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Shiatsu Massage Therapy


What is Shiatsu Massage Therapy?

A form of traditional Japanese therapeutic massage that has found worldwide popularity, Shiatsu means “finger pressure” and describes the rhythmic, systematic application of perpendicular pressure on various points on the body. Typically thumb, finger and hand pressure are used, with the occasional application of elbow or knee pressure on those with more robust physiques – all in a manner that is highly tailored to suit individual tolerance. This pressure has a damping or downregulating effect on the nervous system, inducing a deep relaxation response which may help to relieve tension and alleviate painful conditions.

Shiatsu can be administered using a massage table, or via traditional means, with the patient lying on a cotton mat. No special equipment is required, and the patient remains fully clothed during their session. Loose, comfortable clothing is recommended during the treatment – avoid wearing heavy fabrics such as denim.

A typical treatment will cover the full body: neck, base of the skull, arms, shoulders, and shoulder blades, back, hips and legs. Auxiliary techniques may be applied to the abdomen and face as needed.

Does Shiatsu hurt? What can I expect afterward?

While most of the pressure applied during a treatment is well within the range of individual tolerance, occasionally a patient might experience a moderate degree of physical discomfort, as patterns of held tension begin to be released. Most often, this discomfort increasingly subsides with each pass on a particular area.

Generally, after a Shiatsu session, patients report feeling relaxed – that’s typically the main goal. Occasionally, patients might feel a bit fatigued or spaced-out – this is often a byproduct of reduced tension, and these effects tend to subside within 24 hours. Typically, the benefits from a Shiatsu massage may be felt anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks post-treatment.

History of Shiatsu:

Shiatsu has its roots in Anma, a 1000+ year-old form of massage originating from China and popularized in Japan. It began to see widespread use in the early 1900s, by the 1940s was taught within a framework of western medical science, and in the mid-1960s was recognized by the Japanese government as a distinct form of therapeutic massage. From there, Shiatsu made its way to the west, and is now practiced worldwide.

What is Shiatsu used for?

Some conditions that often respond favorably to Shiatsu therapy include:
low back pain
neck and shoulder pain
hip pain
digestive issues
insomnia/poor sleep patterns
delayed onset of labour in pregnancy
Wellness Institute
954 Royal York Rd
Toronto, Ontario M8X 2E5
Clinic Hours:
Monday to Friday: 9:30 AM to 8:00 PM
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