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Japanese Shiatsu Self-Massage Techniques for Pain Relief and Relaxation

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“Bodywork” is an alternative medicine technique that promotes relaxation through muscle and joint stimulation, breathing exercises and several massage techniques to instill a healing energy throughout the body.

Shiatsu is a form of Japanese bodywork that is characterized by applying comfortable pressure using your fingers to knead, press, stretch and tap certain points on the body.

This finger pressure has a particular effect on the connective tissue. Connective tissue is just under the surface of the skin and runs throughout the body, occupying the spaces between different organs. For this reason, it is often classified as the largest “organ” of the human body.

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Connective tissue forms a protective covering over each bone, muscle, joint, nerve and blood vessel. It also covers the internal organs, including the brain and spinal cord.

Using the shiatsu self-massage technique, connective tissue that may be brittle or congested due to poor blood circulation is instantly activated and hydrated.

Little is known about the electric healing properties of connective tissue called piezoelectricity, which translates to “pressure electricity”. This simply means that applying pressure on certain points on the body activates electrical signals in the connective tissue.

These electrical signals also spread to connective tissue throughout the body, promoting blood circulation and relaxation.

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In a 2008 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, muscle and joint pain, problems with body structure as well as tension, stress and fatigue were the highest reported symptoms in 633 subjects.

After receiving shiatsu therapy for 6 months, all the subjects reported significant improvement in these symptoms. In addition:

  • 77 to 80 percent of subjects reported adopting a healthier lifestyle after incorporating shiatsu in their daily lives.
  • 15 to 34 percent of subjects reported decreased dependence on medication and 16 to 22 percent reported decreased dependence on conventional medicine.

Over time, shiatsu self-massage can pave the way for your body to start healing itself, allowing you to live a stress-free life, ward off illnesses and maintain overall good health.

While bodywork techniques like reflexology and acupuncture often require the assistance of skilled practitioners for maximum effectiveness, shiatsu can be easily self-performed with terrific results.

Japanese Shiatsu self massage techniques

Whether you are in the comfort of your home, reeling from stress in your car after a day’s work or sitting in your office with some time to kill, shiatsu can be practiced anywhere.

Here are some benefits of shiatsu self-massage and ways you can use it on your own body.

1. Shiatsu for Relaxation

Shiatsu for Relaxation

According to a 2004 study published in Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15 long-term clients and 14 practitioners of shiatsu who participated in in-depth interviews reported improved relaxation, sleep patterns, and body postures and experiences as the most common positive results of shiatsu massage therapy.

Relaxation Technique 1:

  1. Hold your right foot in both palms and apply pressure on the sole of your foot with both of your thumbs.
  2. Massage the entire sole with both thumbs for 10 minutes. You can alternate between circular and scooping motions.
  3. Switch feet and repeat the exercise.
  4. Perform this relaxation technique twice daily.

Relaxation Technique 2:

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  1. Kneel on the floor, so your feet are placed below your buttocks.
  2. Reach around with your hands and place one thumb on the mid-point of each sole.
  3. Apply pressure and thumb-walk along the length of each sole for 10 minutes.
  4. Perform this relaxation technique twice daily.

You can do both of these exercises twice, only one of them (depending on which provides greater relaxation) or alternate between one exercise in the morning and the other at night.

Both these techniques relax the nerves in the feet, open up stiff joints and promote better foot balance.

2. Shiatsu for Energy Flow

Shiatsu for Energy Flow

According to a 2013 study published in the International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 11 patients who received shiatsu therapy treatment for 5 weeks all reported significant improvement in energy levels and relaxation.

While in some patients the effects lasted only a few hours after each session, others experienced a long-term effect, extending well beyond the 5-week treatment.

Energy Flow Technique 1:

  1. Hold your right foot in both palms near the toes and separate each toe using the thumb and index finger of both hands.
  2. Starting with the big toe, place both your fingers at the bottom of the toe for support and massage the top of the toe with both thumbs in an upward motion.
  3. Perform this technique on each toe 5 to 10 times.
  4. Switch feet and repeat the exercise.
  5. Do this twice daily.

This exercise promotes the flow of therapeutic energy from the feet to the rest of the body in an upward motion.

Energy Flow Technique 2:

  1. Place your hands firmly on your chest.
  2. Apply pressure and massage your chest, moving it up and down, for 10 minutes.
  3. Do this twice daily.

This exercise promotes the flow of therapeutic energy from the chest to the rest of the body in a downward motion.

You can do both of these exercises twice a day, only one of them or alternate between one exercise in the morning and the other at night.

3. Shiatsu for Anxiety & Stress

In a 2015 study published in the World Journal of Plastic Surgery, burn patients who suffered severe anxiety received shiatsu hand massage for 20 minutes (10 minutes on each hand). Results showed significantly reduced anxiety after the massage.

Anxiety Reduction Technique:

Shiatsu for Anxiety

  1. Use your thumb on your right hand to apply pressure in the middle of your left palm, pressing that area for 30 to 60 seconds.
  2. Pull all four fingers of your left hand with the fingers of your right hand to stretch them. Release after 5 seconds.
  3. Vigorously stroke the inside of your entire left palm with your right thumb for 30 to 60 seconds.
  4. Finally, flip your hand over and massage the top of your wrist in a circular motion for 30 to 60 seconds.
  5. Switch hands and repeat the exercise.
  6. Perform this exercise twice daily.

Stress Reduction Technique:

Stress Reduction Technique

  1. Put both your hands on your head, placing your fingers on your scalp and your thumbs against your temples.
  2. Apply gentle pressure to your temples, rotating your thumbs in a circular motion while breathing deeply for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Perform this exercise twice daily.

You should do both of these exercises every day, as stress and anxiety go hand-in-hand.

Japanese Shiatsu Self-Massage Techniques for Pain Relief and Relaxation was last modified: December 21st, 2015 by Top10HomeRemedies
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4 thoughts on “Japanese Shiatsu Self-Massage Techniques for Pain Relief and Relaxation”

  1. Prolonged sitting…make me feel not good…
    Much better for me to stand for more than 8 he’s than sitting for 1 to 2 hours….

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