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Benefits of Shiatsu Therapy

written by: BStone • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 10/7/2010

Shiatsu therapy is a fascinating form of medicine involving finger pressure to heal. What are the benefits of shiatsu massage and who is this therapy ideal for?

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    Healing Hands

    shiatsu therapy Shiatsu therapy is inspired by the practice of manipulating chi (subtle energy flow through the body, also known as one's life force) for healing. This view of medicine was imported from China in the 6th century and developed into the form of acupressure known today as shiatsu massage at the turn of the 20th century. The official founder, Tokujiro Namikoshi found that he could heal his mother of rheumatoid arthritis by pressing his fingers on certain points and using some massage.

    Shiatsu literally means "finger pressure." Practitioners today use their fingers, thumbs, and palms to correct patients' chi, thereby helping to treat and prevent a range of illnesses. It is considered a form of complementary, alternative medicine to be used along with other forms of healing. How and what can finger pressure heal? What are the benefits of shiatsu?

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    Healing Benefits

    Shiatsu massage intends not to heal a disease but to allow the body to heal naturally by creating a state of balance and well-being through unblocking chi. This therapy is primarily beneficial for emotional problems, common digestive disorders, hormonal imbalances, musculo-skeletal problems, and respiratory issues. It can also be used to help the body deal with the side effects of chemotherapy and prescription medications. The following are all conditions that can benefit from shiatsu:

    • Stress and anxiety
    • Depression
    • Insomnia
    • Fatigue
    • Headaches and migraines
    • Joint pain and stiffness, arthritis
    • Back and neck pain
    • Muscle tension
    • Symptoms of PMS
    • Symptoms of pregnancy
    • Symptoms of menopause
    • Constipation
    • Acid reflux
    • Nausea
    • Bronchitis
    • Sinusitis
    • Asthma

    During treatment a practitioner will diagnose an imbalance. This is done though gentle touch. They will probably not diagnose a conventional illness, but rather the energy and element imbalances, such as excess Fire (The five Chinese elements are Fire, Metal, Water, Wood, and Earth). Well-being occurs when the elements are properly balanced and chi is vitally flowing though the meridian system. In this state the body is able to heal and is not vulnerable to illness.

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    Should You Try Shiatsu?

    Shiatsu therapy is based on a healing philosophy that is very different from how medicine and healing is viewed in the West. Different does not necessarily mean of a lesser value, or that it is better. It is simply another healing option that may be right for you. Aside from the healing benefits of shiatsu, a session will also relax the mind and soothe the body. The treatments are non-invasive and there are no negative side effects. Some people may feel a bit dizzy after a session, or experience increased sensation, but this is temporary and does not cause any harm. Shiatsu is safe, therapeutic, and potentially a very powerful way to bring your body to a state of well-being.

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    References

    Shiatsu Society <http://www.shiatsusociety.org/public/about_shiatsu/faq.shtml>

    Canadian Shiatsu Society of British Columbia <http://www.shiatsupractor.org/aboutshiatsu.html>

    Shiatsu Brighton <http://www.shiatsu-brighton.com/benefits.html>

    photo by: Aqua Dome (CC/flickr) <http://www.flickr.com/photos/50115060@N03/4602202684/sizes/m/in/photostream/>

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    Disclaimer

    Please read this disclaimer regarding the information contained within this article.