Pressure-point massage, also known as shiatsu, is based on Japanese techniques. Shi means finger and atsu means pressure so shiatsu is literally the applying of pressure through touch. Shiatsu essentially involves healing through pressure applied by the fingers, hands, elbows, feet or knees. The body consists of meridians or energy lines through which your life force flows.
There are twelve main lines, with six being considered passive and six considered active. According to traditional Chinese medicine, your health and well being are dependent on the different energies of Ying and Yan being in balance.
If energy becomes blocked, this can lead to pain, discomfort and illness. These meridians have key 'trigger' points that are connected to your internal organs and other parts of your body. These points can be particularly found along your back. Applying pressure helps to stimulate these key points.
What are the benefits?
First practised by Tokujiro Namikoshi in the forties, this treatment is designed to work on your energy meridians. It was a development on the teachings of ancient Chinese acupuncture. The idea being that unblocking your energy flow promotes your own innate sense of balance and healing. It helps to put muscles, bones, and your nervous system back into harmony and the correct position.
Applying pressure can stimulate or calm both your body and mind. This greatly releases tension and lowers stress levels. It promotes better circulation of your blood by opening up blood vessels and allows toxins to be removed from your body.
It can reduce pain, particularly back and neck stiffness. It's particularly effective for athletes suffering from strained muscles. It's a therapy that treats you as a whole being including body, mind and soul.