Shiatsu is a powerful hands-on therapy from Japan
Therapists use their fingers, thumbs, elbows sometimes even knees and feet – to manipulate and invigorate the body. This wide range of techniques means Shiatsu can be both gentle and strong. Light finger-tip pressure is applied to sensitive areas such as the face- while tight muscles in the thigh or buttocks can take full body weight.
Pregnant women & midwives LOVE it
People of all ages, body types and conditions benefit from this traditional healing art. There are varied treatment options to suit different needs. Clients be treated on their front, back and side – or remain seated. For example, heavily pregnant women enjoy Shiatsu because they can lie on their side without squashing the bump. Research shows it can reduce complications in childbirth. Midwives train to give Shiatsu during labour.
Not just for girls – burly blokes & rugby players benefit too
Marathon runners, rugby players and lorry drivers like Shiatsu because it gives them the intense pressure needed to release tight muscles in the legs, buttocks and back. Working on a futon on the floor means it is safe and stable for the therapist to apply full body weight.
Boosts quality of life for people with Multiple Sclerosis
Heidi works with chronic conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Osteoporosis, Lupus and Crohn’s Disease. People with MS say Shiatsu relieves pain, mobility and chronic fatigue. Treatments also boost mood, making it easier to cope with the emotional effects of an incurable illness.
Similarities with Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture
The three-year Shiatsu training combines Traditional Chinese Medicine with Western anatomy and physiology. Shiatsu follows the principles of Yin and Yang and Five Elements used in acupuncture. It also works same meridian channels and pressure points.
Clients generally find Shiatsu more comforting and less clinical than acupuncture. Instead of needles it uses the warmth of human touch, which is great for folk with phobias about sharps.
As with Chinese medicine, Shiatsu takes an holistic approach. This means it looks at all the physical, emotional and psychological symptoms of a person. Therapists notice details such as skin colour, tone of voice, preferences for certain kinds of food or temperature, a tendency to burst into tears or be easily started.
The importance of listening
Shiatsu is primarily a touch therapy. However, talking and questioning play an important part, particularly at the beginning of a treatment.
Research shows acupressure techniques used in Shiatsu soothe physical pain, relieve stress and improve sleep. Clients usually say it helps their mental healthy, boosting mood and sense of wellbeing. Listening to how the client feels is hugely important.
Success in NHS mental health services
Sarah Cook, head of occupational therapy at the Trust, says a Shiatsu project set up in 2010 at London and South Maudsley NHS Trust is one of the most “valued” interventions.
“Service users, carers and staff alike have spoken highly of the impact this has made on their sense of well being. Particular reference has been made to renewed energy, improved motivation, reduction of side effects as well as reduced tension, improved healing and increased hope,” she said.
And you don’t have to take your clothes off
Treatments are usually on a futon and last one hour. The therapist works through clothes, which is a bonus for folk who feel self conscious about stripping off. Clients with mobility problems can opt for a chair, bed or wheelchair or even a home visit.
Heidi is an experienced yoga teacher. At the end of the session, she can suggest stretches and strengthening poses or breathing techniques to improve your health.