Origins of the Eastern Ancient Art of Shiatsu Massage

Couple receiving a massage

Shiatsu is a popular type of massage around the world. It focuses on pressure points that are believed to be linked to energy pathways and organs throughout the body. It aims to reduce muscle tension and reinvigorate the circulatory system.

Rooted in ancient Chinese and Japanese traditions, Shiatsu massage contributes to wellness and relaxation. The Zen Shiatsu and Namikoshi systems are two techniques from the traditional shiatsu service. Before you get a relaxing massage in Manhattan, New York, it pays to know more about the Shiatsu technique.

Ancient Origins

Shiatsu massage evolved out of an ancient form of Japanese practice called Anma and the famous Chinese therapy, acupuncture. Anma involves rubbing, tapping, and applying pressure to different parts of the body, influencing and stimulating lymphatic flow and muscular systems.

In the beginning of the 20th century, Temai Tempaku introduced the Shiatsu massage to the public. The Japanese government has since recognized it as a form of medical therapy. Today, many schools and spas around the world specialize in Shiatsu massage and its derivatives.

Shi and Ki

In Japanese, “shi” refers to finger and “atsu” corresponds to pressure; hence, the technique involves gentle body manipulation, assisted stretching, and of course, pressure application. Ki in Japanese culture represents the essence of life and nourishment of the mind, spirit, and body. The Shiatsu practice strives to relax the body and mind by focusing on various pressure points.

Five Elements

The five elements in ancient Chinese scripts (fire, metal, water, wood, and earth) represent energy forces within the body. This belief was introduced to the Japanese in the sixth century and influenced the practice and development of Shiatsu massage. Traditional and historical applications focus on these elemental balances and states of energy.

The benefits of Shiatsu massage may include strengthening the body’s resistance to disease, pain relief, and stress release. More than an Eastern art, it offers a deep type of relaxation that stimulates and encourages the body to heal.