This ancient Japanese therapy uses pressure and vigorous massage to stimulate the flow of energy through the body. Like its Chinese equivalent, acupressure, Shiatsu requires no needles, relying instead on the thumbs, palms and heels of the hands, elbows, knees and feet to apply and sustain pressure on vital points all over the body.
It is particularly effective for pain relief and its advocates claim that by making the flow of energy through the meridians more efficient, Shiatsu is a highly effective preventive therapy which strengthens the nervous, circulatory and immune systems and invigorates the body.
In a variation sometimes known as barefoot Shiatsu, the therapist often uses the feet to apply pressure, sometimes standing on the patient. Even so, thumbs, elbows and hands are still employed.
The great advantage of Shiatsu over similar therapies such as acupuncture is that it can be practised in the home for the relief of simple ailments such as headache, insomnia, cold symptoms, constipation and nausea. Some formal instruction is recommended and professionally qualified practitioners should be used for diagnostic purposes and in cases of chronic or prolonged illness.
Tags: General health
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