What Are The Health Benefits Of A Shiatsu Massage?

Shiatsu massage has its roots in traditional Japanese medicine. In fact, as per Medical News Today, the term, shiatsu, means "finger pressure" in Japanese. It is a holistic therapy that aims to balance the body's energy and promote healing. Although the origins of shiatsu massage are traced back to the early 1900s when a Japanese practitioner named Tamai Tempaku developed the massage technique, anma predates the development of shiatsu massage, per the Shiatsu Therapy Association. This technique was later refined by practitioners like Tokujiro Namikoshi, who played a huge part in the development of modern shiatsu massage and uses various different techniques from anma.

Nowadays, shiatsu massage has become very popular worldwide and incorporates many styles, including zen shiatsu, five element shiatsu, movement shiatsu, and healing shiatsu, among others, according to the Shiatsu Society UKA session typically lasts between 60 and 90 minutes, which one can greatly benefit from. 

Health benefits of a shiatsu massage

Supporters of shiatsu believe the massage is helpful for various conditions, including muscle tension, poor posture, anxiety, skin conditions, back pain, and digestive issues, according to Medical News Today. The massage might also help to improve sleep by reducing stress and tension in the body, promoting a sense of relaxation, per a 2020 study published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. It also could improve blood flow and the production of serotonin. In fact, a 2011 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine indicated pain relief as a major benefit of the massage. However, experts concluded the scientific evidence to support any benefits of shiatsu massage is limited.

Despite these purported benefits, the risks associated with shiatsu are understudied. The massage is not recommended for people with osteoporosis, fever, inflammation, and others with certain medical conditions (per Medical News Today).

What happens during a shiatsu massage

A shiatsu massage usually starts with you fully clothed and lying on a mat or futon on the floor. Before the massage, a therapist examines your energy levels and overall medical condition to understand which techniques are to be used, per Medical News Today. They will then use various techniques involving a combination of kneading, tapping, and pressing movements to apply pressure from the palms, fingers, and knees to specific points on the body. These points correspond to the body's energy pathways, known as meridians.

Nevertheless, it's important to consult a doctor before receiving a shiatsu massage, especially if you have certain medical conditions. It's also vital to note that the effects of shiatsu massage may vary from person to person, and it's not a substitute for medical treatment. People with certain medical conditions should speak with a doctor before receiving a shiatsu massage.