Shiatsu is a therapeutic form of acupressure, muscle meridian stretching, and corrective exercises derived from Japan. Although the word shiatsu translates literally as ‘finger pressure’, in practice, it involves applying controlled leaning pressure to the body using a practitioner’s thumbs, palms, elbows, knees and feet. Pressure can be gentle or firm, depending on the condition being treated. Shiatsu is founded on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine theory that energy can be stimulated in acupoints, known as tsubo in Japanese, and moves through channels within the body, known as meridians. Like most natural therapies, shiatsu is based on the principle that the body is a self-healing organism, and that the role of the practitioner is to aid and support that naturally occurring process. Shiatsu can assist an individual with their self-development and self-awareness, balancing the underlying causes of a condition and addressing physical and psychological functions. Shiatsu is excellent for general health maintenance, as a preventative therapy and for improved recovery from accidents, injuries and surgery. Itis suitable for people of all ages. Shiatsu may be useful in supporting the following conditions:

  • allergies and asthma
  • arthritis
  • back, neck and shoulder pain, sporting injuries
  • depression
  • digestive problems
  • fatigue and stress
  • headaches and migraine
  • insomnia
  • menstrual issues
  • sciatica


What to expect in a Shiatsu session?

A shiatsu session is about one hour of hands-on bodywork, including time for discussion of a treatment plan.

The person receiving shiatsu remains clothed or is covered by a sheet. Treatment usually takes place on a futon on the floor and can include the use of flowing stretches and gentle rotations of the limbs and joints, simple structural alignments and muscle release techniques.

On a physical level this has the effect of stimulating circulation and the flow of lymphatic fluid. It also works on the autonomic nervous system; helps to release toxins and deep-seated tension from the muscles and can also stimulate the hormonal system. On a subtler level shiatsu allows the receiver to deeply relax, while stimulating the body’s inherent ability for self-healing and regeneration.

Shiatsu treatment may also include client self-care recommendations.