What is Shiatsu massage and how can this therapy help you?

Do you ever feel like you need a calming experience that could soothe your body and mind? One option you may want to consider is Shiatsu massage.

Shiatsu is a type of massage therapy that originated in Japan. This therapy utilizes traditional medicine concepts of meridians and qi to stimulate energy flow and promote wellbeing in the body.

What is Shiatsu?

Overview of Shiatsu massage therapy

Shiatsu is a form of therapeutic massage that involves finger pressure on specific points on the body. In doing so, it aims to relieve tension and stiffness and promote relaxation.

The massage therapist uses their thumb, palm, and elbow to knead muscles throughout the body.

How is Shiatsu different from other massages?

Shiatsu is different from other forms of massage in that it focuses on acupressure points on the body that relate to specific meridians. The therapist applies pressure to these points to help release blockages in the body’s energy flow. This is different from Swedish massage, which mainly focuses on the muscles and joints throughout the body.

What are the benefits of Shiatsu massage?

Shiatsu massage therapy has numerous benefits. Some of the well-known ones include its ability to relieve chronic pain, improve sleep, reduce stress and anxiety, and stimulate lymphatic flow.

This massage therapy is also used as one of the alternative therapies for arthritis, among other health conditions.

How does Shiatsu work?

Meridians and Qi: The basis of Shiatsu therapy

Shiatsu massage therapy is based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine. It works by stimulating the body’s energy flow through the meridians. Meridians are said to be the channels through which qi (life force energy) flows throughout the body.

How does the practitioner apply pressure?

The Shiatsu practitioner applies pressure using their fingers, palms, or elbows. They use a deep kneading motion to target the acupressure points related to the meridians that are out of balance in the patient’s body.

What are the thumb, finger, palm, and elbow techniques used in Shiatsu?

Shiatsu massage techniques include using the thumb to apply pressure to acupressure points along the meridians.

Palms are used for wider, flatter massage and rhythmic motions. Fingers can be used for precise pressure, and elbows for more intense pressure along larger areas of the body, a bit like deep tissue massage.

What health conditions can Shiatsu help with?

Can Shiatsu help with chronic pain?

Shiatsu massage therapy can help alleviate chronic pain and muscle tension. It has been shown to be a valuable treatment option for those who suffer from conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Can Shiatsu improve sleep?

Shiatsu is also an excellent choice for individuals who experience restlessness or sleeping problems.

This massage therapy promotes relaxation of both the mind and body, which aids in getting a good night’s sleep.

Can Shiatsu be used to reduce stress and anxiety?

Stress and anxiety are common problems among people all over the world. Shiatsu massage therapy can reduce stress levels and help alleviate anxiety-related symptoms such as headaches and fatigue.

What are the effects of Shiatsu massage?

What are the possible side effects of Shiatsu?

Shiatsu massage therapy does not typically have any serious side effects. However, patients may sometimes experience sensitivity and discomfort in areas where pressure was applied.

How can at-home Shiatsu massagers help?

For individuals who may not have access to a Shiatsu therapist or practitioner, at-home Shiatsu massagers are also available.

These tools allow individuals to have the Shiatsu experience right from their homes and can be used as part of a regular self-care routine.

Can Shiatsu massage help with lymphatic flow?

Shiatsu massage therapy can stimulate lymphatic flow in the body. This is important because the lymphatic system is responsible for ridding the body of toxins and waste.

A well-functioning lymphatic system also helps the immune system to fight off diseases.

How to get a Shiatsu massage?

How to find the right Shiatsu therapist or practitioner?

It is vital to find the right Shiatsu therapist or practitioner. Consider reaching out to a Shiatsu professional or checking out online directories of massage therapists. Seeing a Shiatsu practitioner who is also trained in traditional Chinese medicine is a plus.

What should you expect during a Shiatsu session?

During a Shiatsu session, you will be fully clothed and lie on a cushioned mat on the floor. The practitioner may ask about your specific concerns or issues and then use different techniques such as finger pressure or elbow techniques along the meridians to stimulate energy flow throughout the body.

How to prepare for a Shiatsu massage?

It is essential to prepare for a Shiatsu massage in advance. Wear loose, comfortable clothes and avoid eating a heavy meal before the session. Make sure to drink water throughout the day to keep well hydrated. If you want to understand more about hydration and water check out our post about why you should drink water after a massage.

FAQ – Shiatsu Massage

Q: What is Shiatsu massage?

A: Shiatsu massage is a form of massage therapy that originated in Japan. It uses techniques such as finger pressure, rotation, and stretching to apply pressure to specific points on the body.

Q: What are the benefits of Shiatsu massage?

A: Shiatsu massage can improve overall well-being by bringing balance to the body, reducing muscle stiffness, and relieving tension and pain. It may also help with lymphatic drainage and improve energy levels.

Q: Is Shiatsu massage therapy?

A: Yes, Shiatsu massage is a form of bodywork that is considered a complementary therapy. It is generally considered safe for most individuals, but it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any new treatment.

Q: How can Shiatsu massage help with chronic pain?

A: Shiatsu massage uses pressure points to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes. By targeting specific areas, it can help relieve tension and reduce pain levels in individuals with chronic pain conditions.

Q: Does Shiatsu massage help with stress and anxiety?

A: Yes, Shiatsu massage can bring balance to the body and help individuals feel more relaxed. It may also improve sleep and reduce stress and anxiety levels.

Q: Can I give myself Shiatsu massage at home?

A: Yes, there are several at-home Shiatsu massagers available that use similar techniques to traditional Shiatsu massage. However, it is important to follow usage instructions carefully and avoid applying too much pressure.

Q: What should I wear to a Shiatsu massage session?

A: Loose clothing is recommended for Shiatsu massage sessions, as the therapist will need to use stretching and rotation techniques to apply pressure to different areas of the body.

Q: What does the word “Shiatsu” mean?

A: “Shiatsu” means “finger pressure” in Japanese, which is a reference to the technique used in this form of massage therapy.

Q: Is Shiatsu massage a good option for individuals undergoing cancer treatment?

A: While more research is needed in this area, cancer research UK suggests that Shiatsu may be a helpful complementary therapy for individuals undergoing cancer treatment. However, it is important to discuss any new treatment options with a healthcare professional first.

Q: How long does a Shiatsu massage session typically last?

A: A Shiatsu massage session can last anywhere from 60-90 minutes, depending on individual needs and preferences.


Shiatsu isn’t merely a massage; it’s an invitation to connect with your body, to soothe the aches of modern life, and to dance in the harmonious rhythm of ancient Japanese healing.

Whether you’re seeking relief from discomfort, balance in your energy flow, or a deeper understanding of alternative therapies, Shiatsu stands as a welcoming beacon.

Here’s to your wellness, your balance, your harmony. Embrace the Shiatsu journey!