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.