a break and connect with yourself. It can be great for back problems, or if you struggle to sleep or just calm down; I am happy to treat pregnant women who often find it is extremely helpful with morning sickness; and it can also be lovely for people who are very ill – with Parkinson’s Disease or cancer for example as it helps to reconnect with those feelings of wellbeing.
The only time I would not recommend treating someone is if they have a fever – wait until it has passed.
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