What is shiatsu?

Shiatsu is a Japanese word literally translated as finger pressure. It developed in Japan, under the strong influence of Chinese medicine traditions.

Shiatsu directly treats both the musculo-skeletal system (like massage) and the Chinese medicine system of meridians (like acupuncture or acupressure). It helps soften and relax the body from hands-on work. This, combined with stretches and joint movements, generally leaves the receiver feeling more flexible, relaxed, and moving better.

Shiatsu encourages a healthy balance of Qi (energy) flow throughout the body and correspondingly movement toward greater physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

We treat the meridians and points mostly with our hands and fingers, but sometimes also with gentle knees, elbows, and feet. The pressure is always tailored to the clients’ needs. There is no inherent value in pain!

What does shiatsu treat?

Shiatsu can treat almost any acute or chronic, internal or external condition, including many that Western medicine does not recognize. It can address every system of the body and people of all ages (I’ve treated babies and hospice patients).

Chinese medicine and shiatsu understand the integrated nature of wellness. Our minds, bodies, and spirits tend to rise and fall together. With this sense, shiatsu can address mental and emotional issues that often present with physical symptoms.

What can I expect at a session?

Clients remain fully-clothed and usually receive the session on a mat on the floor, but massage tables work well too. Ideally, the receiver comes with loose-fitting, soft, comfortable clothes. The bodywork will be as deep or light as the receiver needs.

Before beginning, Josh will talk with the receiver about how they are feeling and any issues they have. At the first session, that conversation may be longer and include medical history.

Shiatsu is generally very relaxing and soothing, though there will be moments of discomfort with a stretch or pressure to an area that needs special attention. Usually, the client will experience some noticeable benefit from the session immediately and the effects often develop over the course of the next few days or longer.

Chinese medicine also recognizes how lifestyle affects health, and Josh may make simple dietary, stretching, exercise, and other suggestions specific to the receiver.

After the session, the receiver ideally would drink plenty of water and relax for at least a couple hours afterwards.