Fact: ‘Namikoshi’ Shiatsu Therapy is a development of Chinese acupuncture.
Founded By: Tokujiro Namikoshi (Japan) in 1925.
Therapy Type: Bodywork
WHAT EXACTLY IS SHIATSU?
Massage Therapy is the manipulation of the soft-tissues of the body. It helps to ease stress and muscular tension, relieve pain from injuries and speed healing from certain acute and chronic conditions. The type of treatment also improves blood and lymph circulation bringing fresh oxygen and other nutrients to the affected tissues. This process helps to flush out the body toxins and enhance recovery.
Shiatsu is a Japanese massage therapy, which unites a healing touch with energy balancing treatment. The nature of Shiatsu means “finger pressure” to certain points on the body referred to as “tsubos” and is akin to acupressure. However shiatsu to encourage energy flow throughout the body utilizes gentle stretching and soothing massage techniques.
The philosophy of Shiatsu is that vital energy, ‘ki’ in Japanese or ‘qi’ in Chinese, flows throughout the entire body in a series of pathways called ‘meridians’. These are the same meridians used in other oriental health practices like acupuncture. Shiatsu practitioners believe that these meridians become blocked when energy is not able to flow freely and subsequently produce symptoms of disease. Shiatsu uses pressure and manipulative techniques to adjust the body, allowing the ki energy to flow freely.
To promote the flow of ki, pressure is applied to the acupuncture points, with the additionally techniques of the therapist holding, stretching and manipulating the body.
Unlike traditional massage therapy, Shiatsu therapy does not use any massage oil and is performed with the client fully clothed.
IS SHIATSU THE RIGHT THERAPY FOR YOU?
Shiatsu Therapy may benefit the following physical and mental conditions:
Sessions typically last between 30 minutes and 60 minutes. You should
expect the first session to be longer as your therapist will ask you
about your medical history along with other relevant health and
lifestyle details. Throughout the session you will remain fully clothed
and the treatment will be carried out on a couch, at floor level or on
a padded futon mat, with the client lying down. However a chair can be
used for the therapy if needed.
Your practitioner will use a variety of techniques to improve your energy flow including gentle holding, palm pressing, thumbs, fingers, elbows, knees and feet on the meridians. Dynamic rotations and stretches are also used when appropriate.
Shiatsu practitioners often use a blend of treatment styles during a session including Namikoshi Shiatsu, Zen Shiatsu and Tsubo Therapy. Namikoshi or Shiatsu massage places more emphasis on physical techniques such as pressing and rubbing on specific areas of the body to assist healing. Zen Shiatsu entails working with the entire length of the meridian, which is showing disparity, this is performed with two hands, as opposed to only utilizing particular points. Tsubo Therapy concentrates on the nature of the pressure points or ‘tsubos’ using treatment methods such as massage, needles, electrical devices and ‘moxa’. Moxa, obtained from the herbal plant ‘mugwort’, treats and prevents diseases by applying heat to certain locations of the body.
Following treatment, clients often sense new found energy levels, feel relaxed and muscles and joints have improved mobility. In addition mild side effects like headaches and muscle soreness are normal and usually pass after a few hours. A course of 6 to10 treatments, are usually recommended depending on the nature of your condition. Many people continue with the therapy after their condition has gone.
FINDING A QUALIFIED SHIATSU PRACTITIONER
Most people find Shiatsu Therapy deeply relaxing and enjoy the tension it releases throughout the body. It is also extremely safe when carried out by a qualified therapist. It is wise to carry out some research and select a therapist who is either a member of, or accredited by, an association or professional body such as The Shiatsu Practitioners' Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (SPAANZ). Shiatsu Therapists are obligated to a code of ethics and procedure that determines the therapy is carried out in a suitable and safe environment. These regulations also guarantee a specialist who has undergone certifiable training and receives professional upskilling.
The Wellness Directory provides a ready-made referral list of certified Practitioners within your region. We fully encourage you to do some independent research by checking out individual credentials, i.e. experience, training, qualifications, relevant client feedback and so forth.
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