Shiatsu, Japanese 'finger pressure' therapy, is a natural healing discipline springing from the same ancient oriental principles as acupuncture, but without needles. The practitioner uses acupressure and gentle stretching of the body to relieve tension, improve posture and bring the body into balance. 

Shiatsu allows the receiver to relax deeply and activates their own body's healing abilities. The treatment takes place lying on a mat or futon and the client wears loose comfortable clothing throughout the session. Treatment can be adapted to sitting position, for example in an office environment, or where there are mobility problems. Shiatsu treatment is tailored to the needs of the individual and is suitable for everyone from birth onwards. 

Shiatsu is used to treat a broad range of complaints including headache, backache, menstrual and digestive problems and stress related disorders. Clients may come for Shiatsu for relief of particular disease or discomfort, or they may receive treatment to maintain good health as part of a general healthy lifestyle.

Shiatsu for fertility

Oriental medicine has been lauded for its efficacy in promoting fertility. Using a mixture of verbal exchange and hand touch, Shiatsu aims to promote internal connection and flow through the meridian energy channels which, when balanced, can lead to conception (both natural and in vitro) and maintenance of pregnancy. Miscarriage happens for many reasons and can cause considerable upset and worry for the future. The individual approach of Shiatsu supports the fertility process at this time and, with sympathy and understanding, addresses possible causes. Shiatsu practitioners believe that it is the client who knows what is best for themselves, and their goal is to empower the individual through this time.

Shiatsu for babies

Shiatsu is a beautifully gentle way of working with infants. A full consultation will involve an information session with the parent, a Shiatsu diagnosis for the baby, and showing the parent how to carry out Shiatsu for this. The practitioner can treat the baby by working on the adult carer as she does not usually give Shiatsu directly to a very young child.

Symptoms and issues for which baby Shiatsu has been sought:

  •        Digestive
  •        Circulation
  •        Sleep
  •        General well-being (perhaps disturbed by a challenging birth)
  •        Teething
  •        Bonding

Shiatsu touch is a wonderful way of developing a loving relationship with your child.

Shiatsu for children and teenagers

Young children love to play, and Shiatsu sessions are full of that, as your practitioner devises ways to increase health through therapeutic games and interactive activities. These movements, involving Shiatsu touch, are taught to the parent or carer for use at home to get a long-term benefit for the child and to avoid repeated visits. There are certain situations in which the practitioner gives Shiatsu directly to the older child with permission. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Children have benefited from Shiatsu massage in a variety of situations:

  •        Headaches
  •        Asthma
  •        Eczema and other skin issues
  •        Repeated ear infections
  •        Difficulty in concentrating

Teenagers can be under a great deal of stress from school and exams, home and relationship difficulties, and the very act of growing up and developing so quickly. Shiatsu offers the chance for them to lie down, be listened and treated respectfully without words. Not having to remove clothes or try to explain feelings can be a relief for this age group. Skin complaints, migraine and weight issues are just some of the reasons Shiatsu is given.

Shiatsu shorter sessions, hands, feet, and seated

Half hour Shiatsu sessions are on offer at Napiers Edinburgh Clinic.

Hands only:

A diagnosis is made and then you will have a relaxing and pampering hand Shiatsu which can be used to treat the hands only, or the whole body. There are acupressure points on the hands that have been used for insomnia, mental anguish and stress for many centuries.

Feet only:

How often do you think about your feet? They carry you around all day and you squeeze them into shoes of all shapes and sizes. Why not give them a treat - you may feel the benefit throughout your whole system! The feet are involved in grounding and balancing, and acupressure points on the soles are believed to enliven and revitalise.

Seated Shiatsu:

The upper back, neck, shoulders, arms, hands and head are treated in these sitting sessions. Many work-place and familiar aches and pains are felt in the upper body and seated Shiatsu caters especially for these. A way of avoiding lying down and falling asleep if it s the middle of the day and you have to go back to work, seated Shiatsu involves stretches, acupressure points and quiet holding. The practitioner has many years of experience treating whiplash, frozen shoulder and arthritis.

These shorter sessions are ideal for busy people and great to fit in as a before-work, lunch-time or end-of-the-day treat. They can be given as a birthday, maternity or leaving gift voucher.

Table Shiatsu:

(10 minutes minimum treatment)

  • clothed or draped
  • no oil used
  • prone on table
  • good for re-energising

Shiatsu is Japanese for "finger pressure". Table shiatsu, an adaptation of the traditional technique, is performed on a massage table instead of on a futon on the floor. The practitioner uses their fingers, palms, knee, foot and elbow on specific points (acupressure or pressure points, or "tsubos") along the client's meridians (or energy pathways) to release blockages and allow free movement of "ki" or energy life force. Mild or firm pressure is used to create a mild injury which results in a healing response, in the same way as exercise tears muscles which results in repair and stronger growth.


Richard Blair

© Napiers Herbals Ltd 2014 • Edinburgh and Glasgow • Herbalists and Medical Botanists since 1860
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