Shiatsu Massage Therapy – How is Shiatsu Different from Modern Western Massage?

There is common ground between Shiatsu and Western massage. Both systems are wonderful ways of relieving stress and promoting health and they focus on the body of the person to be treated. Further, neither system uses any sophisticated electronic or mechanical machinery in the diagnosis or implementation of

treatment. The third 출장마사지 common ground is that both Shiatsu and massage are classified in most of the Western World to remain outside the bastion of Western medicine, which is based on current Western mainstream scientific tradition. Outside Japan both Shiatsu and Western massage share the outfields of non-traditional treatment or alternative medicine with Healing, Reiki, Hypnosis or Crystal Healing.

Shiatsu practitioners tend to distance themselves from the bandwagon of alternative treatment approaches like Reiki or faith healing by demonstrating their usage of anatomy, physiology and pathology in the same vein as Western medicine. This could be one of the explanations for the great popularity of Shiatsu in the West as it bridges the West and the East.

Body massage might be one of the oldest forms of medical care known to man. Though we may not know what the ancient Egyptian practitioners actually believed in, Egyptian tomb paintings show people being massaged. A Chinese book from 2,700 B.C., The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, recommends massage of skin and flesh as the appropriate treatment for many ailments. Ayurveda, the 5000-year old traditional Indian system of medicine, greatly stresses the therapeutic benefits of massage with aromatic oils and spices. Writing in the 8th century BC, Homer of Greece mentions massage being used commonly also for Olympic athletes in the same way as it is used today.

Though the earliest modern reference to the term Shiatsu in a publication might be the 1915 Japanese book, Shiatsu Ryöhö written by Tenpaku Tamai, Tokujiro Namikoshi’s (1905-2000) followers consider him to be the founder of Shiatsu. His approach was entirely different from the Chinese meridian or Qi-based therapies. Namikoshi at age seven in 1912 independently developed a technique of pressing with his thumbs and palms as he tried to nurse his mother who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. Namikoshi’s influence on Shiatsu can be compared to the role of Picasso in art because he not only created an important genre, but also became an inspiration for many other creators of derivative therapies.

Tokujiro Namikoshi opened his first clinic for Shiatsu Therapy in 1925 in Hokkaido using the system that he perfected. In addition to founding in 1940 the first school of Shiatsu Therapy in Tokyo (Now known as the Japan Shiatsu College), Namikoshi was involved with the legal recognition of Shiatsu in Japan, which may account for his emphasis on Western medical theories. Namikoshi achieved fame

and successfully treated many high-ranking persons such as the former Japanese Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida. As his fame spread foreign celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali sought his treatment. Currently in Japan, Namikoshi’s system enjoys special legal status. Starting from 1947, after an eight-year clinical investigation period to ascertain which of 300 treatments could be legalised, the Ministry of Health of Japan acknowledged Shiatsu Therapy, as it proved effective. Shiatsu was placed in the same category with Anma and Western Massage in 1955.

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