1. Who can receive Shiatsu?

    Shiatsu, just like acupuncture, is specific and geared towards the individual’s needs and condition. It can be performed on children, adults, and seniors alike.

  2. How Can Shiatsu help me?

    Shiatsu can help virtually anyone by re-balancing the person’s “vital energy”, raising the level of stamina and promoting a healthy metabolism. Shiatsu, as all Oriental medical traditions, considers the individual as one indivisible whole, and therefore treats the whole person without division between body, mind and spirit. This makes it one of the most holistic, simple, natural and effective body-work therapies.Shiatsu is likely the body-work technique that has the most powerful impact on the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Its single most important benefit is that, through appropriate pressure and stretching, it can override the sympathetic fight-or-flight defensive mode which, over time leads to stress and illness, and switch on the parasympathetic growth mode which activates relaxation, and the body’s natural healing and nurturing capacities. Thus, Shiatsu is beneficial for most conditions and is particularly effective for:

    • arthritis, neck /shoulder/low back pain, joint stiffness,
    • muscular tension, sciatica/neuropathies, poor circulation,
    • emotional disorders, migraines/headaches, sinusitis,
    • intestinal disorders, menstrual/reproductive problems, respiratory problems
    • stress disorders, not to mention that Shiatsu brings the instinctive joy of the human touch back into your life.
  3. How many Shiatsu treatments do I need?

    Most therapists recommend a course of at least 3-5 treatments. One session only is rarely enough to bring about any significant improvement. A course of treatments also enables the body to gradually adapt to pressure and to the Shiatsu techniques.
    Acute conditions usually require a shorter course of treatments but closer together. Depending on the individual and the condition it may take between 5 to10 daily treatments.
    Chronic conditions take much longer and the speed of recovery largely depends on the degree of chronicity. It is commonly accepted that one needs approximately one month of weekly treatments per year of chronicity. Thus, for example, if someone had a condition for 10 years, that person will need approximately 10 months of weekly treatments (i.e. 40 treatments) to satisfactorily recover.

    However, when people do exercise, stretch regularly and adopt healthier lifestyles, recovery considerably speeds up. After having reached a comfortable level of health, most people switch to a maintenance type of routine, coming every 3 to 4 weeks, just to maintain that desirable level of wellness.

  4. Is Shiatsu covered by Health Insurance?

    Shiatsu is not covered by OHIP. However, if you have a health plan, approximately 25 insurance companies do cover Shiatsu when performed by a CST (Certified Shiatsu Therapist). First, check your insurance policy for your detailed coverage. If Shiatsu is not included but still is your preferred therapy, we can help. Contact your CST or the Shiatsu Therapy Association of Ontario (toll free: 1-877-923-STAO). We can provide you with a: “Dear Insurer” form letter requesting the insurer to reimburse you or a “Dear Human Resources Manager” form letter requesting your manager to include Shiatsu in your company health coverage, keeping in mind however that ultimately, the final decision rests with the insurer.
    Information about Shiatsu as preventative and rehabilitative therapy is also available.

  5. How effective is Shiatsu?

    Shiatsu has long been recognized for its efficacy in disease prevention and rehabilitation. It originated from the ancient old traditional Anma massage still currently practiced in most Japanese families. In 1955, Shiatsu was for the first time officially recognized as a finger-pressure technique in its own right, as distinct from Anma. In1964, Shiatsu was regulated by the Japanese Ministry of Health and incorporated into the Japanese health care system, precisely because of its preventative and rehabilitative qualities.

  6. I have heard that Shiatsu is rather painful. How painful is it?

    Good Shiatsu should not be painful. Some points may feel a little more sensitive than others. This usually indicates energy blockages at those particular points. With pressure, Shiatsu dispels those blockages and re-establishes the energy flow in those pathways. Experienced therapists sense how much pressure ought to be applied and will adjust it according to the condition and the constitution of the client. Ideally, the pressure should be strong enough to be effective, yet comfortable for the client.
    At Body-Mind, we ensure your comfort throughout the whole treatment. Most clients do enjoy it and find it very relaxing.

  7. How different is Shiatsu from massage?

    Shiatsu therapy is sometimes thought to be some kind of exotic form of massage. Yet, Shiatsu is quite different from massage, as we know it in the West.First, Shiatsu is a Japanese acupressure technique firmly rooted in ancient Chinese medicine and, as such, is entirely based on the concepts and theories of Oriental medicine. Western massage in contrast, is entirely based on Western anatomy and physiology, and is primarily concerned with blood/lymphatic circulation and manipulation of soft tissues through a variety of rubbing and kneading techniques.Second, compared to massage, Shiatsu is rather stationary. It applies deeper but comfortable pressure with fingers, elbows, palms, knees or feet on selected meridians and points to stimulate and regulate the energy flow which nourishes the entire body. Imbalances in the energy network lead to fatigue, pain and illness. With pressure and passive stretching, Shiatsu relieves stress and pain, improves muscles and joints functions, strengthens the body and improves overall health.
    Finally, Shiatsu is very holistic. It doesn’t focus only on symptoms or on a single area of the body, as is commonly done in the West but always treats the whole person. This usually generates deep, peaceful and lighter feelings in the entire body.
    On the practical side Shiatsu is much simpler and less intrusive. The client wears loose comfortable clothing which gives the body an increased sense of protection. Clothing also enables the body to sustain stronger pressure and prevents from sliding on the skin when pressure is applied. Another significant difference is that no oils or lotions are used, and therefore no disrobing or draping is necessary.

  8. I am pregnant, is it safe to receive Shiatsu?

    Shiatsu is safe and quite beneficial particularly at the last stage of the pregnancy. It is quite effective at addressing most common related problems, such as low back pain, fatigue, edema, nausea, morning sickness, etc. Known for balancing human energy, Shiatsu equally benefits the fetus during the gestation period. Combined with specific exercises Shiatsu can make a significant contribution toward a trouble-free delivery.For the Treatment, the future mother lies on her side with extra pillows for comfort and relaxation. The treatment of the abdomen is avoided. A great sense of calm and relief is usually felt after the treatment.
    In doubt, consult with your MD.

  9. How should I choose my therapist?

    Since Shiatsu is not licensed yet in Canada, checking the extent of training is the most reliable indication of your therapist’s expertise. The best trained are the graduates of a two year Diploma Programs (2200 hrs.), such as the one offered at the Shiatsu School of Canada Inc. in Toronto. Those professionals will have received the highest level of training in the world outside Japan and have extensive theoretical, practical and clinical experience.Some of them also hold the CST designation (Certified Shiatsu TherapistJ), indicating that they have successfully completed all the requirements to become registered practicing members of the Shiatsu Therapy Association of Ontario whose mandate is to uphold high standards of practice in conformity with its guidelines, protocols and code of ethic.

  10. How might I feel after my Treatment?

    Because Shiatsu impacts on the internal environment of your body, many different responses are possible to this re-balancing. Most of the time responses are pleasant and very positive. Some may feel nothing at all and this is fine too, and doesn’t mean that the treatment didn’t work.Common positive effects of Shiatsu include:

    • Relief of your pain or symptoms.
    • Improvement in your flexibility and range of motion.
    • Improved digestion / circulation / respiration.
    • Less tension.
    • Better sleep.
    • Emotional peace.
    • Clearer thinking.

    After a Treatment you may also feel a lot more energized and because of that, some people tend to overdo and feel more tired later. You may also feel a sense of joy or light-heartedness. In rare occasions however, few people may experience some discomfort after treatment. This usually corresponds to a re-patterning in the energy system and is a normal part of the healing process. These reactions normally dissipate within 48 hours at the latest.

    Common negative effects of Shiatsu include:

    • Tiredness is very common.
    • Nausea can occur on rare occasions
    • A few people may also experience some soreness after a treatment, similar to the soreness you’d experience after exercising
    • At times, new pains can appear as the old one disappears. This usually is a previous problem re-surfacing as your body does its re-balancing.
    • Bruising, though not common, may sometimes occur even with appropriate pressure. You may be more susceptible to bruising if you are very tired or take aspirin. Tell your therapist so that s/he can adjust the pressure.
    • Any other unexpected reactions are also possible, such as headaches, heavier menstrual flow, runny nose, bowel movement or feeling cold – a sign of the deep relaxation, etc.
  11. Should I do anything special after my Treatment?Not really!

    But, it is recommended to take a little rest if you can. If you do have immediate commitments, try to take it easy. Avoid strenuous exercises and heavy meals. Keep warm, but avoid hot baths for a few hours.