Whether you're planning to get a massage or intend to pursue a career as a practitioner, it helps to understand the differences between some of the major massage therapy techniques used by professionals. One popular modality — an industry word for technique — is Shiatsu, a style of massage therapy developed in Japan. It was introduced to the country in the 6th century by a Buddhist monk, according to the Shiatsu Society. What is Shiatsu massage? The word literally translates to "finger pressure," which gives some insight into how practitioners use the technique.
How does Shiatsu work?
The practice of Shiatsu is based on the philosophies of traditional Chinese medicine, which views health problems and illness as the imbalance of the body's qi life force energy. During a Shiatsu session, the practitioner will use fingers, thumbs and palms to put pressure on specific points on the body, depending on a patient's needs.
According to the Shiatsu Society:
Today, Shiatsu has a number of different styles, philosophical approaches and theoretical bases and practitioners around the world are still evolving new approaches to treatment. Some concentrate on acupressure (acupuncture) points, while others [emphasize] more general work on the body or along the pathways of energy to influence the [qi] that flows in them.
Some of the different styles of Shiatsu include:
What are the benefits of the practice?
In addition to being a deeply relaxing experience, Shiatsu massage therapy helps treat a variety of health problems using a holistic approach. Some of the conditions the technique helps treat include:
- Poor posture
- Hoint problems
- Chronic neck and back pain
- Sleep Issues
- Blood pressure irregularities
The practice also helps boost the immune system, improving the body's ability to heal itself. It also stimulates the systems of the body — including the circulatory, lymphatic and hormonal systems. Many patients opt for Shiatsu because it's a natural approach to dealing with health problems, treating the patient's spiritual, mental and physical well-being simultaneously.
How do you learn Shiatsu (or any other type of massage)?
One of the best ways to learn how to practice massage therapy is to pursue a degree from an accredited school of massage therapy. Just like any institution of higher learning, massage schools have different focuses and specializations. Ideally you will receive a background in the many popular styles of massage therapy in the United States — including Shiatsu — but some colleges may have a specific focus. Some types of massage might include:
- Deep tissue
- Stone therapy
Some massage therapy schools also offer specializations, so be sure the schools you're applying to focus on the practice you want to learn. Another way for practicing therapists to learn different types of massage is through continuing education classes. Many professional massage therapists offer different types of massage through their practice, depending on clients' needs and preferences.
For more information on obtaining a degree in Massage Therapy from the Acupuncture & Massage College in Miami, contact the school's admissions department at (305) 595-9500.