Shiatsu Massage

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Shiatsu Massage


Shiatsu, what’s that?

I stumbled upon Shiatsu while booking a mini spa day with a friend recently. To be honest, I chose it because it was the only available offering in my time slot. What a hidden treat! I had a new and blissful experience that I just couldn’t wait to share. We get attached to our routine, our practitioners, and the things that we are most familiar with. This experience was something new, different, and dare I say life changing!? It might have just been…

Shiatsu, which translates as finger pressure: "shi" (finger) and "atsu" (pressure), is often described as a form of acupressure - and is a practice of therapeutic bodywork originating in Japan. It incorporates kneading, pressing, holding and stretching techniques and is practiced with no lotion or oil - rather through light clothing or a sheet. My experience was with undies on, under a sheet and with pillows for propping the side positions (reminiscent of a prenatal, supported style) ahhhhhh…

Shiatsu combines principles from acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine and modern medical knowledge - quite different from a Swedish or traditional western massage - and in my opinion, unadulterated bliss.

Benefits of shiatsu on your health and wellbeing?

Shiatsu is thought to reduce muscle soreness, to stimulate the skin and circulation, to aid in digestion, and to reset the central nervous system. It is also credited with reducing stress and contributing to and overall sense of well being.

The effect of shiatsu may be stimulating and invigorating or calming and sedating, depending on the goal of the session and the clients individual needs.

Shiatsu massage has many benefits to the body and mind. Here are some of those benefits: (from

  • Restore and maintain the body’s energy, especially helpful to those suffering from fatigue and overall weakness

  • Improves circulation

  • Reduces stress and tension as well as anxiety and depression

  • Relief from headaches

  • Promotes healing from sprains and similar injuries

  • Helps bring relief to arthritis sufferers

  • Reduces problems with stiff neck and shoulders as well as backaches (including sciatica)

  • Coughs, colds, and other sinus and respiratory problems

  • Helps those dealing with insomnia

  • Aids in treatment of such various things as digestive disorders, bowel trouble, morning sickness, and menstrual problems

We have also found repeated reports of improved: bowel function, energy, sleep and relaxation. Decreased pain, fatigue, depression and back pain.

Qi and Shiatsu:

A fundamental concept of traditional Chinese medicine is Qi (pronounced “chee”), our vital energy. A state of health is enjoyed when there is abundant, and unobstructed Qi flowing through the meridians. Meridians are channels that form a network in the body, through which energy flows.

Shiatsu therapists accesses the Qi through points along the meridians called Vital Points. Health is present when there is abundant Qi in the meridians and the flow is unobstructed. Illness, pain, or other symptoms arise when Qi is deficient or blocked. Symptoms such as recurring colds and flus, headaches, body aches or muscular pain, or digestive issues are signs of a Qi imbalance and Shiatsu can bring relief by stimulating, balancing and restoring the flow of Qi.

Shiatsu, the treatment:

Shiatsu uses a variety of techniques, including pressure, kneading, holding and stretching to access our vital Qi. Shiatsu works to alleviate conditions, restore balance, and promote health by regulating and restoring the flow of Qi. Regular treatments - whether once a week, once a month, or once a season may work well to maintain balance and foster a continuous and open flow of energy.

A Shiatsu massage is a full body experience, and given the client and practitioner the treatment can vary greatly. Different protocols are used depending on the client’s current state of health and needs.

Shiatsu practitioners often use their fingers, thumbs, elbows and knees to access pressure points and relieve clients’ tension. (Don’t be surprised if they join you on your table!)

Open communication is invited as this treatment feels more reciprocal than some, and in my experience the practitioner was very open to feedback around intensity and comfort level.

Shiatsu, in the Roaring Fork Valley:

The number of published studies on the benefits of shiatsu remain quite slim. Our best advise it to give it a try (if you feel so called) and let us know what you think! Where can you find it? We’ve included a few of our favorites here and please let us know if you have other recommendations!

True Nature Healing Arts in Carbondale, Colorado:

Shiatsu, in the Front Range:

60 MIN $155 | 90 MIN $235
Both satisfying and relaxing, this therapeutic full body service uses pressure along the meridians and acupressure points to stimulate the body’s own self-healing. This treatment is deeply rejuvenating and often results in increased energy afterward.

Heart Mind Healing Arts in Boulder, Colorado:

Book a student or professional session: HeartMind Shiatsu professional sessions provide holistic primary care to support you in your natural healing process. It integrates well with many other forms of care including chiropractic and structural therapies, psycho-therapeutic and somatic counseling, medical and paramedical professions, Ayurvedic therapies, yoga therapy, and many others.