Shiatsu Massage For Beginners


Shiatsu is a popular form of Japanese massage which aims to unlock the qi or chi in the body.

Qi is the life force which goes through the body’s energy ports. When these are manipulated they can help to unblock clogged up energy.

Similar to Thai massage, Shiatsu helps the mind and body come together as one. It is a non invasive treatment.


The technique uses the palms and arms and sometimes even the therapist’s feet to deliver the treatment. However, the name derivers from the Japanese for ‘finger pressure’.

The treatment has its roots in Chinese traditional medicine.


In the sixth century, a Buddhist monk brought the origins of Shiatsu over from China.

But modern Shiatsu begins in the mid nineteen hundreds. This was when Tokuijiro Namikoshi founded the first Shiatsu college in Japan.

Nowadays, there is more than one type of Shiatsu massage. Two of the most popular are Namikoshi and Zen.

However, parts of other massage techniques have worked their way into Shiatsu as well. You may find elements of acupressure or Swedish massage in there as well.

Acupressure has some similarities with Shiatsu, because they both use the principle of pressure points and meridians.

Within traditional Chinese medicine, Shiatsu, along with acupuncture and acupressure, uses the idea of the Five Element theory. This has been used for two millennia and is designed to help blocked qi.

The Five Element theory believes that the body is influenced by the elements; fire, metal, earth, water and wood.


In practical terms, Shiatsu is a very relaxing type of treatment. Its overriding aim is to help restore the balance between the mind, body and spirit.

The belief that lies behind Shiatsu states that energy may be passed from one individual to another, through the medium of touch.

By placing light pressure on the meridians in the body, blood flow will improve and aid recovery.

During your session, the therapist may take something called your acupressure pulse. This is to check if these parts of your body is either over or under stimulated or if they’re too weak or strong. When this has been checked properly, then the therapy can begin.

Not all Shiatsu therapies will use this method, but they may do if they are following a more traditional Chinese approach.

Clothing is usually not removed during a Shiatsu massage. For that reason, oils and other products are not usually used.

Some practitioners, who are following a less traditional Chinese path, and incorporating more elements of Swedish massage, may use oil. If that’s the case, the therapist might want access to the client’s skin.

This is the reason you are usually advised to wear loose clothing for a Shiatsu massage.

To book a Shiatsu massage with one of our team, please fill out the contact sheet.

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