Woman enjoying shiatsu massage

What is Shiatsu Massage? Benefits, Side-effects, and Techniques

- Cloud Massage Brand Team

Woman enjoying shiatsu massage at home

You have probably heard of a shiatsu massage, but do you know what it entails? Shiatsu massage therapy is an ancient treatment that was used in Japan and China to amplify the body for it to trigger self healing.

Even though the treatment is normally done by trained shiatsu professionals, there are machines that are also great for the job.

Shiatsu treatment is more than just healing the body. With different shiatsu massage products, you can incorporate shiatsu massage into your self care Sunday.

To help you understand more about this ancient healing therapy, we'll explore what shiatsu treatment entails, the techniques involved and its benefits.

What Is Shiatsu Massage?

Shiatsu massage can be traced back to ancient Japanese culture, but it originated from ancient Chinese medicine. The term shiatsu is a derivative of "Shi" which means finger, and "atsu" means pressure in Japanese. Shiatsu is often referred to as acupressure.

Practitioners use thumbs, fingers, elbows, and sometimes knees to press on joints and other body parts to relieve tension. Even though the procedure can work on the whole body, your therapist will focus on specific points.

Shiatsu massage can either be performed by a professional (the traditional way) or using a shiatsu massager right from the comfort of your home. 

How Does a Shiatsu Massager Work?

A shiatsu massager is a machine that uses rollers or nodes to apply pressure and knead on muscles and joints.

The machine replicates human touch and even generates heat for areas that need loosening. While some massagers use two nodes, others will have multiple rotating nodes. When in use, the nodes rotate up and down the spine to relieve tension and provide a soothing feeling.

The treatment will restore your balance, and depending on your goal, you may feel relaxed, calm, or sedative. You can enjoy a shiatsu massage with or without clothes on and the entire treatment can take up to 90 minutes.

A shiatsu massager allows you to experience a treatment similar to what you would be offered by a professional shiatsu therapist.

Shiatsu massager features

Types of Shiatsu Massagers

Shiatsu massagers provide an excellent way to improve vitality. It is alternative healing that ensures patients harmonize both the mind and the body.

  • Back and Neck Massagers: Back and neck massagers are specifically made to massage the back and neck, which are some areas that are difficult to reach.
  • Foot and Leg Massagers: Designed to target the feet, ankles, and calves Shiatsu foot massagers relieve tension in the lower body through deep kneading action.
  • Massage Chairs: Massage chairs provide a full body massage with different functions and options. The chairs are one of the most advanced types of massagers.
  • Seat Covers: Seat covers can be used anywhere even though they provide full body and neck massage. Seat covers have the same effect provided by massage chairs.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Shiatsu Massager?

Even though shiatsu massage is an ancient practice, it has recently gained popularity in the western world thanks to its immense benefits. With the invention of shiatsu massagers, everyone can now enjoy the immense benefits of the traditional healing practice.

The benefits of using a Shiatsu massager include:

1. Helps Relieve Muscle Pain

Many patients who seek shiatsu massage have some form of pain in their bodies. Shiatsu aims at elevate any stiffness, soreness and tension within the body. Studies show that shiatsu can help with chronic back pain.

After the procedure, there will be improved blood circulation and improved digestion.

2. Boost the Health of Your Skin

Since shiatsu focuses on specific points on your body, it can help your glands secrete more natural oil. In doing so, the natural oils will increase the smoothness of your skin and reduce wrinkles. In other words, the therapy helps remove toxins from the body.

3. Relieve Migraines

Migraine is a persistent headache that causes throbbing pain that lasts for hours. Many people get migraines from time to time and wonder how to get rid of them.

4. Improve Your Mood and Prevent Depression

Shiatsu is a good stress reliever. According to a 2015 study, the treatment helps in the secretion of more dopamine and serotonin in the body.

Dopamine hormones help in fighting anxiety and promoting a feeling of relaxation. On the other hand, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps improve your mood.

5. Reduce Constipation

Several people struggle with constipation or fecal impaction. Even though laxatives or stool softening medication can help, shiatsu is much better. Shiatsu massage stimulates circulation and improves digestion and bowel function.

6. Help Deal with Sleep Disorders

Shiatsu has been shown to help you fall asleep and improve the quality of your sleep patterns.

In one of the studies, people with chronic pain that struggled with sleep showed an improved sleeping pattern after shiatsu massage.

Shiatsu Massage Techniques

During a shiatsu massage treatment, the machine can apply any of the following techniques for a thorough treatment.

  • Kneading

Kneading is a technique that applies pressure to your deep tissues. It treats muscle tightness, reduces stress, and decreases pain in the body.

  • Soothing

During a soothing technique, the machine will target your superficial muscles to allow for good blood circulation. The treatment aims to ensure relaxation and promote a soothing feeling.

  • Stretching

During a stretching technique, the machines will aim at improving blood circulation. The machine focuses on releasing tension in the muscle area, enabling better blood circulation.

Is Shiatsu Massage Good for Cancer Patients?

Cancer patients can benefit from the shiatsu massage even though it is not a traditional means of managing cancer. Shiatsu aims to treat your physical and mental health, which is what most cancer patients struggle with.

Most benefits derived from shiatsu can greatly help a cancer patient cope with the side effects of the treatments, particularly chemotherapy.

If you are a cancer patient, shiatsu can help:

  • Elevate your general mood
  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce pain
  • Improve your appetite

Even though there has been various research on shiatsu, there is no scientific evidence to show that shiatsu can cure cancers.

Shiatsu Side Effects

Even though studies show that shiatsu is generally safe, some people can experience mild side effects a few minutes or hours after the treatment.

Common side effects you may experience after a shiatsu treatment include:

  • Muscle stiffness
  • Tiredness
  • Soreness
  • Headache

The good news is that the side effects will pass after some time. However, should the effects persist, reach out to your therapist or a medical professional for more guidance.

If you're considering professional shiatsu massage, your therapist should go through your medical history first to know whether you have any medical problems. Conditions like low platelet levels in the blood and weakened bones (osteoporosis) may need a more gentle touch. 

Other people who may be negatively impacted by shiatsu massage include patients with:

  • Broken bones
  • Rash
  • Open wound
  • Contagious illnesses like chicken pox
  • Burns
  • Leukemia
  • Uncontrolled diabetes

It's important to inform your therapist of any underlying medical conditions you may have or if you're undergoing treatment for any illness to help evaluate if shiatsu treatment is safe for you.

At-Home Shiatsu Massage Vs. Professional Massage

Using a shiatsu massager is as beneficial as getting a professional shiatsu massage. However, the machine provides convenience of having the treatment anywhere you'd like.

In addition, shiatsu massagers are relatively inexpensive as compared to the cost of paying for a session with a professional.

You can purchase your preferred shiatsu massager and continue with your massage sessions at home. For simpler, at-home massages, consider the shiatsu foot massager or a machine gun to relieve everyday body aches and pain.

Final Word

Shiatsu massage is a Japanese form of alternative treatment that has been around for a long time. The treatment aims at providing healing and wellness by focusing on releasing tension on the muscles.

Even though professionals perform the treatment, you can benefit from the treatments using at-home products. Visit our website to find more information and learn about our products.