What is Japanese Shiatsu Massage?
At Raku Spa, our ‘in spa’ and ‘at home’ massage services follow the principles of Japanese Shiatsu Massage. Familiar to many around the world, this simple form of massage is known to be highly relaxing and effective in the treatment of pain. But what exactly is Shiatsu, and where did it come from?
In Japanese the word ‘shiatsu’, translates as “finger pressure”. This explains the main method of delivering this well-known form of massage. Invented by the ‘father of Shiatsu’, Tokujiro Namikoshi, in the 1920s, Shiatsu massage is inspired by rules from traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a type of acupressure massage.
When you receive a Shiatsu massage at Raku Spa, our massage therapists apply pressure to your body’s acupressure points to treat your pain or health condition. These accupressure points are parts of the body that can affect the flow of qi. In Chinese Medicine, qi translates to ‘vital energy’. When qi is ‘blocked’, often as a result of stress or anxiety, it can cause pain or health problems in the body. Shiatsu massage helps to ‘unblock’ the flow of qi and restore your vital energy. By using the therapists’ fingers and thumb, Shiatsu is a simple but effective form of massage that can lead to better health.
The simple nature of Shiatsu massage means that it is possible to apply in many situations. You may prefer to be fully-clothed, or seated in a massage chair to receive your massage. On the other hand, you may wish to be undressed and lay down on a massage table. At Raku Spa, our personalised services make every customer feel as comfortable as possible.
As Shiatsu is simple to apply, it can be combined with other massage techniques. Often, Shiatsu is added to Swedish Massage to increase its effectiveness and speed your journey towards better health.
Over 1,400 years ago, Japanese students went to China to study Chinese culture and medicine. The blending of cultures and ideas about medicine resulted in the development of a massage technique called Anma. Using a variety of movements, including kneading, rubbing, tapping and shaking, Anma massage focused on treating the acupressure points in the body. The technique was considered to be very relaxing despite its vigorous approach.
By the 17th century, the style had gained popularity and it was regularly performed by blind massage therapists. In fact, between 1603 and 1867, it was illegal for people who were not blind to perform Anma massage in Japan!
From the foundations of Anma, Shiatsu massage was developed in the early 20th century. Similar to Anma in many ways, but using different movements, Shiatsu is now a popular massage technique all across the world.
There are two people who made important contributions to the development of Shiatsu massage. The first is Tokujiro Namikoshi, who once gave Marilyn Monroe a Shiatsu massage! The second is Shizuto Masunaga, whose whole family were Shiatsu massage therapists.
Tokujiro discovered Shiatsu by mistake when he was treating his mother’s arthritis. Even though he was just a child at the time, Tokujiro relieved his mother’s pain by massaging her sore joints. Tokujiro tried different pressure levels and pressing methods to discover which combinations made his mother feel better. Eventually, his mother’s health problems reduced and he realised he had been performing Shiatsu massage on her.
Tokujiro founded the Shiatsu Institute of Therapy in Hokkaido in 1925, and the Shiatsu Institute in Tokyo in 1940. His method of Shiatsu combined stretching exercises with vigorous massage to the whole body of the person seeking therapy.
Shizuto Masunaga studied Chinese medicine and western psychology. Both of these things influenced his approach to Shiatsu. Shizuto’s focus was more traditional and aimed to bring balance to the five elements in the body. By creating balance and removing any blockages qi was able to flow. In the 1970’s Shizuto opened the Iokai Shiatsu Centre in Tokyo and his methods gained popularity in Japan, the USA and across Europe.
Since then, other Shiatsu experts have worked to develop the massage techniques, adjusting them to be suitable for the needs of people across the world. Now, in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, the expertly trained staff at Raku Spa are ready to introduce you to Shiatsu Massage and its benefits for your health.
Life in Ho Chi Minh City can be stressful. The city is busy. The city is loud. Sometimes, the city is totally overwhelming. It is not surprising that many people can feel ‘burnt out’ at times. There are many ways that Shiatsu massage can help improve your health. Here are just five of the most common.
1. Reducing stress
By focusing on acupressure points, Shiatsu effectively releases tension from your body. This in turn creates a feeling of calm and relaxation. Instantly you will feel stress leaving your body which will help improve mental, physical and emotional health. Regular treatments can help to manage stress. When stress is under control, it lowers blood pressure, increases immunity and relieves insomnia.
2. Improve Digestion
Shiatsu massage to the abdomen can be an effective way to reduce digestive problems. By increasing blood flow to this area, gentle massage can help your body to process the food that you have eaten. Shiatsu massage can also help to keep your insides calm.
3. Helps Skin to Look Younger and Healthier
A good facial Shiatsu massage will help reduce tension in the muscles that can cause worry or frown lines to appear. In addition, massage encourages blood flow to the skin’s surface. This causes a release of sebum. Sebum is your body’s natural moisturiser and helps to keep your skin from becoming dehydrated.
4. Improving Sleep
By helping to improve digestion and reducing stress, Shiatsu can also help you to get a better night’s sleep. Studies have shown that Shiatsu massage can help people with chronic pain to sleep without medication.
As with other forms of massage, Shiatsu encourages your lymphatic system to work properly. Responsible for removing toxins and waste from your body, lymph is an important part of your immune system. Regular Shiatsu massage can help your immune system to fight infection.
Whether you are looking to simply reduce your stress levels or if your goal is to enjoy better general health, Shiatsu massage can help. If you would like to experience the benefits for yourself, please contact us at Raku Spa for more information and to discuss your needs.
For more information about our ‘In Spa’ massage services click here.
For details of ‘At Home’ massage click here.