Developed in Japan more than 1000 years ago, Shiatsu is a finger-pressure technique utilizing traditional acupuncture points. Shiatsu concentrates on unblocking the flow of life energy and restoring balance in the meridians and organs in order to promote self-healing. With the client reclining, the practitioner applies rhythmic pressure with the finger, thumb, palm, elbow, or knee to specific zones on the skin located along the energy meridians, to stimulate ki (qi, prana or vital energy). Stretches, and some other vigourous techniques are also used to stimulate the flow of Ki.
The treatment brings about a sense of relaxation while stimulating blood and lymphatic flow. The benefits of this treatment may include pain relief and a strengthening of the body's resistance to disease and disorder, so shiatsu can be used for general health maintenance. The focus of a Zen Shiatsu session is on the use of the body's natural energy flow, identified along meridian lines where the energy flow may be adjusted.
In addition, Zen Shiatsu does not adhere to a fixed sequence or set of methods that are applied to all. It utilizes appropriate methods for the unique pattern of each individual.