Developed by the Japanese over 2000 years ago from the medical practices that originated in China, shiatsu is designed to promote the free flow of the vital energy known as Ki through the meridians of the body. At the time it was thought to be a beneficial therapy for people who were engaged in mental rather than manual work and led a more sedentary lifestyle.
Shiatsu utilises a combination of pressure and assisted-stretching techniques, some of which are common to other therapies, such as massage, physiotherapy, acupressure, osteopathy and lymphatic drainage. The treatment stimulates circulatory flow of lymphatic fluid, releases toxins and deep tensions from the muscles, stimulating the hormone and immune systems. It also acts on the autonomic nervous system, allowing for deep. Shiatsu is beneficial in the following conditions: stress and fatigue reduction; improved circulation of blood and lymph; blood pressure reduction; muscle stiffness reduction as well as promoting increased vitality, energy and stamina. Practitioners also treat back and joint pain, persistent headache and migraine, problems of the digestive system and menstrual problems.

Treatment is usually given with the patient lying on the floor on a futon. People with osteoporosis or a low platelet count are advised to avoid shiatsu, and caution is needed in pregnant patients.

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