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Shiatsu is a traditional hands-on Japanese healing therapy. It can help in a wide range of conditions from specific injuries to more general symptoms of poor health.

Shiatsu is a deeply relaxing experience and regular sessions can help to prevent the build up of stress and encourage a healthy immune system. The philosophy underlying Shiatsu is that vital energy (known as Ki in Japanese) flows throughout the body in a series of channels called meridians. For many different reasons Ki can stop flowing freely and this then produces symptoms.

A Shiatsu practitioner will consider the client’s state of health, the symptoms they are experiencing and general constitution. Then using a variety of techniques, the practitioner will aim to improve the energy flow of the client. These may include gentle holding, pressing with palms, thumbs, fingers, elbows, knees and feet on the meridians, and when appropriate more dynamic rotations and stretches.

It includes work on the same points as acupuncturists use. This is known as acupressure.

As the quality of the Ki changes, the symptoms associated with the lack of flow will gradually improve. Shiatsu is a therapy that works on the individual as a complete being - not just the physical body but also on an emotional and/or mental level.

What to expect in a session

Each session lasts approximately one hour. In the first session I will ask you questions about your health and lifestyle, to help develop a picture of your health according to the principles of oriental medicine. The session usually takes place on a padded mat or futon at floor level, although it is possible to receive Shiatsu sitting on a chair or a couch if the client is unable to lie down on the floor.

Unlike other forms of massage the client remains fully clothed throughout the treatment. Please bring or wear loose, warm, comfortable clothing, eg sweat shirt, tracksuit trousers and clean socks. It is best not to eat heavily in the two hours prior to treatment or drink alcohol before or after treatment.

After the session

Usually people have a feeling of increased vitality and feel more relaxed after the session.
I recommend that you drink some water to smooth the flow of changes through the system, and avoid strenuous or stressful activities. Occasionally there is a ‘healing reaction’ as the system rebalances itself. This will vary according to what has been worked on, but may include muscle aches, increased urination or bowel movements. These symptoms should clear after 24 hours.

  SHIATSU –what is it? An Article by Jude Pereles

I’d like to start this article about Shiatsu by saying what it is not, as I often get blank looks when people ask me what it is I do. Shiatsu is not a small dog – that’s a shihtzu, or a Japanese car. The better informed may know it’s a type of bodywork but it’s not really massage and it definitely isn’t reiki. So what is it?

Shiatsu has its origins in Japanese traditional bodywork and also draws heavily from Chinese traditional medicine both in its practice and theoretical base. Pressure is applied to acupressure points and the energy channels known as meridians. Stretches and mobilization techniques may also be used where appropriate. The aim is to enable energy to move freely which stimulates the body’s natural healing ability. It is a deeply relaxing experience and can benefit many common ailments. Unlike massage the client remains fully clothed and the session normally takes place on a futon mattress on the floor rather than a treatment couch.

Shiatsu is a holistic therapy, this means the body, mind and spirit of the person is affected because work on the meridians or energy channels resonate on all levels. In practice this means people experience it as deeply nurturing and satisfying to both give and receive. Energy in Japanese is known as Qi (Ki) or Chi in Chinese, but is an alien concept to many in our society, except when it involves medical scans or treatments such as MRI or ultrasound. Actually modern scientific medicine is the only system of medicine in the entire history of the world that does not have healing at a spiritual level as a central component. Traditional healers concern themselves with all aspects of the person, whereas in modern society the physical is treated by doctors and surgeons, the emotions and mind by psychiatrists and spiritual matters are the concern of the church.

Shiatsu can be beneficial to people of all ages from babies to the very elderly; it’s also possible to train to work with animals such as horses and dogs. In Europe it is increasingly being used in hospitals and other mainstream health care settings to help people manage chronic conditions and disabilities. In this culture we are happy to pay to maintain our cars or houses in good condition but rarely think about investing in our health. Regular Shiatsu sessions are an excellent way of doing this, as it can rebalance the person before their posture or life issues manifest in serious discomfort or disease. It is also highly effective for treating common symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness, and back and shoulder problems, as well as any stress related issues.

A variety of assessment tools are used to assess the appropriate treatment - each person is treated individually and holistically.

Training in Shiatsu is thorough; it takes at least 3 years to get a practitioner certificate, but is actually a life long process. Courses include western anatomy, physiology and pathology as well as the location and uses of around 120 acupressure points, traditional Chinese medicine theory, the location and function of 15 major energy channels and practical training in the sensitive use and function of stretches and passive assisted exercises. Practitioner self-healing is also strongly emphasized and a commitment to a healthy life style is essential for any holistic healer. There are also both Japanese and Chinese systems of healing through diet which may be included.

If you would like more information about Shiatsu have a look at the Shiatsu Society website – www.shiatsusociety.org or you can read about The Spiritual Origin of Shiatsu.



Acupuncture is one of the therapies of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is performed by inserting fine needles into locations in different areas of the body to stimulate healing energy “Qi” and can be used to treat a vast number of different conditions.

What to expect in a session

Acupuncture is a safe and globally recognized therapy with millions of people experiencing the benefits of treatment.

The needles are inserted painlessly into special points on the body and they are left in place for about twenty minutes. A session will usually take around forty minutes, though the first session can take up to an hour as the practitioner will take a detailed case history, including details of any Western medication.

It is good idea for the person having acupuncture to wear comfortable loose clothing as needles may be inserted on the arms, legs back or front of the body. It is also a good idea to eat something about an hour before treatment as acupuncture can lower blood sugar levels so eating will help to stop this. Great care is taken when inserting the needles so that treatment does not damage the structures beneath the skin.

All needles are sterile and are designed to be disposed of after a single application. The number of sessions a person may need will vary depending on what is being treated and the general health of the person coming for acupuncture.

After treatment a person should feel very relaxed and may want to take things easy for the rest of the day.