Shiatsu massage, also known as acupressure, is a point-pressure massage using the fingers. It is designed to help regulate the flow of energy within the body. During a shiatsu massage, thumb, fingers, palms or feet to the body apply pressure. This type of massage helps produce a deep relaxation increases energy levels and brings balance to the body.
The history of shiatsu massage lies within the ancient Chinese. They used the principals of shiatsu in both their medical philosophy and practice. It was developed around 530 B.C. Later, shiatsu massage was exported into Japan, Southeast Asia, and Korea where it was widely practiced. In the 20th century, this therapy was used for treating simple muscular tension and providers were licensed. Shiatsu became popular in the United States, Europe and Australia in the 1970s.
Shiatsu massages last anywhere from forty minutes to one hour. It usually takes place on a padded mat on the floor. This type of massage begins with gentle stretching and manipulation of the skin to allow the stimulation of energy and relax the muscles. Depending on the need of the person receiving the massage, it can be very gentle and calming or used with high pressure, but should never hurt or feel painful. Acupressure massages are usually given using a rapid circular motion with medium pressure. The massages can last from five to fifteen minutes and include techniques such as rubbing, kneading, percussion, and vibration.
Today, shiatsu massages are performed not only for relaxation, but to aid a wide variety of ailments and symptoms. The following are five benefits of shiatsu massage.
Skin: Shiatsu massages, or acupressure, help stimulate circulation in the capillaries of the skin’s soft tissues. The massage also serves to stimulate the secretion of the sebaceous glands and keeps skin moist and smooth. This helps give skin resilience and helps prevent wrinkling. A shiatsu massage will help improve the look and glow of the skin with improved blood circulation.
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Muscle Pain: Shiatsu and acupressure massages can help alleviate the symptoms caused by arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammation of the body’s tissue and it attacks the linings of the joints. This disease affects one percent of the world’s population. Shiatsu applied to the hands and feet are most effective when suffering from arthritis. Pressure from the massage can also be applied directly to any area affected by Rheumatoid arthritis. Shiatsu can also be used to improve the overall health of muscles throughout the body. Shiatsu helps limber muscles and gives muscles nutrition by improved circulation. It also helps reduce muscular pain.
Migraine Headaches: Migraines are usually caused by a rapid widening and narrowing of the blood vessels in the brain or head, causing irritation and pain. Common symptoms of migraine headaches include nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, weakness, numbness and vision problems. Migraines are thought to be cause by changes in weather, stress, hunger, foods containing nitrates and sometimes caffeine. Shiatsu massages helps aid migraines by relaxing the body and increasing blood flow and circulation throughout the body.
Pregnancy: Shiatsu massages have been used for thousands of years to aid women during monthly cycles to alleviate symptoms such as menstrual cramps and depression. This kind of massage has also been used for years for also for pregnancy as well. Shiatsu has been known to help women in labor and help babies turn in the womb. It can induce labor in women who are overdue and help ease morning sickness and swelling often caused by pregnancy.
Circulatory and Digestive System: Shiatsu massages are also found to help aid the circulatory and digestive system. A gently massage helps improve circulation and cellular nutrition throughout the body. A massage also benefits the digestive system allowing food to digest more easily and aids in the elimination of waste products. A shiatsu massage also increases stamina by storing energy reserves and assists in fat metabolism and removal.
Learning basic shiatsu techniques at home is easy with a book or video. It can also reap huge benefits to practice basic techniques at home. When looking for a practitioner experienced with shiatsu, look for one that has at least three years worth of experience. Feeling comfortable with the provider is also important. A session of shiatsu massages generally last from thirty to ninety minutes and can cost anywhere from $20 to $80 for a more experienced practitioner.
photo credit: ABMP
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