Shiatsu, a Japanese word meaning ‘finger pressure’ is a form of manual bodywork in which the fingers, hands and palms are applied to particular shiatsu points on the body.  A shiatsu practitioner does not use any oils and applies various manual techniques:  kneading, pressing, tapping, soothing and stretching.  As with acupuncture, the basic concept is that energy or ‘qi’ flows through meridians in the body.  When specific points on these meridians are pressed, then this flow can be restored and will stimulate the body’s innate healing capability.  Shiatsu calms the automonic nervous system thus increasing resistance to the effects of stress.    It differs from acupuncture because no needles are used, only pressure. 

The practice of Shiatsu can be traced back to Tokujiro Namikoshi who in his early years first discovered that applying his thumbs, fingers and palms to particular points on the body could bring about healing and restoration.  His mother was struck with severe rheumatoid arthritis.  There were no doctors or medicine available for the condition.  Namikoshi found that when he applied thumb pressure rather than stroking or rubbing, his mother felt relief.  He learned of the link between the adrenal glands and rheumatism and also about pressure points on her spine.  Eventually the techniques he used assisted in bringing his mother to full recovery. Namikoshi opened the Japanese Shiatsu College in 1940.   The Canadian branch of the Japanese Shiatsu Association formed in 1999.  There are authorized institutes in both Vancouver and Toronto.

A typical Shiatsu treatment will last about 1 hour on average and involves an initial consultation about physical history and specific issues of concern.   Sessions may be longer in duration depending on the client’s needs and the techniques used.  Shiatsu can be beneficial for the following but is not limited to these issues:  stress, tension, constipation, respiratory conditions, back or neck pain, insomnia, digestive complaints, PMS issues, depressed immune system.

Specific Techniques


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