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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)


What can I expect in a shiatsu session?

Before the treatment a consultation will be taken whereby you will be asked general questions about your health.  These will include queries about your diet, level of exercise and your responses to certain conditions as well as the usual brief medical history, dietary details and whether you are taking medication.

The session itself normally takes place at floor level on a comfortable futon - for home visits, it is possible to use duvets and cushions for necessary support and comfort. For the next 50 minutes all you have to do is relax. The shiatsu practitioner makes a diagnosis as a result of the brief chat at the start of the session, observation, and palpation of the area located beneath the ribs and above the hips. Two meridians are chosen, one “empty” (kyo), the other “full” (jitsu) that also resonate together.

These are treated using gentle thumb, finger, elbow or even knee pressure. Sometimes where the flow may seem static or very weak, deep thumb pressure is applied; other areas where there is build up of "qi" (pronounced "ki", meaning energy), shaking chopping or rubbing is used. The practitioner will gently manipulate and ease joints before moving onto treating specific meridians and acupoints*. To access these you may be treated lying in side position, on your back, front, or a combination of the three. Joints are also gently pulled and stretched to release stuck qi.

Throughout the treatment the therapist is “listening” to the movement of energy, sensing it through her fingers and the responses within her own body. The practitioner is there to facilitate change and movement at the emotional, mental and spiritual level as well as physical level.

* Acupoints: according to traditional Chinese method theory, qi is the main energy flow that runs through our body. Whenever the flow of qi is altered or gets blocked, the body will experience aches or pains. The qi flow is mainly within twelve meridians and these acupuncture points are located on the lines of the meridian. Acupuncture points are the points at which the qi rises to the surface of the body. These points are specific points mapped out on the body which, if stimulated, have an influence on the internal organs they are correlated with. Originally, acupoints were stimulated using the pressure of fingers as is done in shiatsu treatments but have evolved into the use of needles in the practice of acupuncture. There are several hundred acupoints throughout the body some of which are more important than others.

What does it feel like during a session?

This usually creates a feeling of well being and relaxation almost like being cocooned in warmth.  The touch, or pressure used is usually pleasurable and comforting. Sometimes it is necessary to work more deeply and this can be uncomfortable, but this is usually only a small part of the overall treatment.

For what conditions is shiatsu particularly good for?

In particular, it can help with pain management in general and alleviating pain. It can also help the body heal from sports injuries. Shiatsu massage therapy seeks to help a patient in a holistic way and tries to improve overall health.

Shiatsu can be beneficial for all kinds of health problems, including those brought about by a stressful life-style, illness and trauma. For example…

    •    neck & back pain
    •    joint pain & reduced mobility
    •    menstrual & menopausal problems
    •    migraines & headaches in general
    •    digestive problems
    •    fatigue & insomnia
    •    M.E.

Are there any times when shiatsu should be avoided?

Shiatsu is a very safe therapy, but it should be avoided if you:

    •    have an infectious disease
    •    are suffering from any acute, feverish illness
    •    have internal bleeding or blood clots
    •    have had a major operation during the last 3 months

You should inform your practitioner of any condition that has been diagnosed by a doctor.

How many sessions will I need?

This is of course your decision. Regular sessions help to re-educate the body. Clients move from an unconscious holding of stress in certain areas to a relaxed awareness of the body and a feeling of reconnecting with themselves. This sense of re-integration is the source of real health and well-being. Regular sessions also help maintain the immune system.

If you have a specific problem it is recommended that you consider booking three sessions that are spaced together so that any changes can be monitored and built upon. In this way, you are also taking responsibility for your health and choosing to make it your focus. Your body will welcome the attention!

What clothing should I wear?

You remain fully clothed throughout. You should wear loose fitting clothing, preferably with long sleeves. It is good to have a sweat-shirt or similar, for warmth, and not to rely on a tee-shirt (body-temperature often drops a little during the treatment). Avoid wearing a skirt or jeans, and wear, or bring a clean pair of socks. Leave some time between eating and having a Shiatsu treatment.

How will I feel after a treatment?

Very occasionally you might feel uncomfortable after your Shiatsu. This is part of the natural healing process and should clear within 24 hours.

Observe how differently you feel. The sensation may be physical (reduction in pain, relaxed), emotional (calmer, more confident), mental (less confused, more aware), or spiritual (happy, open, trusting). Whatever it is, just observe and consciously take note. It is important to register such changes and assimilate them so they become naturally expressed within your body and your everyday awareness. This is all part of taking care of yourself.

What if I am on medication?

Shiatsu will not interfere with your medication. It will often complement conventional medical treatment by giving an overall strengthening effect and improving the circulation of blood and lymph and reducing stress. If you are receiving medical treatment for a particular condition, then it may be advisable to inform or consult your GP prior to having a shiatsu treatment.

Can I have shiatsu if I am having any other complementary or alternative therapy?

Yes, although it is generally best to leave at least a few days between different treatments to let the effects settle-in. If you have any concerns about mixing treatments, please discuss them with your shiatsu practitioner.

Nadia Reid | Shiatsu and Reflexology | nadia@shiatsuandreflexology.co.uk