Shiatsu massage originated in Japan and utilizes the hands and palms--particularly the thumbs--to massage the body at specific points and treat many different conditions and encourage relaxation. Although often referred to as a form of massage, shiatsu is actually a form of energy work that balances the energy pathways in the body. The benefits of shiatsu depend upon the reasons for the visit and the duration of the therapy. Shiatsu practitioners report that people who go for regular treatments reap the most benefits, but that even one session can help relax the client and begin to clear the blocks in the energy.
Shiatsu massage has been shown to relax nearly everyone who receives it. Research conducted by the Shiatsu Society and the European Shiatsu Federation showed that nearly 95 percent of the study participants felt calmer and more relaxed after a shiatsu session. In addition to feeling calmer the ESF study showed that 54 percent of the study group slept better after a session.
Shiatsu massage can work the tension and spasms out of muscles. In addition to the act of rubbing and pulling at the skin and muscles, shiatsu helps to release tension by pressing on acupressure points that release tension. The ESF study showed that more than 85 percent of participants reported feeling better about symptoms including tension, back pain, joint pain and posture problems.