Massage Therapy: Basic Rules When Practising Shiatsu

There are some basic rules that should be followed before the practice of Shiatsu.

Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes made of natural fibres. This will help with the flow of energy or Qi. The room should be warm, quiet,, have adequate space and be neat and clean. If not, this can have an adverse effect on the flow of Qi.

The person receiving the therapy should ideally lie on a futon (a quilted Japanese mattress) or a similar floor mat. Pillows or cushions may be used to make the person comfortable. Shiatsu should not be given or received by someone who has just eaten a large meal. Wait several hours before giving or receiving Shiatsu. No pressure should be exerted on varicose veins or injuries such as cuts or breaks in bones.

Although Shiatsu can be of benefit to women while pregnant, there are four areas that should be avoided and these are the stomach, any part of the legs from the knees downwards, the fleshy web of skin between the forefinger and thumb, and an area on the shoulders at each side of the neck.

Ensure that the person is calm and relaxed.

It is generally not advisable to practise Shiatsu on people who have serious illnesses, such as heart disorders, multiple sclerosis or cancer. An experienced practitioner may be able to help, but a detailed and accurate diagnosis and course of treatment is essential. A verbal check on the person’s overall health is important and also to ascertain, if a woman is pregnant.

Shiatsu After-effects

The immediate effect of treatments differs with each individual. A sense of well-being is common.

Because of the deep relaxation that usually occurs and the stimulus to the major body systems, you may have some healing reactions. Some people feel cold or flu-like symptoms, aches and pains, or headaches after the first treatment. These symptoms will only last for a day or so and usually, subside with each subsequent treatment. If these symptoms persist, please consult a qualified physician immediately. In general, any such effects you may experience are positive signs from your body telling you it is making an attempt to correct its own condition in a natural way. These are signs of elimination and the beginning of the healing process.

The following are some unpleasant side reactions some people get after a Shiatsu treatment and the causes of the same.

Coughing and Generation of Mucus or Symptoms of a Cold : The coughing and production of mucus is due to the body being encouraged to rid itself of its surplus foods (such as sugars and fats) in this form. A cold can sometimes develop when the mucus is produced, usually when the cells of the body are not healthy.

A Feeling of Tiredness : Tiredness can occur, frequently with a person who suffers from nervous tension. After therapy has removed this stress or tension, then the body’s need for sleep and rest becomes apparent.

A Headache or Other Pains and Aches : There are two main reasons for these, which should only last a short time. Shiatsu redresses the balance of Qi in the body. Thus, blockages in the flow of energy are released and the Qi can rush around the body, causing a temporary imbalance in one part and resulting in an ache or pain.

It is also possible that too much time or pressure may have been applied to a particular area. The amount needed varies considerably from one person to another. If the p,ain or headache persists after a few days, obtain qualified medical help.

Feeling Emotional : Emotional feelings can occur, while the energy is being stimulated to flow and balance is regained. The feelings may be connected with something from the past that has been suppressed and so, when these emotions resurface, it is best for them to be expressed in a way that is beneficial, such as crying.

Which Problems Can Shiatsu Help?

Shiatsu can be used to treat a variety of minor problems such as insomnia, headaches, anxiety, back pain, constipation, skin irritations, etc.

Shiatsu improves health generally by relieving stress, calming the nervous system .and stimulating the circulatory and immune systems.

It is particularly effective for stress-related tension and illnesses, insomnia, back pain, headaches and digestive upsets.

However, through its stimulation of the hormone system Shiatsu can also affect the diges tive and reproductive systems.

Apart from bringing relief to symptoms, Shiatsu gradually corrects long term postural and behavioural imbalances leading to improved body/ mind awareness and a general sense of well-being and peace of mind.

It is possible that one session of Shiatsu will be sufficient to remedy the problem by stimulating the flow of energy along the channels. This may be followed by recommendations for regular exercises and a possible change in diet and/or lifestyle.

Shiatsu invokes a general feeling of good health in the whole person, not just in the physical sense. There are many benefits for both the giver and the receiver of Shiatsu, both on a physical and spiritual level.

Is Shiatsu Safe?

Shiatsu given by a qualified therapist is safe for everyone and particularly beneficial for pregnant women. Some therapists also treat small children and the elderly.

The basic guidelines as to, when and where not to give or receive Shiatsu are similar to those of any treatment, which affects the flow of energy, blood and body fluids through the system. These would include times of high fever, especially when accompanied by local infection or inflammation or by infectious disease of any sort; cancer; heart disease; and areas where there may be cuts, bruises, scar tissue, injury or swelling.

However, since Shiatsu techniques vary from the very dynamic to the soft and gentle, it could still be possible to use the supportive quality of some of the holding techniques in most of these situations. In fact, Shiatsu has been used effectively to complement other approaches in the treatment of various forms of cancer, heart disease, HIV + and AIDS.

Use caution and common sense in determining the suitability of a particular Shiatsu treatment. For example, don’t try any of the more dynamic movements on old, frail or weak-boned people.

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