What is Shiatsu? Shiatsu, literally means: Shi = 'finger,' Atsu = 'pressure.' By definition, Shiatsu translates into 'finger pressure.' Recognized by Japanese law in 1955, and in the text book, 'Theory and Practice of Shiatsu,'1 Shiatsu is defined as the use of fingers and the palm (especially the thumbs) of an individual's hands whereby pressure is applied to specific parts on the body's surface - purposefully for the correction of bodily imbalances. Shiatsu therapy is utilized for maintaining and promoting overall health.
Furthermore, the official definition of Shiatsu was published by the medical department of the Ministry of Welfare in 1957 as: "Shiatsu technique refers to the use of fingers and the palm of one's hands to apply pressure to particular sections on the surface of the body for hte purpose of correcting imbalances of the body, and for maintaining and promoting health. It is also a method contributing to the healing of specific illnesses."
Though there is only one type of Shiatsu, there are varying derivatives of its principle techniques. Shiatsu's beginnings can be traced back to ancient Japan where it was first introduced as 'Teate.' In Japanese, 'Teate' simply means 'hands-on.' Today, it also translates into 'treatment.' The founder of Shiatsu Therapy, Tokujiro Namikoshi was only seven years old in 1912 when he discovered valuable properties of hands on touch. He realized that by using his thumbs to press on his mother's ailing body, he was able to relieve stiffness and pain. Because of these findings, he developed a method of applying pressure that was dependent upon his mother's temperature and stiffness. Due to his determination to heal his mother through his innovative techniques, she was able to make a complete recovery from her rheumatism. 2 In 1940, Shiatsu made its profound entrance into the Japanese mainstream when Mr. Namikoshi established the Japan Shiatsu School.
In Shiatsu therapy, bare hands are utilized. The surface of the body is pressed - not rubbed, stroked or pulled. The goal of Shiatsu therapy is to maintain and enhance health and promote recovery of illnesses. By stimulating the immune system and natural healing abilities, Shiatsu therapy can treat the body as a whole and helps to restore physical functions of the nervous and circulatory systems, musculoskeletal structures and internal organs as well.
A safe and effective treatment, Shiatsu therapy, is in essence, a form of natural-healing.