Frequently Asked Questions

What is Shiatsu and Why would I want to have Shiatsu?

Shiatsu is a Japanese "hands on" healing art based on traditional oriental healing principles and modern anatomy and physiology theory. Literally translated as "finger pressure", Shiatsu consists of simple manipulations and pressure applied to acupuncture meridians and points. Hence, it has been called "acupuncture without needles".

Shiatsu aims to regulate the energy known as "ki" or "chi", which flows through these meridians, nourishing the organs, muscles, glands, nerves and blood. 

An imbalance in this energy network can lead to fatigue, pain and illness.   It works with the whole person, rather than focusing simply on conditions. People of all ages, from infants to the elderly, ill or healthy, can potentially benefit from treatments. 

Many people use it for stress management or as a preventative health care programme as it is useful in enhancing health and vitality.

People come to shiatsu for all kinds of reasons, ailments ranging from:

  • acute to the more chronic,
  • pain & mobility issues,
  • issues that range from more physical to the more emotional concerns.  

They may come with more physical problems such as bad necks, backs or poor posture, mobility issues, as well as conditions like menstrual difficulties, skin disorders, digestive problems and migraines or with more psychological issues such as depression or stress. 

Shiatsu can also be helpful to balance your body during times of major change, like adolescence, infertility, pregnancy, menopause and also adjusting to life changes and later life.

It is important to note that Shiatsu is seen as an addition to orthodox medicine. Shiatsu works to support your body, and can work alongside other approaches, whether they are more physically based or emotionally based.


How can Shiatsu benefit you?

  • relieves stress and tension
  • improves digestion
  • promotes menstrual regularity and comfort
  • relieves headaches
  • relieves back pain
  • strengthens immune system
  • improves energy level
  • relieves post-traumatic stress
  • promotes healthy pregnancy

Shiatsu is calming and relaxing in nature, yet dynamic in effect; the body begins to re-adjust itself and healing takes place. The receiver is supported to become more aware of their body/mind as an integrated whole, on either a conscious or subconscious level. They become aware of areas of tension or weakness on either a physical or emotional level and through this process healing occurs.


Benefits of Shiatsu


  • Invigorates skin
  • Maintains skin elasticity
  • Improves functioning of both sweat and oil producing sebaceous glands
  • Increases blood circulation to the skin


  • Loosen tight muscles
  • Improves nourishment of muscles by improving blood circulation in muscles
  • Removes waste material build-up that has lodged in muscle tissue
  • By "pressing " away tension, muscles regain their natural suppleness

Skeletal System

  • Tension in muscles can actually pull on their attachments to the vertebrae, causing misalignments; by relaxing the pull of tonus of muscles along the spine, minor adjustments can spontaneously occur 
  • Stretches and movement of joints help to lubricate the joint capsule with synovial fluid

Nervous System 

  • Sedates the "fight and flight" response, and simulates the "rest and digest" response 
  • Pressure applied alongside the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae is a key area to subdue the sympathetic neural firing
  • Pressure to the cranium and sacrum is key in stimulating the parasympathetic nerves 
  • Through cutaneo-visceral reflex arc; shiatsu pressure applied on the surface of the body stimulates the internal organ


  • Cellular metabolism, nutrients from food, and oxygen from the air need to be delivered to all cells of the body 
  • Shiatsu improves circulation of blood 
  • Improves digestion and absorption of food
  • The endocrine system controls metabolism by way of the thyroid gland; shiatsu pressure applied to areas of the neck help regulate hormonal secretions from the thyroid gland 
  • Working on the abdomen, on the liver and pancreas reflex areas; shiatsu improves the functioning of these organs, both vitally important for cellular metabolism


  • Stress has an inhibiting effect on the immune system
  • Shiatsu reduces the effects of stress on the body and mind which increases immunity
  • Improves lymph circulation
  • Digestion
  • Shiatsu pressure directly on the abdomen brings blood to the stomach and intestines, which enhances nourishment of these organs
  • Supplies an adequate blood supply for digestion of food and absorption of nutrients


  • Insufficient functioning of the walls of the lymph vessels leads to edema; by working on the whole body, shiatsu affects circulation of body fluids
  • Pressure applied to the arms and legs vitalizes the return of blood to the heart


  • Regulate hormone production
  • Improves the functioning of the actual glands by working in the areas where the glands reside
  • Produces an endorphin "high" in the brain