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Shiatsu is a hands-on Japanese Zen Healing Art

Shiatsu Kanji - FAQ - What is shiatsu?

What is shiatsu?

 Shiatsu is a hands-on bodywork modality that originates from Japan.


指  “shi” means finger or toe and

圧 “atsu” translates as “slowly applied pressure maintained then slowly released” with the implication of the use of bodyweight rather than strength.


Shiatsu achieves unique results because of it’s holistic goals which focuses on treating the whole person to support body, mind, and spirit.


Shiatsu is based on the time-honoured Oriental medical understanding that our physiological and psychological structures are supported and affected by meridians.

What are the benefits

Shiatsu stimulates circulation, alleviates pain, strengthens the body, and promotes relaxation.

The aim of shiatsu is to balance the flow of energy (ki/qi/chi) in the body to promote health and well being.

Regular treatments can enhance overall physical vitality and emotional well being due to the deeply relaxing nature of the treatments.

Shiatsu is suitable for all ages, including elderly people and young children, and is also safe during pregnancy.

Shiatsu - What are the benefits?
Shiatsu NZ - Nicola Godward Shiatsu Treatment -FAQ - What happens during a shiatsu treatment

What happens during a session

Shiatsu traditionaly takes place on a futon, although many practitioners also use a massage table.


Sessions generally last 30 to 90 minutes and will include diagnosis and hands-on bodywork. Recipients remain fully clothed for the duration of the session.

Some practitioners will use traditional diagnostic methods of pulse, tongue, and hara (belly/abdomen). Each session catering to the individual’s needs at the time.

A shiatsu practitioner applies mindful pressure using fingers, palms, elbows, knees, or feet. Rotations and stretches are also often part of a treatment so loose comfortable clothing is best.

Practitioners may recommend specific lifestyle or dietary changes. They may also suggest specific exercises to assist with restoring energetic balance.

What conditions may be helped

Shiatsu is beneficial for general health maintenance and is suitable for most chronic conditions.​

  • Acute and Chronic Aches and Pains

  • Anxiety

  • Back, Neck and Shoulder Pain

  • ​Depression

  • Digestive Disorders

  • Fatigue

  • Headaches and Migranes

  • Menstural Issues

  • Muskuloskeletal Pain

  • Sleep Issues

  • Stress

Shiatsu - FAQ - What conditions can be helped
Shiatsu - FAQ - Styles of Shiatsu

Styles of Shiatsu

Shiatsu originates from Japan and has been developed and refined which has evolved into a variety of styles. Early shiatsu practitioners such as Tokujiro Namikoshi and Shizuto Masunaga developted their own style and established shiatsu as we know it today.

There are many styles of shiatsu practiced around the world today and they are continiously evolving.

Some of the shiatsu styles found in New Zealand include: Ohashiatsu, Namikoshi Shiatsu, Zen Shiatsu, Tao Shiatsu, Metta Shiatsu, and Barefoot Shiatsu

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