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About Shiatsu

About Shiatsu
What is Shiatsu?

Shiatsu is a unique, non-invasive therapy designed to stimulate the body’s inherent ability to heal itself.

Literally translated, the Japanese word shiatsu means “finger pressure.” Shiatsu therapy involves the systematic application of manual pressure to the body in order to assess and treat a variety of conditions.

Shiatsu treatments have a regulatory influence on the autonomic nervous system, thereby improving organ function and reducing muscle tension.

Shiatsu therapy is a distinctly Japanese contribution to holistic healthcare and has evolved out of 3,500 years of oriental medical wisdom. It is founded upon the same principles as acupuncture, although no needles are used.

Shiatsu also incorporates the modern Western sciences of anatomy, physiology and pathology.

Shiatsu therapy has been fully incorporated into the modern public healthcare system of Japan, and has been regulated as a distinct therapy by the Japanese Ministry of Health since 1964.

Effective for pain management,

Shiatsu can be used to treat a variety of conditions;




Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Carpel Tunnel Syndrome

Back Pain




And Depression

Neck/ Shoulder Pain



Repetitive Strain Injuries

Menstrual Problems



Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Muscle Tension and Spasm


Sports injury

Digestive Problems

People of all ages, including infants and children, experience lasting, beneficial results from therapeutic shiatsu treatment.

Shiatsu therapy is an important part of a preventative or rehabilitative health care program.

After treatment, most people experience relief from their discomforts–relief from pain, increased flexibility, calmer mood, and clearer mind.

People find that deep, restful sleep comes more easily for several nights. A small percentage of people may feel tired or headachy for a few hours, or may temporarily experience minor localized muscle stiffness. This is a normal reaction to the treatment as the body readjusts and rebalances and will pass within 1 to 3 days.

Your RST (Registered Shiatsu Therapist) will recommend a treatment program that is suited to your needs. Normally, you will feel relief from your complaint with one treatment but a series of treatments is usually recommended so that the root of your problem can be addressed. Acute problems usually require 2-5 treatments; chronic problems usually require 5-10 treatments, or more. Treatments are usually taken once a week and treatment effects are cumulative.

Shiatsu is a physical therapy which uses a combination of pressure points, gentle manipulation and stretching to reenergize weak areas and reduce tension in the body. By applying sensitive, mindful, static touch with thumbs, fingers and palms, the Shiatsu giver affects the functioning of physical systems such as nervous, circulatory and respiratory, thus supporting the body’s innate self-healing abilities and promoting a sense of relaxation and well-being.  

Shiatsu can be learned by everyone. Some train to professional practitioner level; some learn sufficient to support friends and family at an informal level.

Shiatsu is given through clothes, so is practical for everyday workplace and family settings without the need for privacy and extra room heating. Traditionally practiced on a futon at floor level, Shiatsu can also be received on a treatment table or chair.  Although a professional Shiatsu session will generally take place in a clinic room or client’s home, community or family-based Shiatsu can be shared anywhere – at the kitchen table, in the garden, on the beach.

Shiatsu is safe and effective.

Academic research indicates that Shiatsu is safe and can reduce a wide range of symptoms, improving quality of life.

Shiatsu touch, in its stillness, depth and gentle compassion, is able to support the whole person.

Based in East Asian Medicine

Originating in Japan, Shiatsu has grown internationally since the 1970's. It is an evolving form of bodywork, incorporating influences from both East Asian Medicine and Western medicine and therapies.

Shiatsu Association of Western Canada - SAWC

Make a Difference Today

Shiatsu Association of Western Canada - SAWC wants to spread our message of hope and compassion. We believe that a single action can make a difference in the community, and that collective action can greatly impact the world. Through advocacy and outreach activities, our team works tirelessly each day to contribute their part to the greater good.

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