Alternative Health Information


Shiatsu (Japanese 指圧) - is a massage technique originating in Japan. 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.
All qualified Shiatsu Therapists in Japan have to go through a government-regulated program which covers mostly the traditional form of Shiatsu Therapy. This traditional form, now commonly practiced in north America, was started by Tokujiro Namikoshi, from whose lineage subsequent Shiatsu therapists have been trained. Namikoshi developed his knowledge through trial and error, eventually gaining acceptance in the late 1950s. His Shiatsu is described as "Diagnosis and Therapy combined". and relies on an understanding of how the body functions according to western principles of anatomy and physiology, as opposed to the principles in Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM, although derivative forms of Shiatsu based on TCM have been devised by later practioners from the Japan Shiatsu College (Namikoshi had no background in TCM).
Time Line
1912 Namikoshi first used his technique on his ailing mother.
1919 Namikoshi found the term Shiatsu and decided to use it to describe his therapy.
1925 Namakoshi opened his first clinic for Shiatsu Therapy. Student Shizuto Masunaga is born.
1940 Namakoshi opens first Shiatsu college.
1953 Namakoshi 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.

Use of the bare hands (no tools, elbows, knees or feet)
Pressing the surface of the body (no rubbing, stroking or pulling)
Clients remain fully clothed
"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."

Intended treatments
Shiatsu is used in treating 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


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