Shiatsu, the most widely known form of acupressure, literally
means "finger pressure" in Japanese. Like acupuncture, shiatsu is
based on the holistic system of traditional Chinese medicine, where
illness is thought to result from imbalances in the natural flow of
energy, or "qi" (pronounced "chee") throughout the body. Shiatsu
applies finger and palm pressure to energetic pathways, called
meridians, to improve the flow of qi.
The technique involves rhythmic pressure from 3 to 10 seconds on specific points along the body's meridians by using the fingers, hands, elbows, knees, and sometimes feet to unblock and stimulate the flow of energy. A session may also include gentle stretching and range-of-motion manipulations.
Unlike other forms of massage, no massage oil is applied with shiatsu. Clients may be asked to bring comfortable clothing to wear and may remain fully clothed during the treatment.