Zen Shiatsu

Shiatsu is a unique Japanese style of body therapy which treats the same meridian system of the body used in acupuncture. It is used to relieve stress, fatigue and muscle tension.

Shiatsu brings the body into balance by moving Ki (energy) in the meridians. The practitioner moves Ki from areas where there is too much to areas where there is not enough. When someone has tight shoulders and a weak lower back, for example, there is too much Ki in the upper back and not enough in the lower back. Another example would be headaches and cold feet. Shiatsu can address these energy imbalances through the gentle application of pressure to the acupuncture meridians.

Unlike other massage styles where practitioners use their strength to work on the body, Shiatsu is much gentler. It focuses on moving the receiver`s Ki at a deeper level. During the session the shiatsu practitioner quietly concentrates on transferring energy and balancing the body. The receiver experiences a gentle touch and a sensation of warmth. This is deeply relaxing.

What happens in a session?

Shiatsu means ‘finger pressure` in Japanese but during a session practitioners may use fingers, palms, elbows and even their feet to apply pressure to various parts of the body. Shiatsu is given on a futon on the floor, which allows practitioners to use their body weight to apply pressure instead of using their strength. Just as in meditation or martial arts, practitioners concentrate on their hara and breathing to focus their energy during the treatment.

Shiatsu is given through clothing. There is no need to undress but it is better to wear loose clothes. A treatment is usually 45 minutes to an hour long, starting on your back and moving on to the front of the body. By the end of a session you will feel very relaxed, even sleepy.

What does it feel like?

To people who are used to massage, Shiatsu is a completely different experience. Since it requires focus and concentration to move the Ki there is little exchange of words during the treatment. The techniques are slow and gentle; so gentle some people might feel nothing is happening. This is certainly not the case. As Shiatsu works on a deeper level than massage, it usually produces stronger and more long-lasting effects.

Usually after a session you will feel very relaxed. Sometimes you may feel tired. This will not last long and a good sleep after Shiatsu is very therapeutic. After this you may experience a lift in energy and a prolonged feeling of relaxation and well-being.

Benefits of Shiatsu

Shiatsu works on the whole body and mind. It has a number of general beneficial effects.

  • Restores and rebalances the energy levels of the body
  • Calms, grounds and relaxes the mind and body
  • Clears toxins
  • Improves immunity
  • Relieves stiffness and tension,
  • Improves posture

More specifically, Shiatsu can be used to relieve and prevent specific conditions. Below are some conditions that respond to regular treatment with Shiatsu.


  • Stress and anxiety
  • Fatigue and insomnia
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Neck and shoulder tension
  • Backache
  • Joint pain and reduced mobility
  • Digestive problems
  • Menstrual problems