Date Published: 23 February 2004

Shiatsu and Qigong

Article by Cathy Dixon

See below for details.

An article by Cathy Dixon, BA (Hons) RSA (Dip), PTRSI, M.E.A.R

What is Shiatsu?

Shiatsu is a holistic healing art and therapy. It uses the power of touch to heal and promotes
health by influencing and improving the natural state of energy in the body.

Shiatsu combines two ancient techniques, Japanese Anma (which means finger pressure) with the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

By incorporating western studies of anatomy, physiology and massage it has developed as a bona fide therapy in the 20th Century. Shiatsu is not merely a set form of massage but uses diagnostic techniques so that each treatment is tailored to the needs of the individual.

How does it work?

It is based on the concept that good health is achieved through the universal law of energetic harmony. This energy or "chi" flows through the body's own energetic system known as the meridians. Shiatsu disperses, unblocks or tonifies the energy in these meridians and acupoints to activate the body's own healing mechanism to achieve balance, and better health.

On a purely physiological level, shiatsu calms the central nervous system and relaxes the muscles.

What should I expect during a treatment?

During the first treatment, your case history and treatment objectives will be established. You remain fully clothed during treatments; so loose comfortable clothes are recommended. Treatments involve a series of gentle stretches, non-invasive pressure and joint mobilisation using palms, thumbs, elbows and even feet as the principle tools. The treatment lasts one hour.

How will I feel during/after the treatment?

Normally you feel a deep sense of relaxation and well being as the treatment unfolds. The after effects will vary, but feeling more positive, calm, centred, alert and energised are all common.

What conditions most benefit from Shiatsu?
  • Relief for most muscular -skeletal problems such as back, neck and shoulder aches and pains, arthritis
  • Relief from most stress related disorders - anxiety, depression etc
  • Improves energy and combats fatigue and insomnia
  • Relieves Headaches, migraine
  • Balances blood pressure and circulatory disorders
  • Improves respiratory conditions
  • Improves Digestive conditions
  • Improves Respiratory and reproductive problems
What about Shiatsu when you are not feeling ill?

On a general level, shiatsu maintains health and well-being. Regular shiatsu may improve blood and lymph circulation and allow the distribution of essential nutrients and elimination of harmful toxins. This can lead to improved energy, vitality and sleep quality, greater concentration and alertness and a greater sense of well-being. Regular treatments help fortify the immune system and ward off minor ailments.

How long does it train to be a practitioner?

Minimum training takes at least three years. A mainstream syllabus involves regular practical shiatsu training and practice. Examinations are held in western anatomy, physiology, pathology as well as oriental theory, diagnostic techniques and location of the meridians and acupoints. Training also includes communication and counselling skills, assessed client case studies and one year supervised treatments in clinical surroundings.

Article by Cathy Dixon

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