Shiatsu is a unique method of massage therapy that combines western therapies into ancient Chinese medicine practice. The basis of the technique is using finger pressure — the actual translation of the Japanese word Shiatsu — to manipulate the body and encourage healing. There are many benefits to giving and receiving Shiatsu massage.
In order to become an expert in this technique, which is good for treating a variety of conditions, you'll need to complete a program to earn Shiatsu massage certification. Some massage therapy schools offer opportunities to study Shiatsu and practice the technique in a clinical setting. Find out what Shiatsu training entails.
Points and palpation
Essential to the Shiatsu massage training is learning how to identify acupressure points, also called acupoints. Students of the discipline will learn how to visualize and feel the flow of the life force energy qi through channels in the body called meridians. There are 20 major points and 12 common channels.
Another important component of Shiatsu training is learning palpation, an important tool in the massage therapist's toolbox. The word palpation comes from the Latin word "palpare," which means to touch. The American Massage Therapy Association says:
"Muscular palpation has two major objectives. The first is to locate the target muscle that is being palpated. Once it has been located, the second objective is to assess its health by feeling for its tone and texture: Is it tight or loose? Are there trigger points located within it? Is it inflamed or tender to touch? Are fascial adhesions present?"
As part of palpation training, students learn correct body movement and proper hand/thumb technique.
Qi Kung and yoga
Students of Shiatsu also learn about qi kung, a form of ancient Chinese healing that helps circulate qi via breathing and meditation techniques, as well as gentle movement. Shiatsu training will learn how to demonstrate and explain a course of qi kung and yoga exercises focusing on different postures for different areas of the body.
Areas of the body that classes may focus on include the back and upper extremity or back and lower extremity.
Other areas of Shiatsu training
Some other concepts that may be covered in Shiatsu certification courses:
- The Hoshino system
- Ying and yang
- Five element theory
- Essential substances
- Organ function in traditional Chinese medicine
- Chair massage
- Techniques for interviewing patients
- Taking notes
After taking Shiatsu training courses, students should be able to understand the essential concepts underlying Oriental Medicine and perform a comprehensive patient intake interview.
Acupuncture and Massage College offers a Shiatsu certification as part of its massage therapy program. Call (305) 595-9500 for details.