What is Shiatsu?

Shiatsu is a Japanese hands-on non-invasive complementary therapy.  It is unique in that it is usually carried out fully clothed.  Shiatsu means finger (Shi) pressure (atsu).  A Shiatsu practitioner will use gentle finger and palm pressure, stretches, and rotations on the meridians/channels of the body.

The role of the Shiatsu practitioner is to help activate the natural healing and recuperative powers of the client. Regular treatments are important when there is a chronic condition, but Shiatsu is most effective when used preventively. The cumulative effect of treatments helps to strengthen the immune system, tonify organs, and keep the body’s energy and blood flowing smoothly.

Qi (energy) flows through the body in channels called ‘meridians’.  Qi flows freely in healthy people but if Qi becomes blocked or stagnant then illness, aches and pains can occur.

SCIENCE FINALLY PROVES MERIDIANS EXIST – “When the flow of energy is blocked, it causes low energy and illness.”
www.upliftconnect.com. Read the full article here.


A Shiatsu practitioner will use gentle finger and palm pressure, stretches, and rotations on the meridians/channels of the body to ensure the flow of energy throughout the body.

Shiatsu is not a replacement for western medicine but can be complementary to it, hence ‘complementary therapy’.  If you have a health problem and visit a doctor you will often be referred to specialists who will undertake an in-depth investigation into your problem area.   In Chinese Medicine a practitioner will look at the whole person, and this will include diet, lifestyle, emotional state, stress factors, and their environment. Western medicine does not tend to focus on the cause of the disease whereas Chinese Medicine tends to treat the whole person.

“This fragmented approach is reinforced by the nature of research in western medicine. Controlled trials are set up which measure the impact of a certain drug on one variable…  The impact of the drug on the whole person is deliberately excluded from the trials. No attempt is made to address the other factors.. such as liver malfunction, digestive problems, blood disorders, immune disorders, endocrine disorders or emotional factors. The very nature of western medicine is not to treat the whole disease, but treats only the most obvious and easily measureable aspect of the disease…”

“We can compare meridians to a map of the London underground train system. Each of the 12 meridians could be thought of as a certain line: the lungs could be the Piccadilly line, and the kidneys could be the Northern Line, for example.  The lines all connect up at various points, so one can travel seamlessly anywhere on the system.  However, if there are engineering works causing a delay somewhere, problems will be caused throughout the system.   Again, we can see the interconnectedness of Chinese medicine: a problem in one area will soon spread to others, and eventually the whole system will grind to a halt.  When the transport system breaks down, substances are not moved around properly, so blockages and deficiencies will arise.”

Traditional Chinese Medicine Approaches to Cancer. Harmony in the Face of the Tiger. Henry McGrath. ISBN: 978-1-84819-013-9. Singing Dragon.  Henry is a Shiatsu practitioner, author, and works at the Penny Brohn Cancer Centre.

Shiatsu practitioner Shane Spencer from Sheffield giving Shiatsu on the back. www.shiatsushane.co.uk