Alternate forms of medicine are becoming increasingly popular in western countries, because of the realization that most of them are free of the after effects, which users of modern day allopathic medicine have to constantly guard against.
Many of these theories of alternate medicine are sourced from the East and the fact that they have been practiced for thousands of years give them some authenticity. The Shiatsu method of massage is one that has become quite popular in recent times and this system has its roots in the Chinese theory of medicine that goes back many centuries.
Shiatsu massage is a form of massage that has its basis on pressure points. This is a theory that is akin to that of acupuncture, a medicinal system that is already widely accepted in the West. The difference here is that the pressure is not applied with needles, as in acupuncture, but with the fingers.
Modern day practitioners do use mechanical devises to produce the same pressures, but these are modern day inventions that find no place in ancient literature. This massage, or acupressure, has lot of similarity to reflexology, where hands and feet are stimulated through pressure points.
The theory in reflexology, acupuncture and Shiatsu is that every living body has energy centers which are connected to each other by meridians or channel. This energy that is flowing through these meridians is referred to as Qi, Chi or Ki.
This Qi is considered a universal life force, and according to the theory in Chinese medicine, an imbalance or lack of Qi can cause illnesses. As per theories in this form of medicine a person is healthy if the masculine and feminine energy, referred to as Yin and Yang, are perfectly balanced.
In Shiatsu massage the energy centers of the body are stimulated, which leads to the stimulation of Qi and this can help restore the balance of energies in the body. Practitioners of this form of massage need to know the meaning of each of the energy centers, so that they are able to treat any specific conditions. The therapist giving this massage uses a number of techniques from circular motions, kneading or rubbing. The amount of pressure applied during these massage sessions can be different depending on the requirements of the ailment that is being treated and condition of the patient.
Massage is very popular even for people who have no specific problems and who just want to use it to relax and get rejuvenated. Shiatsu massage is also used by many people for this purpose. It is quite often used for people suffering from constipation, digestive problems, high blood pressure, migraine headaches and arthritis besides a number of other chronic ailments.
There are people who use this form of massage to look young, as massage has always been useful in making the skin look better, because it does improve the circulation of blood throughout the body. You will find therapists who practice Shiatsu in most cities, and it is quite common to find them in spas. Holistic healing centers are good places to look for these massage therapists, and you need to ensure that they are people who are certified.
There is a lot of common ground between Western and the Shiatsu form of massage. Both systems are very efficient in relieving stress and they promote better health, because the treatment is focused on the body of the person.
In most cases, no use is made of any mechanical or electronic devices, though recent developments of massage chairs for both forms of massage may give lie to this statement. But these are conveniences for the use of people and rarely used by masseurs.
Actually, even the western form of massage is not considered to be part of Western medicine and is looked on more as an alternative medicine. You will hear of massage being mentioned along with Crystal healing, Hypnosis and Reiki, all of which have devotees.
Practitioners of Shiatsu however will point to their extensive knowledge of anatomy, pathology and physiology all of which are also pillars of Western medicine. This has led to Shiatsu being more acceptable in the West.
Body massage which is the mainstay of Shiatsu is one of the oldest forms of medical care that is known to mankind, and you will find Egyptian tomb paintings that depict people being massaged. A book from China that goes back almost 5000 years, also recommends that massage be used on skin and flesh to treat a number of ailments.
Ayurveda, which also is the Indian medicine system that goes back over 5000 years, advocates the use of spices and aromatic oils for massage, and that it has many therapeutic benefits. The Greeks in 8th century B.C. used massage for their Olympic athletes in ways similar to what is practiced today.
Modern reference to Shiatsu is more of Japanese origin and is slightly different from the Qi based therapies of Chinese medicine. This is mainly the use of the thumbs and palms to create the required pressure.
Shiatsu is recognized as a separate therapy in Japan and practitioners in this country are required to obtain licenses and certificates from the Ministry of Health, which is given only after an educational program of 2500 hours and requires up to three years being spent in colleges and universities that teach this therapy.
Shiatsu mainly relies on the pressure from the palm and the fingers, unlike other forms of massage that mainly involve rubbing motions. It helps to regulate the nervous system and stimulates chemical responses in the body that help to promote natural healing. Shiatsu massage has 838 pressure points that are located on the endocrine glands, bones, lymph vessels, blood vessels, nerves and muscles, and pressure that is applied will depend on the condition of the patient’s body.
Pressure is increased as muscles get relaxed and is always maintained steadily so that body chemicals and hormones get released and add to any healing process. Shiatsu actually pays more attention to the anatomy than the energy channels that are commonly used in Chinese medicine.