Shiatsu (指圧) (shi meaning finger and atsu meaning pressure), also referred to as acupressure, is a type of Japanese bodywork consisting of massage using pressure with the fingers and palms to specific points to relieve aches, pains, tension, and symptoms of disease. These points access energy pathways through the body and can be tender when the flow of energy is blocked. By manipulating those points the energy circulation gets enhanced. However, tender energy points are not usually where the complaint is. For example, to relieve a headache, points might be stimulated on the arms or legs.

Shiatsu is based on the accumulated knowledge of 5,000 year old Chinese medicine. Similar to acupuncture, the person is evaluated based on the five elements: metal, earth, fire, water, and wood. During the intake, the practitioner evaluates the patient’s elemental balance in relation to the physical, emotional, and spiritual being and focuses on bringing the elements back into balance.

Shiatsu can be described as a modality between massage and acupuncture. It addresses soft tissue concerns without needing to get undressed, an advantage for those who feel shy about receiving a massage. Similarly, it allows those with a fear of needles to go deeper and address issues beyond those addressed in massage alone. It can be used to address physical discomforts and symptoms like sleeping disorders, digestive problems, muscular discomfort, or headaches. It can help bring excess emotions like anger, fear, grief, worry, and sadness back into a normal range.