Shiatsu originated in Japan, and is rooted in the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine. This system discovered a whole network of energy lines throughout the whole body, which are called meridians or channels. Along these meridians are acupoints, each of which has a particular effect upon the body’s energies.
Shiatsu is traditionally done whilst the person lays fully clothed on a futon on the floor, but it can also be done lying on a couch, or even sitting in a chair.
The literal translation of the word “Shiatsu” is “finger pressure”, but a shiatsu practitioner can use their hands, knees, elbows or feet to apply gentle pressure to the meridians that flow throughout the body. They also use some gentle stretches and rotations of the arms and legs in order to encourage the energy within the meridians to flow more smoothly, and help the body to find greater balance.
The benefits of shiatsu are not limited to physical ailments, such as back pain, or digestive complaints, but it can work at an emotional and spiritual level, helping to reduce menopausal symptoms, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, stress and help create a sense of relaxation and wellbeing.