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Shiatsu: healing pressure

Originally from Japan and descended from the Chinese tradition, shiatsu is an ancient therapy that bases its benefits on getting the correct channeling of vital energy ( Chi ) through pressure, in certain key points of our body, exercised with the fingers and Palms of the hands. Know the properties and benefits of this technique that have recurred characters as well known as the actress Marilyn Monroe or boxing champion Muhammad Ali.


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What is shiatsu?
There is evidence of the practice of shiatsu since the beginning of the 20th century, more specifically since 1912, when Tokujiro Namikoshi developed a technique of pressure with the thumbs and palms of the hands to treat the rheumatoid arthritis suffered by his mother.

Like other oriental techniques such as acupuncture , shiatsu is based on a principle whereby a person’s health condition will largely depend on how his / her vital energy flows throughout his or her body, a process that is performed through Of channels called meridians .

With this in mind, if a certain pressure is applied to these meridians by the palms and fingers, especially the thumbs, we will be able to redirect and improve the circulation of energy and, consequently, our health.

Likewise, shiatsu is also related to other oriental practices such as taichi or yoga and is that, as in these two techniques, its essence also lies in getting us to keep the body in a correct position and to do Both our movements and our breathing in a conscious and precise way.

With all this we will achieve that the energy mentioned above naturally circulates in our organism achieving the perfect harmony between body, mind and spirit, which, in turn, will make our health is much better.

Types of shiatsu

As in the case of other alternative Oriental therapies, the practice of shiatsu in different places causes them to evolve into different types, although in essence, it remains the same technique.

In the case of shiatsu, there are three main types:

  • Classical Shiatsu: also known as original Shiatsu. It consists in exerting pressure with the thumbs in a series of reflex points that are determined by the own physiology of the nervous system, without taking into account the theory of the meridians.
  • Shiatsu Zen or Keiraku: founded by the master Masunaga, not only uses the thumbs and hands for his practice, but even the elbows and knees are used. In this case, this type of shiatsu works with the whole body and yes it focuses on the theory of the meridians to regulate either the energy deficits (Kyo), or the excess of the same (Jitsu), and to achieve this are used Two techniques that are to support (ho) and to disperse (sha).
  • Tao Shiatsu: considered as an evolution of the previous typology and is oriented to treat problems for patients with chronic problems.

Benefits of shiatsu

Shiatsu improves the general state of our body as it relaxes us, helps us release tension and reduces our degree of stress , both physical and emotional.

In addition to all this, it balances the nervous , respiratory and digestive systems , promotes blood circulation, tones the muscles, prevents fluid retention and, therefore, promotes lymphatic drainage and elimination of toxins.

For all this, more and more medical applications are attributed to this practice, among them we find:

  • Muscle aches, back pain, as well as low back pain or sciatica, among others.
  • Anxiety , insomnia , stress , depression or states of nervousness.
  • Migraines and headaches.
  • Chronic fatigue and exhaustion.
  • Gastrointestinal problems.
  • Disorders related to menstruation and menopause .

Contraindications of shiatsu
Despite all these benefits and applications, shiatsu also has certain contraindications and its practice would not be recommended in the following cases:

  • Degenerative diseases and malignant tumors.
  • Bleeding and external injuries.
  • Inflammation and acute conditions as well as infectious processes that, in addition, run with fever.

How is a shiatsu session?

The practice of shiatsu is quite regulated and today it is possible to find certified centers in almost all the world.

A shiatsu session lasts approximately 30 to 90 minutes. Usually, the first session is the longest because it includes the assessment of the patient’s health status. The average price of a shiatsu session is usually around € 30 per hour.

It will be the professional who recommends you the number of sessions and the frequency with which you must attend until they improve your ailments, although the usual thing is that, at the beginning, two or three sessions per week are to be followed, gradually, reducing the number to A weekly session.

The therapy is performed in a room with a pleasant temperature, on a stretcher or mat. It is recommended that you wear comfortable clothes, if possible cotton, since for your practice it is not necessary to undress or use creams or gels. It is possible that, to create a more pleasant atmosphere and increase the effects of shiatsu, the therapist uses aromatherapy as a complement.

Before you begin, the therapist will perform a preliminary survey to detect the source and focus of your discomfort and then make moderate pressures with your fingers and hands which will provide warmth in the affected areas.

The well-being you feel after this session will last for several hours, even days. However, it sometimes happens that after the first sessions, patients feel some pain or discomfort. Do not worry, it’s normal and it’s part of the recovery process. In any case, if the discomfort persists, talk to your therapist who will tell you what you should do to feel better or change the therapy so that there is no discomfort.

Finally, do not wait to feel bad to resort to shiatsu. Experts in this therapy ensure that precisely when we feel good is the best time for us to perform shiatsu sessions that strengthen our immune system and prevent future discomfort.