Alternative medicine certainly holds its place in the modern health-keeping. One of the alternative medicine techniques, bodywork, is sure to relieve many types of aches. It’s all about breathing exercises, massage techniques, joint and muscle stimulation.
They create a healing energy which in turn promotes a healthier body.
This time around, we will discuss a Japanese type of bodywork, called Shiatsu. Mainly, what you do is use your fingers to apply pressure on certain points. There is also tapping, kneading and stretching involved.
The connective tissue, which many often classify as the largest organ in the body, takes up the space between other organs. In fact, it does much more.
It creates a protective layer around every single muscle, nerve, bone, blood vessel and joint. It even covers the internal organs, with the spinal cord and brain being no exception.
So, Shiatsu can be quite beneficial for this tissue. It hydrates and stimulates the tissue that, due to poor circulation, may be congested or weak.
Unfortunately, there is little information about the electric healing benefits which the connective tissue offers. It’s called piezoelectricity, which means ‘pressure electricity.’
The name speaks well for itself. As we mentioned, applying pressure on certain points on our bodies has many benefits. In this case, it activates the connective tissue’s electrical signals. The aftermath is a more relaxed body with better circulatory properties.
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine had published a study in 2008. In it, they state that tension, stress issues with structure, fatigue, muscle and joint pain were the highest accounted symptoms in 633 subjects.
After about six months of Shiatsu therapy, all of them claimed they felt their symptoms improve. As a result, 77 to 80% of the subjects stated that they had taken up a healthier way of living, after incorporating Shiatsu in their daily routine.
16 to 22% said that their conventional medicine dependence was reduced and 15 to 33% also claimed a lowered dependence on medication.
So, if you’re looking for a way for your body to heal itself and start living stress-free, these wonderful self-massage techniques are the way to go.
And that’s just it! It’s SELF-massage! You can depend on yourself to do it wherever and whenever you want, instead of looking for a reflexologist and acupuncturist.
Here are some tips on how to use shiatsu for optimal results.
6 Self-Massage Techniques
1. Great Relaxation Helper
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine had published a study 2004, according to which 14 practitioners and 15 long-term clients had boasted with improved posture, relaxation, and more regular sleep patterns.
Technique for Relaxation #1:
1. Kneel on the floor, in such a way that your feet are positioned beneath your buttocks.
2. Reach around using your hands and place one of your thumbs in the middle of either sole.
3. Press lightly and do some thumb walking along the length of either sole for about ten minutes.
4. Make sure to do this technique twice a day.
Technique for Relaxation #2:
1. Begin by taking hold of your right foot in both hands and apply pressure on the sole using both thumbs.
2. Massage the entire surface of the sole using both of your thumbs for ten minutes. You can change between scooping and circular motions.
Repeat the same exercise on the other foot.
This technique should also be performed two times a day.
The benefits of doing these are many. They open up stiff joints, relax the nerves, and support improved foot balance. Whether you do just one of the two, both, or alternate between the two, day and night, is your choice.
2. Help Your Energy Flow
The International Journal of Palliative Nursing had published a study in 2013. Eleven patients who had undergone Shiatsu therapy for about five weeks all had improved levels of energy and felt more relaxed.
Interesting to note that, while in some patients the benefits lasted only a few hours after the treatment, others felt a long-term effect, even after the five-week period was over.
Technique For Better Energy Flow #1:
1. Place both hands on your chest in a firm manner.
2. Press lightly upon your chest and massage it, while moving it up and down, for around ten minutes.
3. Do this technique two times a day.
Doing this technique on a regular basis stimulates the therapeutic energy flow. It flows downwards from the chest to the rest of your body.
Technique For Better Energy Flow #2:
1. Start by taking hold of the right foot in both your hands near the toe area. Continue by separating each toe individually with your index and thumb finger from each hand.
2. Start with the big toe, by placing both your fingers on the bottom of the toe. This is for massage and support purposes. Massage the top of your toe in an upward motion using both thumbs.
3. Make sure to do this technique on either toe for about five to ten times.
4. Repeat this exercise on your other foot as well.
5. Once again, perform this technique on a daily basis.
In this way, you will stimulate the therapeutic energy flow. It flows upwards from the chest to the rest of your body.
Once more, it is your choice whether you do just one of the two, both, or alternate between the two, one during the daytime and one during the nighttime.
3. Say Goodbye To Stress And Anxiety
The World Journal of Plastic Surgery had published a study in 2015, where burn patients, suffering from high levels of anxiety, had received a twenty-minute shiatsu massage (ten minutes on each hand). The anxiety had drastically decreased after the treatment.
Technique For Reducing Anxiety:
1. Using your right-hand thumb, apply pressure to the middle point of your left palm. Continue to press that area for thirty to sixty seconds.
2. Stretch your left-hand fingers using your right hand by pulling them all together. Release after about five seconds.
3. Stroke your left palm’s inside energetically using your right thumb. Do so for about thirty to sixty seconds.
4. And lastly, flip your hand over. Start massaging the top of your wrist in circular motions for as long as thirty to sixty seconds.
5. Repeat the same exercise on the other hand as well.
6. Best to do this exercise two times a day.
Technique For Reducing Stress:
1. Place your hands on your head. Position the fingers on your scalp and the thumbs on each side of your temples.
2. Gently apply pressure to the temples, don’t overdo it. Rotate your thumbs in circulatory gestures. Make sure you breathe deeply during the whole process. Do this for about five to ten minutes.
3. Are you even surprised when I tell you to do this exercise twice a day?
Since anxiety goes hand in hand with stress, it is only logical to do both these exercises, preferably in an interchangeable manner.
4. Your Lower Back Needs Pain Relief Too
The Journal of Holistic Nursing published a study back in 2001, with 66 subjects suffering from pains in the lower back. They underwent four sessions of Shiatsu and were to report every two days after each treatment.
Non-surprisingly, there was a reduction of pain in each of those subjects. They stated that they would recommend it to anyone, now that they had tried it themselves.
Technique For Reducing Back Pain #1:
1. Position all four fingers of both your hands on the upper side of your backside. It should be on each side where your back ends. The point is for your thumb to be pointing in an outward manner.
2. Press lightly for about five seconds. Continue the finger-walking motions all the way up your back. Make sure you stop at every point for five seconds, give or take, applying pressure in a firm manner.
3. Do the exercise about five to ten times. And yes, you should also use this one twice a day.
Technique For Reducing Back Pain #2:
1. Start by lying down on your back. Next, bend the knees in a way that the soles are on the floor. Station your hands by your sides. Just relax.
2. Continue by closing your eyes and taking deep breaths for about as long as three to four minutes. But it’s important to note that you should breathe from the lower abdomen instead of the chest.
The reason for that is that the flexing of your chest muscles might worsen the tension in your lower back area.
3. Bring your right knee up, then, using both your hands, clasp it. Now slowly keep drawing it close to your chest while exhaling.
4. Now just repeat the whole procedure with your other leg.
5. Do this exercise twice a day for about five to ten minutes.
For optimal results concerning pains in your lower back area, you should ideally do both these exercises. But if you can’t, try doing at least one of them once a day.
5. Having Trouble Sleeping? Try Shiatsu
The Journal of Integrative Medicine had published a 2014 study, in which the subjects wished they got a less obstructed sleep. So it’s obvious that in this case, the quality of sleep beats the quantity.
And, indeed, after having Shiatsu therapy performed on their hands, they reported an improvement in their slumber habits. In case you are suffering from insomnia, now you can do something about it too.
The Technique to Help With Sleep #1:
1. First off, fold your right palm. Proceed by pressing on each wrist with the folded small finger and index finger of your left hand. Do so for about five to ten minutes.
2. Now just repeat the exercise with the other hand.
The Technique to Help With Sleep #2:
1. Using the index finger and thumb of your right hand, apply pressure to the length of the thumb and fingers of the other hand. Best to do it from bottom to top for about five to ten times.
2. Once again, just repeat the exercise with the other hand.
As you may well have learned by now, it’s best to do both exercises. The best time would be before bed and again, should you awaken during the night.
Lack of decent sleep may be the underlying cause for many other diseases and ailments. Shiatsu hand massages can help because they promote sleep.
6. Your Sinus Headaches Are Better Off Too
Many around the globe complain from what is known as a sinus headache. Its name origin is no mystery since it has to do with your sinuses.
Thus one can also guess the places where it ‘strikes’: in the forehead and around the cheeks. So, here is a nice Shiatsu massage technique to help alleviate the pain:
1. Firmly apply pressure using your index finger on your cheekbones. Then start rotating your fingers in circulatory patterns for about five to ten minutes.
2. At the place where your eyebrows begin, position your index fingers and press firmly. Once again, do some rotating with your fingers for about five to ten minutes.
3. Make sure to do this two times a day.
Shiatsu face massage promotes flexibility and stimulates the congestion, successfully alleviating your headache.
We hope you will consider using all these techniques, now that you have been introduced to Shiatsu.