Role of a Shiatsu Therapist

Shiatsu literally meaning “finger pressure “in Japanese, evolved from early oriental medicine and is primarily based on a combination of traditional Chinese Medicine and a traditional type of Japanese massage called Anma.


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Shiatsu is kind of healing art and is used many a times as a complementary therapy for a variety of reasons. For instance, shiatsu can be applied to heal specific injuries and symptoms or may be used for general purposes like relieving stress, improving sleep and overall well-being and relaxation of the mind and body.

Shiatsu is based on the idea that Qi, which is an invisible kind of energy, flows within all living things and when the flow of Qi is hindered due to any reason it causes ailments and problems in the body.

The primary function of a shiatsu therapist is to treat imbalances in the body by restoring the smooth flow of Qi. There are many kinds of shiatsu styles and the therapist may use any one or a combination of these styles. One of the most commonly used however, is Zen shiatsu.

As in most therapies, the shiatsu therapy also involves multiple sessions, with each session lasting for about 30 minutes. The first session may last little longer, because in this session the therapist will understand and note down the client’s physical condition and state of mind by asking a number of questions; questions about medical history and day-to-day lifestyle, for example.       

Depending on the answers and other factors like client’s energy level, the therapist will devise and employ a technique best suited to revive Qi in that client.

Usually the therapist will start by using body parts like palms, fingers, thumbs, elbows, knees and feet to locate pressure points, and identify temperature changes in the body. Once these points are located the therapist will apply pressure by pressing on them, or sometimes by rotating and stretching the muscles. This pressure when applied correctly on the right points is believed to improve the flow of Qi, thereby alleviating the client of his symptoms and/or reducing stress and promoting relaxation.      

Since shiatsu requires a lot of knowledge and skill, it is necessary to go to a well-trained shiatsu therapist. In Japan, therapists study for a number of years and need to be licensed by the Ministry of Health before they can practice.

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