You may have noticed shiatsu massage advertised. How is it different to "normal" massage. What are the mysteries of Shiatsu?
How is Shiatsu different to Normal Massage?
· Normal Massage uses oil.. Shiatsu works through clothing.
· Shiatsu is very different to “normal” massage. Normally in massage the receiver (you) has bare skin in the treatment area and oil/balm is used to allow the giver to glide across and along muscle fibers.
· In shiatsu you leave your skin covered (i.e. clothes on) and the giver uses pressure perpendicular to the skin. Where massage uses rubbing motions (generally) shiatsu uses pressing motions.
Traditional shiatsu is given on a Futon on the Floor
· “Normal” massage has the receiver on a table to facilitate access.
· In shiatsu the receiver lies on a futon on the floor. This allows the giver to use their body weight to direct pressure. It also allows the giver to move and stretch the receiver’s arms and legs.
Zen shiatsu is a specific form of shiatsu with some special characteristics:
· We work with the breath – when you are breathing out pressure is applied.
· There is an emphasis of staying present (a kind of meditation without sitting still).
· There is an emphasis on using the energy meridian channels and points from acupuncture to assist with specific conditions.
Some common questions regards shiatsu
Question: Will it hurt?
Answer: Shiatsu certainly has a reputation for being a very deep form of treatment. However, the pressure is yours to determine and you can choose pressure from very light surface work to deep pressure. Even when shiatsu is very deep the sensation is usually of a very productive nature – not a sharp pain.
Question: What is it good for?
Answer: Shiatsu has a long history of being used for both musculoskeletal issues – e.g. sore back, neck pain etc. and for systemic issues – e.g. digestive disturbance, menstrual issues etc. Because Zen shiatsu works with both the muscular system and the meridians of acupuncture a broad range of conditions can be treated. Shiatsu is also a good option for those who want the benefits of acupuncture without the needles.
Question: What is a session like?
Answer: A session commences with diagnosis (some questions regards your health, looking at your tongue and taking your pulse). The giver will then discuss a treatment plan to treat your pattern. The treatment consists of pressing with palms, stretching muscles through gentle movements of your limbs and direct pressure on key acupuncture points. The session generally ends with a relaxing massage of your neck, scalp and face.
Question: What tools do you use?
Answer: Oriental medicine tools such as vacuum cupping, heat therapy and moxa can be integrated into a shiatsu session as indicated.
Question: Is it hard work for the giver?
Answer: Surprisingly working on the floor is great for the giver (often better than working with a massage table). Zen shiatsu’s focus on the breath and being “present” means the giver feels great as well as the receiver.