Shiatsu originated in China at least 2000 years ago, when the earliest accounts gave the causes of ailments and the remedies that could be effected through a change of diet and way of life. The use of massage and acupuncture was also recommended.
The Japanese also practiced this massage, after it had been introduced into their country, and it was known as amma. The therapy that is known today as shiatsu has gradually evolved with time from time amma under influences from both East and West. It is only very recently that it has gained recognition and popularity, with people becoming aware of its existence and benefits.
Although East and West have different viewpoints on health and life, these can complement one another. The Eastern belief is of a primary flow of energy throughout the universe and that all living creatures are dependent upon it as much as on physical nourishment. The energy is known by three similar names, ki, chi and prana in Japan, China and India respectively. (It should be noted that the term ‘energy’ in this context is not the same as the physical quantity that is measured in joules or calories). As in acupuncture, there are certain pressure points on the meridians that relate to certain organs, and these points are known as tsubos.
The applications of shiatsu
Shiatsu can be used to treat a variety of minor problems such as insomnia, headaches, anxiety, back pain, etc. Western medicine amy be unable to find a physical cause for a problem, and although some pain relief may be provided, the underlying cause of the problem may not be cured. It is possible that one session of shiatsu ill be sufficient to remedy the problem by stimulating the flow of energy along the channels.
A regime of exercise (possibly a specific routine) with a change in diet and / or lifestyle may also be recommended. Shiatsu can encourage a general feeling of good health in the whole person, not just in the physical sense. After some study or practice, shiatsu can be performed on friends and relatives. There are many benefits for both the giver and the receiver of shiatsu, both on a physical and spiritual level.