Relaxation massage is beneficial for relieving everyday stress, loosening general tension in the the muscle and giving an overall feeling of well-being. However, this type of massage is not intended to work on conditions like chronic neck pain, back pain, wrist pain from keyboard overuse, old injuries from sports or automobile accidents, limited range of motion in the neck, arms or legs, etc.

These conditions are typically caused by tension that is buried deep within the soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia) which deep muscle Shiatsu therapy can tackle better and more effectively than relaxation massage

NOT the same as regular relaxation massage

Shiatsu is Japanese for "finger pressure"; it is a type of alternative medicine consisting of finger and palm pressure, stretches, and other massage techniques. There is no scientific evidence for any medical efficacy of shiatsu, but some shiatsu practitioners promote it as a way to help people relax and cope with issues such as stress, muscle pain, nausea, anxiety, and depression. There are two main Shiatsu schools: one incorporating elements of evidence-based anatomy and physiology, and the other based on Traditional Japanese Medicine. Shiatsu is usually performed on a futon mat, with clients fully clothed.

but no jeans. It is also performed on horses.

Shiatsu originated in Japan, following similar principles to chiropractic or 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 Shiatsu upractors (Licensed Shiatsu practitioners) 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 practitioners have been trained. Namikoshi developed his knowledge through trial and error, eventually gaining acceptance in the late 1950s.

History of Shiatsu

Shiatsu, as well as Teate, originated in Japan. There were many hands-on therapies called Teate before traditional Chinese therapies such as Acupuncture and Tuina were introduced to Japan. Conflicting reports exist as to the date of the first use of the word Shiatsu.

However, there is no doubt that it was Tokujiro Namikoshi who founded the Japan Shiatsu College in 1940 and established and systematized Shiatsu Therapy. At the age of seven, Tokujiro Namikoshi developed a technique of pressing using his thumbs and palms as he tried to nurse his mother who suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis.

He called the technique 'Pressure Therapy' at first but later renamed it 'Shiatsu Therapy'. He treated many high profile persons such as former Japanese Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida and other successive Prime Ministers, the Prosecutor for the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, Prosecutor Keenan, as well as celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Mohamed Ali.

In this way, Shiatsu became known not only in Japan but also overseas. The Japan Shiatsu College has produced many graduates who participate actively worldwide and who have devised their own Shiatsu styles.

These styles are derived from the original Shiatsu of Namikoshi and collectively termed Derivative Shiatsu. For example, Tadashi Izawa established Meridian Shiatsu, incorporating Meridian Theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine into his Shiatsu therapy. Shizuto Masunaga's book, called Zen Shiatsu in English, popularized Zen (or Masunaga) Shiatsu in North America and Europe.

Ryukyu Endo, a Buddhist priest, introduced Tao Shiatsu, which involves concentrating the mind and making supplications to the Buddha. Kiyoshi Ikenaga, in his book Tsubo Shiatsu, elucidates from an anatomical and physiological point of view, how meridian points (or Tsubo) are useful in Shiatsu Therapy.

The Japanese word 'Shiatsu' is known all around the world. In the English translation, this unique, originally Japanese, hands-on therapy is also called Shiatsu

Definition of Shiatsu


  • "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."

    Published by Japanese medical department of the Ministry of Welfare (Current Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare) in December 1957


Who is someone that should try Shiatsu?


Anyone who is dealing with alot of stress and anxiety and looking to feel more relaxed. If you are suering with acute or chronic pain and looking for some relief, Shiatsu can provide you with a decrease in your pain levels . Or maybe you are an athlete, looking to enhance your performance. Shiatsu can help by increasing your overall energy and power. Even if you don’t have any health concerns and are considered to be in good health, Shiatsu can boost your immune system and overall sense of well-being. Traditional Japanese Shiatsu will make an immediate impact and reduce your stress levels and increase your overall sense of well-being. With on-going treatments, Shiatsu can relieve pain, boost your energy levels and improve your immune system function.

How dose it work?

The skin is the largest organ in the body and has high concentrations of sense receptors. Other sense organs are the eyes, ears and tongue. A key function of these sense organs is to give our brain information about the safety or lack of safety within our body. The sense receptors in our skin relay information through the nervous system to the brain for processing. Once the information is processed by the brain, it sends back messages on how our body should react to the conditions. Shiatsu uses the sense receptors in the skin, muscles, bones and tendons to send messages to the brain. Essentially, it works by the balancing of the nervous and endocrine system through a variety of biochemical substances. These substances are produced by the body when gentle pressure is applied on specific Shiatsu points located throughout your entire body. It also works by stimulating the lymphatic system which is the system responsible for removing toxins and foreign substances from your body. The application of pressure on these regions also increases blood and lymph now throughout the body. This is an important mechanism for stimulating the healing process because your blood contains nutrients that nourish and build your tissue and the lymph acts to remove unhealthy bacteria and toxins from your body. The healing process is ongoing with the removal of old, damaged tissue and toxins, and the bringing in of nutrients to form new, healthy tissue. It is understood that where there is blood and lymph now, there is healing!

The purpose Shiatsu is to bring the body into balance - the Yin/ Yang - which results in good health on all levels. In the 10th century, Japanese monks began to study Buddhism in China. They observed the healing methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine and took them back to Japan. The word Shiatsu means ('Shi' means 'finger') - ('atsu' means 'pressure').

Shiatsu utilizes a combination of pressure and assisted-stretching tecniques. It is a combination of many different techniques, including pressing, hooking, sweeping, shaking, rotating, grasping, vibrating, patting, plucking, lifting, pinching, rolling, brushing, and, in one school developed by Suzuki Yamamoto, barefoot shiatsu, it includes walking on the person's back, legs, and feet.

Shiatsu can be done with the patient lying on a mat on the floor - or on a table. The patient remains fully clothed wearing loose fitting clothing. The atmosphere in the area should be calm - light music can be used if desired - soft lighting.