Is Shiatsu the same as massage?

by in Acupuncture February 25, 2019

Guest post from Shiatsu Massage Practitioner, Jessie Baty

An old Japanese saying about Shiatsu and the body is “if the energy does not flow: make it flow!!”

I often hear: is Shiatsu basically a massage? Well, not exactly.

Shiatsu is a form of Japanese bodywork using East Asian medical principles, acupressure and energy techniques.
It is important to make a distinction between Shiatsu massage and the general relaxation massage you would get at a spa.  Shiatsu employs a personalized Chinese medical assessment, can help relieve chronic and acute body pain and aims to ease mental and emotional stress (Chinese Medicine is based on the inherent mind body connection.)  Shiatsu has specific therapeutic aims and can should be offered by a certified Shiatsu practitioner.

In Japanese, Shiatsu means “finger pressure.” The pressure might be applied by the thumbs, palms, knees, elbow, and forearms to relieve pain on specific body pathways called meridians.  Meridians are energy pathways that run on specific areas on the body. On those paths are key points that help the body unlock and give relief to the recipient.

So how does a treatment work?
Very simply, after hearing the concerns from the patient, the practitioner will give a treatment based on the
symptoms they would like addressed. The goal of the practitioner is to treat the root of the problem and not only the branches (symptoms). To do so, acupressure, stretches, and energy medicine will be performed in a specific manner.

Shiatsu is performed fully clothed (minus shoes) on a Japanese futon or a massage table for a full hour.
The beauty of Shiatsu and holistic alternative medicine is that the treatments focus on the body and the mind
as a unit, one does not go without the other.

Here is what I mean by that: Anna N. came to see me a couple of weeks ago complaining about tinnitus- tension
in the shoulders and fatigue. After a couple of treatments the shoulder pain went away and the tinnitus reduced
considerably. When talking, we found some suppressed anger that was causing energy to rise up to the head
causing the tinnitus and the shoulder tension. We worked on specific meridians, integrated some targeted food
and added chi gong exercises. The fatigue got under control and Anna N. had tools to help herself when stressful
situations came her way.

Shiatsu is here to help you and give you the tools to get better, the practitioner is only a guide but not a
magician. Every patient has to be involved with their own health.

To conclude, Shiatsu is something I really would like people to know more about because it is not an invasive
bodywork and it is very powerful. Even though western science cannot fully explain it, patients can really feel and express countless improvements with their symptoms and with their life in general.

Shiatsu is for everyone, you do not need to be in pain or have concerns to enjoy Shiatsu. Children to elderly are
all welcome to enjoy a treatment.

Feel free to contact us with any questions or to find out if shiatsu is a good fit for you.

You can schedule a shiastu session (60 or 90 minute) here: https://acusimple.com/access/144/#/appointments/


Jessie Baty, Certified Shiatsu Practitioner

MaryFatimah Weening, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.
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About MaryFatimah Weening, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.
MaryFatimah has practiced acupuncture for over 10 years, and is licensed by the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine, and nationally board-certified by the NCCAOM. She holds a B.A. from Smith College, and a Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from Maryland University of Integrative Health.