The Japanese word ’Shiatsu’ means “Finger Pressure” and is based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Fingers and palms are mainly used, however sometimes knees, elbows and feet are used to apply firm but gentle pressure to specific points on your body’s energy pathways (Meridians) to improve the flow of energy or “Qi” and balance your system where appropriate.
Shiatsu has some features in common with European style massage and other forms of bodywork in that the use of physical pressure and stretches serve to reduce muscular tension and loosen stiff joints.
The big difference between Shiatsu and European-style massage is that you will remain clothed during the treatment. The principal aim of Shiatsu is not to work on localised muscles and joints, but on the overall energy system. A Shiatsu practitioner working on a shoulder joint, for example, will not just be focusing on the joint but on the pattern of energy throughout the body.
Most often your physical aches and pains are simply the external manifestation or surface ‘action’ required in meeting a deep underlying need or psychological pattern. Shiatsu, whilst acknowledging and working with the manifestation, ultimately aims to work on meeting the underlying cause or need to eliminate the resultant action.