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Shiatsu has become a very common word in the Western world nowadays. You see this word quite often in health, lifestyle, and alternative medicine magazines all over the world from Helsinki to Beijing. On the Internet, there is much information about Shiatsu. There are different approaches and schools of Shiatsu. Sometimes they even seem to contradict each other. This can be very confusing for the layman, who just wants to be healthy and feel better.
What really is Shiatsu?
Shiatsu is a form of Japanese therapeutic massage developed in Japan, which has spread worldwide. The 1915 Japanese book, Shiatsu Ryöhö written by Tenpaku Tamai is probably the first written reference to modern Shiatsu. However, Tokujiro Namikoshi’s (1905-2000) followers consider him to be the founder of Shiatsu.
Shiatsu regulates your nervous system and promotes natural healing by stimulating chemical responses within your body. The therapeutic effect comes from the fact that Shiatsu triggers the release of hormones and body chemicals necessary to heal, to soothe, and to make your mind and body perform optimally.
Shiatsu has been given official recognition by the EU Parliament also. It is one of eight non-conventional, complementary medicine disciplines mentioned in the Collins Report, which was adopted by the European Parliament in May 1997 (see references).
There are 838 basic shiatsu pressure points, called Atten in Japanese. These points can be found on the muscles, nerves, blood vessels, lymph vessels, bones, and endocrine glands. As the therapy progresses, the therapist senses the condition of the body, and applies suitable types of pressure. The basis rule is that, tighter the muscles are, the lighter the pressure. As the muscles relax, the pressure becomes deeper but it is always firm and steady. Knuckles, fists, elbows, and knees are never used during a Namikoshi Shiatsu Treatment as they lack the required sensitivity.
Is Shiatsu any different from massage?
To understand Shiatsu better, we could compare it to Western massage. Both are based on anatomy and physiology. However, there are differences in the philosophy and the technique used by the therapist. Shiatsu technique uses finger and palm pressure but no rubbing, while western massage uses a rubbing motion. No oil or lotion is ever used during a Shiatsu treatment, as there is no rubbing in Shiatsu.
The main difference between Namikoshi Shiatsu and other modern Western forms of bodywork, known as massage, is in the manner of applying pressure. In Shiatsu it is deep sensitive pressure, using hands, thumbs, and fingers. Western Massage, on the other hand, uses movements along the body surface also using herbs and oil as a lubricant.
Taking part in Shiatsu treatment is very easy for everybody. In Shiatsu taking off your clothes is not necessary. In traditional Western Massage, which is usually performed on bare skin with oils or lotions, you need to partially or fully disrobe.
The therapeutic benefits and ease of Shiatsu have made it so popular all over the world. Whether you are in Helsinki, Manila or Quebec; you can easily get Shiatsu treatment for yourself.
Enjoy your health!
o Tokujiro Namikoshi, Japanese Finger-Pressure Therapy Shiatsu. Japan Publishing – (1974)
o Tokujiro Namikoshi, SHIATSU; HEALTH AND VITALITY AT YOUR FINGERTIPS Japan Publishing – (1971)
o The Collins Report, Resolution on the Status of Non-Conventional Medicine, Strasbourg (disseminated by the European Parliament, May 1999).
About Shiatsupractor Francis Gamache
Francis Gamache is currently the only Shiatsupractor in the Nordic countries specializing in Namikoshi Shiatsu Therapy, the official style of Shiatsu of Japan.
Francis graduated in 2001 from the Canadian College of Shiatsu Therapy with 2200-hour Shiatsupractor training. He is a member of the Shiatsupractor Association of Canada.
Francis has been treating people with Shiatsu in Finland since 2001. Francis clients include entrepreneurs, CEOs, athletes, office workers and homemakers.
In addition to giving Shiatsu treatments at the clinic, Francis has held several Shiatsu and Self -Shiatsu workshops for organizations in Helsinki. He has also given Shiatsu treatments at popular events, such as Japani Päivä and Minä Olen.
Francis has been featured in various Finnish magazines including Kauneus ja Terveys, Voi Hyvin, Sport and Kaksplus.