What Is Shiatsu Therapy?


Bryce Lee, Holistic Alternative Therapy Centre Suite B-20, 2nd Floor, Block B, Plaza Pekeliling, Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur.


Trends in Traditional Medicine Research ,Proceedings of the International Conference on the Use of Traditional Medicine & Other Natural Products in Health Care




Shiatsu therapy, Shiatsu diagnosis. Nerve Reflex Theory


The Ministry of Health of Japan defines Shiatsu Therapy as a form of manipulation, administered by the thumbs, fingers and palms, without the use of any instruments, to apply pressure to the human skin to rectify internal malfunctioning, to promote and maintain health and treat specific diseases. The therapy is based on the belief that the human body has tremendous self healing powers and it is possible to activate it by applying finger pressure at certain vital points (called tsubo in Japanese) on the body. There are various theories put forward to explain the phenomena of tsubos. The most accepted one is the Nerve Reflex Theory. This theory holds that when an abnormal condition occurs in an internal organ. alterations take place in the skin and muscles related to that organ by means of the nervous system. These alterations occur as reflex actions. The nervous system, extending throughout the internal organs, the skin, the subcutaneous tissues, and the muscles, constantly transmit information about the physical conditions to the spinal cord and the brain. These information impulses which are centripetal in nature set up a reflex action that causes symptoms of the internal organic disorder to manifest themselves in the surface areas of the body. The intimate relation between internal organs and external ones has a reverse effect as well, that is. stimulation to the skin and muscles affect the condition of the internal organs and tissues. Because impulses  from the outside are transmitted inside by means of the spinal cord and the nervous system. For instance, stimulation transmitted to the spinal cord, sets-up a reflex action in the internal organ that is controlled by the nerves at the level of the spinal column corresponding to the height of the place at which the external stimulus was applied. Stimuli of this kind instigate peristaltic motion or contraction in the organ. The effect of such external stimulation on blood vessels and on secretion of the hormones has been scientifically verified. The following, for instance, have been proved medically: 1. Disease of gall bladder can cause pain in the right shoulder. 2. Disease of the heart can cause pain in the left shoulder. Any malfunctioning of the internal organs can be detected in the tsubos in a variety of ways: a sense of pressure, numbness, pain, stiffness, spots, discolouration, pigmentation etc. A well trained therapists finger tips can detect the disorder of the tsubos, the tissue, the muscle, the movement of the intervertebral joints and disorder of the internal organs. The type, degree and duration of pressure is then adjusted to meet the specific needs of each area of the body and each individual. Conditions that require the attention of Shiatsu are: Tension Headache, Migraine, Insomnia, Occipital neuralgia, Sinusitis, Facial Paralysis, Whiplash syndrome, Frozen shoulder. Bronchial asthma, Backache, Constipation, Hemiplegia, Rheumatism and Arthritis.