Shiatsu (Japanese 指圧) - is a massage technique originating in Japan. Shiatsu therapy was developed by one person. All Shiatsu therapists from Japan are trained through his lineage. All people properly trained outside of Japan were trained by someone from this direct lineage. The different approaches to the practice have spread across the world in distinct lineages but all were developed as derivatives by someone with full and proper education.
Shiatsu follows similar principles to western massage using the principles of anatomy and physiology. The thumbs, palms, and fingers (no knees or elbows are used in the foundation form of shiatsu therapy) are used to apply pressure to designated areas of the body. Shiatsu relies on an understanding of how the body functions according to western principles of anatomy and physiology not on TCM principles of energy flow. There are derivative forms of Shiatsu therapy that are based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), but all of these were developed by a trained Shiatsu Therapists from the Japan Shiatsu College or its lineage ( Namikoshi Sensei).
The traditional form of Shiatsu Therapy, now commonly practiced in north America, was started in Japan by Tokujiro Namikoshi . All qualified Japan Shiatsu Therapists have to go through a government regulated program largely covering only the original form of Shiatsu Therapy. Namikoshi Sensei had no background in TCM and only developed his therapy through trial and error, finally gaining acceptance in the late fifties. The essence of Namikoshi's shiatsu is "Diagnosis and Therapy combined".
Shiatsu Time Line:(short version)
- 1912 Namikoshi Sensei first used his technique on his ailing mother
- 1919 Namikoshi Sensei found therm term Shiatsu and decided to use it to describe his therapy.
- 1925 Namakoshi Sensei opened his first clinic for Shiatsu Therapy. Shizuto Masunaga Sensei born.
- 1940 Namakoshi Sensei opens first Shiatsu college.
- 1953 Namakoshi Sensei and his sons introduce Shiatsu Therapy to the USA, Dr BJ Palmer, father of Chiropractic medicine.
- 1955 Shiatsu Therapy first recognized by Japan government but only in conjunction with amma and moxibustion.
- 1957 Shiatsu Therapy officially recognized by Japan as a separate and distinct therapy.
- 1958 Shizuto Masunaga graduates from Japan shiatsu College, begins to teach Psychology at the college as well.
- 1964 Shiatsu officially defined by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in Japan.
"Shiatsu technique refers to the use of fingers and palm of one's hand to apply pressure to particular sections on the surface of the body for the purpose of correcting the imbalances of the body, and for maintaining and promoting health. It is also a method contributing to the healing of specific illnesses."
This being said, the following three points were set as the major premise of shiatsu therapy:
1) To use the bare hands (no tools, elbows, knees or feet)
2) to press the surface of the body (no rubbing, stroking or pulling)
3) to aim for the maintainance and enhancement of health or recovery of illness.
Shiatsu can be used to treat the following symptoms:
- back pain
- migraine and many kinds of headaches
- whiplash injuries and neck stiffness
- reduced mobility
- menstrual pain
- digestive problems
- asthmatic symptoms
- sports injuries
- frozen shoulder
Canadian shiatsu practitioners's siteWe have international lineage and affiliation