Shiatsu massage, sometimes called Zen shiatsu, unifies spiritual, philosophical, and medical aspects of the body. Some westernized massage techniques are combined with the view that energy, qi or chi, circulates along channels called meridians. When freely flowing, chi brings fresh, strong energy and carries away spent energy along with toxins. In this view, any number of influences upset our natural balance of yin and yang. Blocked or diverted chi must be cleared and restored. An Eastern perspective doesn't cite sleeplessness, indigestion, swollen joints, headaches, or depression as sources of discomfort, but sees them as symptoms of either hyperactive or underproductive chi.
What Happens During a Shiatsu Massage?
When visiting a practitioner of shiatsu massage, wear thin, loose, comfortable clothing, such as cotton or linen. Expect to lie flat on the floor, a beaded mat, or a futon, so your muscles relax as much as possible. Be prepared to tell the masseuse what you would like worked on. If you have headaches, try to remember if they occur in the morning, after eating spicy food, reading for a long time, or vigorous exercise. Make sure to inform the masseuse of any westernized medical treatment you are receiving, as well. A shiatsu session usually lasts between 45 minutes and an hour.
The Benefits of Shiatsu Massage
Most people enjoy shiatsu massage as much as they enjoy deep tissue massage, but expect some differences. Shiatsu will involve deep breathing, rotating and stretching your joints, as well as manipulating pressure points. When these points are pressed, people describe the sensation as feeling tender, tickling, intense, or slightly uncomfortable, unlike anything else. After the massage, you may feel strange, but not sore as in a muscular tissue massage. Many believe Shiatsu is both preventative and healing, so getting it done on a regular basis, along with stretching, exercise, and a healthy diet, may improve your health.