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It's always great to go back and remember how shiatsu works and why it's good for you!

It's a funny thing to describe as it's not a massage and it's not performed on a massage table, but it is one of THE holistic* therapies, and I think one of the best, and you get all this in Cheltenham and Gloucester, right on your doorstep!

*Holistic - to treat the mind and body as a whole.

It's not acupuncture as there are no needles, but it is based on exactly the same theory of chinese medicine, we just use it in a slightly different way, making it effective in some ways that differ to acupuncture.

It's not like reflexology, though that is finger pressure too, but mainly on your bare feet. We work on your feet but with your socks on, in fact we shouldn't perform shiatsu on bare skin as this interrupts us listening to what's going on inside your body :)


The word literally Shiat-su means finger pressure, but it's what we do with it that counts. We know the points on your body that tap into something deep inside, we call these your energetics. You may have heard of the word 'Chi', which is chinese for energy, but Shiatsu is Japanese so we tend to say Ki; but I tend to say blood, fluids. muscles and fascia!

Understanding how the body works from the ancient chinese wisdom, now over 5000 years old and still going strong means that we have patterns and models we can follow to start rebalancing your body. Many people however don't conform to the patterns so then we have to get creative in helping you over your issues, but as we have these developed skills we can, helping you when you've had no satisfaction from tests, we don't need tests we just need to know your symptoms.


The bodymind is all as one in Chinese medicine, they think the west are a bit barking to split how the mind works from the body, and in my experience I've learnt the 2 go hand in hand and are inseparable. If you receive shiatsu we're working on your mind and body as one. It doesn't matter if you come through the door with shoulder tension or stress, 2 classics that are completely paired, or stress and IBS. You know that how you feel and how your body reacts are so intertwined that its crazy to separate them out, we just need western medicine to come up to speed on that line of thinking.


The other week I 'put something out', I possible pulled a weak muscle in my back, yes even shiatsu practitioners have aches, that's most likely why we learnt shiatsu! Then something else happened, I can't tell you what, all I know is that it was getting painful to walk, and I was feeling tired. So, what did I do?

I went to have a session with my shiatsu practitioner, Jen, to sort me out. Afterwards I felt so much better and I thought I would draw this picture of how my body felt before the treatment and then afterwards.

pain map before and after shiatsu from Andrea at Shiatsu Bodyworks Cheltenham

The red crosses - all the aches I felt when I'd done something, none bad enough to take pain killers, but I was aware that my body wasn't working smoothly, and it was sapping my energy - is this possibly how you're feeling?

The blue cross - after the treatment, when everything went back and my known issue was left, An old injury from a desk chair snapping and embedding a bolt in my back!

Could having seeing a chiro or osteo have the same result?

Yes and No - for many reasons which depend on who you are and what your issues are, so I'm not going to compare, because you really can't , it's about finding the type of therapy that works for you. The same as doesn't fit all :)

Could having a massage have the same result?

See above answer, a massage is relaxing though; and so is shiatsu.


One of the great things about shiatsu is that it is gentle, it doesn't 'put the body back in place' with clicks and maneouvres, it allows the body to go back. We do this by warming up the muscles, tapping into acupoints which allow release and flow, and if your body is ready, it will relax and release. Some other therapies, snap things back into place, causing a trauma to the soft tissue, which causes inflammation, and that is seen as the healing response. Personally that makes me shudder! The handful of times I've been manipulated in life has left me quite ill, in pain and quite often with the issue unresolved. The only other effective therapy I've had is Cranial Osteopathy, a far more gentle approach than classic osteo.

Shiatsu works on the muscles, we feel if they 'feel' right. They maybe too hard, too cold, twisted, clicky, dry. It works on promoting good blood flow, this will warm up deficient areas in your body (the source of many chronic problems) , we call it 'bringing the chi' back and you may experience tingling and warmth. This is all very good stuff!

Shiatsu works on the organs, it's amazing how much tension is held in certain organs, like the liver, and the diaphragm which sits across your stomach. To release your central organs is to let go of the toxins they're holding in, so you may go to the loo more afterwards :)

Shiatsu works on your fluids, one thing I bet you've never heard about is 'stagnant fluids', but its so common. If you have a bruisy feeling that goes when you rub a patch, that's stagnant fluid. If you don't walk about enough and use your muscles regularly the lymph fluid in your body isn't pumped up and cleansed. Stagnant lymph full of toxins is not a good thing. Lymph only moves when you pump muscles, so if you sit at a desk all day remember to flex those calves and ankles.

If you get in a state of chronic pain, dull aches, lethargy, low moods, stiff shoulders, easily stressed, too much overwhelm, these are all states where your body needs TLC to move and feel better, and if your body feels better, so will your mind; and this is the beauty of Shiatsu - at least 2 treatments all in one!!

Shiatsu is a physical therapy, shiatsu is a holistic therapy, in my mind (and body) it is the only therapy. I was once told that Shiatsu is the therapy of intelligence :)

Relax as Shiatsu releases shoulder tension with Andrea at Shiatsu Bodyworks Cheltenham

Contact Andrea, Shiatsu Practitioner in Cheltenham and Gloucester to find out how shiatsu can help you, on 07899 987227.

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