Shi’atsu’ (means finger pressure) therapy originated in Japan in the 19 century. With roots in Chinese medicine and sometimes described as “acupuncture without needles”, Shiatsu is recognized as an excellent therapy for sports injuries.
Shiatsu has been part of the health care system in Japan since the early 1900’s. In the 60’s and 70’s, a global revival in Asian philosophy and healing arts helped spread Shiatsu to Europe and North America where it has become recognised form of massage and body work.
So what makes Shiatsu therapy so unique?
It is a true holistic therapy that combines the Western perspective of muscles and fascia with the Eastern philosophy of energy and channels. A Shiatsu therapist’s goal is to address the root of the problem affecting not only the muscles, fascia and blood flow, but the health and productivity of one’s organs. A good Shiatsu therapist will assess the body on multiple levels; physical, energetically, emotionally, psychologically, as well as diet and lifestyle. Bringing the body back into equilibrium is necessary for optimal performance.
So what is a Shiatsu treatment like?
Shiatsu therapy, unlike other body work does not use oils or lotions. The person is fully clothed lying on a special futon-like mat, or though it can be carried out using a massage table/plinth, and the therapist applies vertical pressure on acupoints and channels to stimulate blood flow and movement of Qi (energy). Although the pressure is given with thumbs, palms, forearm, elbows, even knees, the treatment can be very relaxing. Shiatsu incorporates many techniques like; stretches, joint mobilization and passive resistance techniques, making it an effective treatment for a wide array of injuries and illnesses.
How Shiatsu can help with sports injuries
Today, professional athletes, coaches, yoga teachers, personal fitness instructors, bodybuilders, dancers and martial arts trainers are using Shiatsu to treat acute and chronic conditions
During the London Olympics, the Japanese team used Shiatsu and acupuncture to help them win an impressive 19 medals. Minoru Yajima, medical advisor and physiotherapist for Japan’s Triathlon team said “If an athlete feels pain, we use acupuncture as first aid. Most of team Japan’s medal winning medical strategy is preventative and based on a time-tested Japanese tradition – Shiatsu therapy.”