What Is a Shiatsu Massage? How Does it Benefit You?

What Is a Shiatsu Massage? How Does it Benefit You?

Shiatsu massage is a Japanese bodywork technique that draws upon the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, specifically the utilization of qi meridians. By applying acupressure, Shiatsu massage aims to alleviate tension and enhance the body's innate capacity to restore balance and promote healing. This approach encompasses the entire individual, addressing not just the physical body but also the emotional, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of one's well-being.

Shiatsu Massage Prices

Shiatsu Massage Prices in London & the UK

Treatment Duration Price (£)
Shiatsu Massage - London 30 minutes £50
60 minutes £80
90 minutes £110
Shiatsu Massage - UK (Medium Price) 30 minutes £45
60 minutes £70
90 minutes £95

Prices updated on 29 March 2024.

History Of Shiatsu Massage

The history of Shiatsu Massage can be traced back to its roots in traditional Chinese medicine, where it held a significant place alongside herbalism and acupuncture for centuries. It was during the 6th century that a Buddhist monk introduced these healing practices to Japan. Over time, the Japanese adapted and refined the techniques to align with their own unique temperament, climate, and physiology.

They developed manual healing methods and diagnostic arts, incorporating specialized techniques for abdominal treatment, diagnosis, and massage that form the basis of modern-day Shiatsu practice.

As years passed, the practice of massage became somewhat detached from its medicinal origins and became more associated with pleasure and relaxation. Nevertheless, certain practitioners remained committed to preserving massage as an esteemed healing art along with its associated techniques.

In the early 20th century, one such practitioner named Tamai Tempaku sought to bridge the gap between traditional practices and the evolving sciences of physiology and anatomy. Drawing inspiration from disciplines like chiropractic and physiotherapy, Tempaku integrated these Western scientific principles with established treatment methods.

Initially referred to as "shiatsu ryoho" or finger pressure healing, it eventually became known as "shiatsu ho" or the finger pressure method. Today, it is simply recognized as Shiatsu.

In 1964, Shiatsu received official recognition from the Japanese Government as a distinct therapeutic practice, setting it apart from Western massage and traditional Chinese massage. This recognition further solidified Shiatsu's status as a recognized therapy with its own unique approach and principles.

Definition Of Shiatsu Massage

In December 1957, the Japanese medical department of the Ministry of Welfare (now known as the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare) provided an official definition of the Shiatsu technique. According to this definition:

"Shiatsu massage technique refers to the use of fingers and palm of one's hand to apply pressure to particular sections on the surface of the body. Its purpose is to correct imbalances within the body, as well as to maintain and promote overall health. Additionally, it is considered a method that contributes to the healing of specific illnesses."

This definition highlights the core principles of Shiatsu, emphasizing the use of finger and palm pressure to address imbalances in the body and support well-being. It acknowledges the therapeutic nature of Shiatsu, recognizing its potential to aid in the healing process of specific health conditions.

By officially defining Shiatsu in this manner, the Japanese medical department established its recognition as a distinct therapeutic technique with significant health benefits.

performing a massage

Benefits Of Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu massage offers various benefits that contribute to overall well-being and address specific conditions. Here are some key points regarding its therapeutic effects:

  • ⭐ Relieves constipation: Shiatsu massage applied to the abdominal area can help alleviate constipation. The pulling and stretching motions used during the massage loosen the muscles, relax the colon and intestines, and promote better bowel movement.
  • ⭐ Releases muscle tension: Through a combination of pulling, rubbing, and pressure on acupressure points, Shiatsu massage effectively reduces muscle spasms and tension. By targeting these areas, the massage helps eliminate muscle aches and promotes relaxation.
  • ⭐ Reduces anxiety and stress: Shiatsu is a non-invasive therapy that aids in reducing anxiety, tension, depression, and overall stress levels. By providing a calming and relaxing experience, it helps restore a sense of peace and tranquillity.
  • ⭐ Helps alleviate migraines: Migraines often stem from the constriction and dilation of blood vessels in the head or brain, causing pain and discomfort. Shiatsu massage can assist in relieving migraines by relaxing the body, improving blood circulation, and promoting better blood flow throughout the entire body.
  • ⭐ Combats weakness and fatigue: Shiatsu massage restores and maintains the body's energy levels, making it beneficial for those experiencing weakness and fatigue. By stimulating circulation in the capillaries of soft tissues, it rejuvenates the skin, enhances the secretion of sebaceous glands, and promotes a smoother, more resilient complexion.
  • ⭐ Supports arthritis management: Rheumatoid arthritis, characterized by chronic inflammation of joint linings, can be alleviated with targeted pressure applied to affected areas, such as the feet or hands. Shiatsu massage helps improve flexibility, enhances circulation, provides necessary nutrients to muscles, and reduces muscular pain associated with arthritis.

Overall, Shiatsu massage offers a holistic approach to well-being, addressing physical discomfort, promoting relaxation, and improving overall body function. Its therapeutic benefits extend beyond mere relaxation, making it a valuable form of therapy for various conditions and promoting a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.

Profound Effects for Mental & Physical Well Being

The essence of Shiatsu treatment lies in the dialogue between the practitioner and the energies within your body. Throughout the session, the therapist will skilfully move around you, adopting various positions such as kneeling or standing.

They will utilize their own body weight and inner energy, known as ki, while applying different levels of pressure using their fingers, thumbs, palms, elbows, and even feet. This dynamic approach aims to rebalance excessive or deficient energy within the body.

It is recommended to wear loose and comfortable clothing during a Shiatsu session. The treatment may take place on a mat or futon on the floor, or on a treatment table. Some practitioners may inquire about your medical history, while others will rely on their own observations and the sensations they feel when they make contact with your body. The belief is that your body has its own unique story to tell through its responses.


Shiatsu massage employs a wide array of expert techniques to restore balance to the body's meridian energies. These techniques include stretching, squeezing, rocking, and applying pressure with hands, knees, elbows, and even walking on the soles of the feet.

During a Shiatsu session, which typically lasts from 30 to 90 minutes, you may experience a range of sensations and emotions. It's not uncommon for clients to experience a release of blocked energy, leading to feelings of joy, serenity, stillness, or even tears or laughter.

After a Shiatsu session, clients often report a profound sense of physical and mental well-being. Many feel that their body is freer and more relaxed, with increased energy levels. A greater sense of tranquillity pervades their being. Some clients feel invigorated and inspired to take action, while others may feel a deep need for rest and rejuvenation, often leading to a restful sleep.

Overall, the transformative effects of Shiatsu massage extend beyond the physical realm, creating a harmonious balance of mind, body, and spirit. By releasing blocked energy and promoting a sense of deep relaxation, Shiatsu leaves clients feeling revitalized and recharged, ready to embrace life with renewed vigour and clarity.

Looking for A Shiatsu Massage Near You Now?

If you are seeking a professional Shiatsu massage practitioner in London or the UK, Massages Me UK provides a comprehensive list of independent massage providers and massage venues.

Whether you're in need of a rejuvenating Shiatsu experience or exploring other massage therapies, Massages Me UK can assist you in finding the right practitioner to meet your specific needs.

Author – Martha Anderson - creative writer, blogger, and expert in massage therapy, holistic wellness, nutrition, and personal training. With a passion for helping individuals achieve optimal health and well-being. Holding advanced degrees in Sports Science and Nutrition, commitment to evidence-based practices and understanding of the intricate connections between physical health and mental wellness.

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