Shiatsu massage was first practiced in China and Japan over 2000 years ago. During its incarnation, the philosophy and techniques behind Shiatsu largely stemmed from an Eastern form of healing called anma which was used to heal various ailments, aches and diseases.
Today, the Shiatsu that is commonly practiced in Western society has moved far away from the philosophy of Eastern anma healing. For instance, Western Shiatsu massage has branched off into a dozen different forms of the Eastern art - Barefoot Shiatsu, Namikoshi Shiatsu, Oha Shiatsu, Macrobiotic Shiatsu, Shiatsu-Do and Zen Shiatsu only take the very basic techniques of Shiatsu however these dont weigh heavily on Eastern philosophy.
A Shiatsu massage, like you might enjoy today, consists of a finger-pressure technique that utilizes the traditional acupuncture points of Oriental healing. Similar to acupressure, shiatsu concentrates on unblocking the flow of life energy (or chi) and restoring the balance in the various meridians on the body. When these meridians are unblocked the major body systems and organs they represent are encouraged to heal and attain perfect balance.
Shiatsu massage is performed with the client in a reclined position. The massage therapist then applies varying degrees of pressure with their fingers, thumbs, palms, elbows or knees to specific zones on the skin that are located along the energy meridians. The Shiatsu treatment brings about a sense of relaxation while stimulating blood circulation and lymphatic flow.
The benefits of Shiatsu massage may include pain relief, feelings of euphoria and a strengthening of the body's resistance to disease and disorder. However following the first Shiatsu massage, many clients complain of cold or flu-like symptoms, aches and pains, and headaches. These symptoms are a side-effect of the deep relaxation that occurs after all of the major systems in your body are stimulated and encouraged to heal. These symptoms never last longer than 24-hours, and they decrease with each additional Shiatsu massage.