Translated from Japanese, the word Shiatsu (she-’at-soo) means finger pressure. The Zen shiatsu we offer is like a massage version of acupuncture, without the needles. The oils and stroking movements of massage are replaced by gentle stretching and deep pressure covering both broad areas and specific points along defined lines or meridians. These movements promote free flow of Chi or energy. Our skilled therapists work with the body’s signals and adjusts a treatment accordingly. The treatment leaves one feeling profoundly relaxed, in “balance” and with less tightness and pain. We recommend you wear comfortable loose-fitting clothing and you will be lying on a futon on the floor (although a massage table is always an option).

To find out more about Shiatsu, visit the Shiatsu Therapy Association of B.C. Here

Where does Shiatsu come from?

It’s based on more than 3500 years of Asian medicine and knowledge. The Chinese type massage made its way to Japan and was developed there along with western medicine in this last century. Now it is practiced throughout the world. It focuses on the body’s physical, emotional and energy systems. The concept of balance derives from traditional oriental healing principles. The treatment attempts to balance opposing yin and yang qualities such as hot/cold and excess/deficient. While shiatsu embraces the oriental notion of mind+body as one, it also takes into account the more Western principles of anatomy, physiology and pathology. Simply stated, it’s a complementary blending of Eastern and Western approaches. Here is a link to the Shiatsu Therapy Association of B.C. to find out more.

The nice thing about shiatsu is that both the therapist and the receiver are in a relaxed state. I simply align my body to apply perpendicular pressure, using my own body weight. I can work with you on a massage table, but this is not as effective or as comfortable for my body. I am penetrating but not really pressing. It is a two way connection: as you feel the gentle pressure, you relax and support my weight.As I am going through the layers and feeling how you respond, I adjust my pressure accordingly. This is something that massaging chairs can’t do. I begin with broader palms and then work up to using more focused thumb pressure following the meridians and correcting imbalances. Sometimes I use my knees, elbows or even my feet to apply pressure.

Some extended health insurance covers shiatsu and professional associations representing shiatsu practitioners are constantly lobbying for more insurance companies to offer coverage. Some of my clients have received both registered massage therapy and registered shiatsu therapy and they find the deeper, more relaxing shiatsu treatments result in longer-lasting effects.

You will feel an awareness of your tightness and soreness as I work, but in the process you will feel releasing and easing of the pressure. It should always be a pleasant sensation and never continue in a way that makes you flinch or feel very uncomfortable in any way.

First it can help prevent problems. Regular shiatsu can keep you in balance so you don’t break down, injure yourself or get sick. However, many people who have developed conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, stress or exercise related muscle tension, headaches, emotional problems and respiratory or digestive problems experience significant benefits from shiatsu treatments.