What is the difference between shiatsu and massage?
Shiatsu is the application of deep sensitive pressure using the thumbs, fingers and hands, and some therapists also apply techniques using their elbows, and knees. Many times shiatsu therapists will also apply several joint manipulating stretches and movements. Shiatsu treatment does not involve the use of oil as there are no rubbing or sliding-along-the-skin techniques, as found in massage. Shiatsu clients can wear loose comfortable clothing instead of disrobing during their treatment. Shiatsu can be performed to clients on a futon, on the floor, in a chair, or on a table. Shiatsu tables are lower to allow the therapist to apply her weight as opposed to relying on strength. Theoretically shiatsu is also a unique from massage as some approaches focus on treatment through the meridian energy system, others on a deep physiological understanding of specific points on the body.
What are the benefits of shiatsu?
The benefits of shiatsu therapy run far and wide. Because shiatsu effects the circulatory and nervous systems, it deeply effects the body’s immune response, circulation to limbs and organs will help promote health and mobility, relieve aches and pains, and help the organs work more effectively. Shiatsu also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which is the ‘rest and recovery’ mode of the nervouus system. This encourages the body’s own healing systems, and deep relaxation.
Is there any risk of injury?
A properly trainied shiatsu therapist should be applying appropriate pressure when performing a shiatsu treatment, as well as taking a thorough health history form to indicate any history of illness or injury. It is also important for the client to express any tendencies toward brusing easily, or pain or discomfort they may be feeling before and during treatment.
Can I receive Shiatsu whilst on medication?
Yes. Your shiatsu therapist should take an involved initial intake form where you indicate whether you are currently taking medication and take details of any medical conditions you are suffering from. If you are recieving ongoing treatments and your medications change, it is important to let your therapist know. If you have any questions or concerns it is always best to check with your doctor or pharmicist.
Can Shiatsu help with ongoing or incurable conditions?
Yes. Shiatsu can offer support and can often help to moderate or manage symptoms even if the problem will never really go away. An increased sense of well being due to Shiatsu may boost tolerance levels in the receiver, helping them to deal with the symptoms more easily.
Can I benefit from treatment even if I don’t have any problems?
Everyone can benefit from shiatsu. In its essence, shiatsu is improving circulation and nervous system function. Even if you feel great you can expect to have an improved sense of overall well-being, have more balanced energy, and sleep better. Also, the act of surrendering to touch is a very healing action. Many people spend so much time caring for others and do not take the time to be treated and nurtured. Many studies show the benefits of touch in healing the mind and body.
I’m pregnant, is it a good idea to receive treatments?
Absolutely!! Shiatsu is beneficial for normal symptoms of pregnancy, and can provide significan relief during a time when women may not be able to use conventional medicine. Some shiatsu therapists have specific advanced training in pregnancy care, and many shiatsu therapists treat pregnant women frequently.
Will I have to change my lifestyle?
First and foremost, your Shiatsu practitioner will respect your chosen lifestyle, however ‘un-oriental’ it is. Indeed, Shiatsu is particularly beneficial for people in the high-stress occupations associated with the mainstream of modern life. Your Shiatsu practitioner may discuss ways in which you could ‘fine-tune’ your life in order to get more out of it – for example a change in diet or more exercise – much as your own GP might.
Can I integrate shiatsu with conventional medicine?
Absolutely. We are always trying to have open and communicative relationships with MD and conventional medicine practitioners. Shiatsu does not have any adverse side effects on medications, although we always advise you contact your doctor if you have specific conditions or are on medication to make sure there are no contraindications. Shiatsu therapists also have a specific scope of practise and may ask their clients to visit their MD to have any kind of medical tests including bloodwork and x-rays.
Is shiatsu recognized or regulated by the government in any way?
In Ontario shiatsu therapy training is recognized under the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario which means that all current shiatsu training programs fall under the 2200 hour standard of massage therapy training. However shiatsu therapists are not recognized or regulated in Ontario. Shiatsu is recognized in Quebec under massage therapy, and has an official designation in BC. Currently shiatsu has been regulated in Japan and Australia, and is self regulated in the UK.
Are shiatsu therapists RMTs?
RMT is a designation reserved for practitioners with training based on Swedish massage, and regulated by the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) Although some shiatsu therapists have completed their RMT designation, many RMTs who state they practise shiatsu most often do not have proper shiatsu therapy training. It is always best to ask questions, such as ‘how long was your shiatsu training?’ ‘where did you study shiatsu?’
Is shiatsu covered by my Extended Health Care Plan?
Check with your insurance provider. Shiatsu may be covered by some extended health care plans.