Shiatsu is a Japanese form of bodywork, with its roots in Chinese/Japanese Medicine. Shiatsu is a complete system of bodywork which includes examination, assessment and treatment based on an ancient system of healing. Shiatsu's focus is to restore the free flow of Qi, or energy, in the meridians that flow from each organ out into the body.
Shiatsu therapy is a distinctly Japanese contribution to holistic healthcare and has evolved out of 3,500 years of oriental medical wisdom. It is founded upon the same principles as acupuncture, although no needles are used. It also incorporates the modern Western sciences of anatomy, physiology and pathology. Shiatsu therapy has been fully incorporated into the modern public healthcare system of Japan, and has been regulated as a distinct therapy by the Japanese Ministry of Health since 1964.
Based on research in Japan, it has been documented that shiatsu is very effective in calming the sympathetic nervous system and improving the function of the muscles, nerves, blood vessels, lymph nodes, endocrine glands and internal organs. In addition, it has been shown that shiatsu assists the body in eliminating toxins and metabolic waste. Thereby acting as a preventative health measure, as well as assisting chronic and acute health conditions.
What are the benefits of Shiatsu?
Shiatsu directly accesses the meridian energetic system. The massage along the meridians enhances, opens and increases the flow of the divine power of the universe, in your system. By opening this flow – removing blockages felt as pain, tension, or emptiness, “your system can naturally begin to repair ailments, maintain harmonious metabolism and prevent disease”. Dr. DoAnn T. Kaneko, L.A.c., Ph.D., O.M.D
Oriental medical practitioners believe that our energy flows throughout our bodies via energetic pathways which are known as meridians (energy channels). If the Qi becomes blocked in any of these channels illness or dis-ease can result.
What will happen at my first Shiatsu session?
Take a detailed health history with the Client Intake Form, which you will fill out before your appointment (Find the client intake form on the Services with Jodi page). The Client Intake Form is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnostics. You will be asked about health background, the specific issues you are seeking help with, and your your energy, digestion, and sleep. We will look at your tongue and feel the pulses in the wrist, where clues to your energetic condition can be assessed.
This information will help to decide which meridians and points to focus on. The techniques used in the massage will depend on your energetic condition, and the combination of intuition and theory to create an appropriate treatment for you at that particular time. Each session will be unique.
During the session, pressure is applied to various parts of the body which correspond with the points and channels (meridians) used in acupuncture. For this reason, Shiatsu became popularly known in the West by the rather inaccurate term of acupressure. Unlike acupuncture or acupressure massage where the practitioner concentrates on a few specific points, Shiatsu works on the whole of an imbalanced meridian, as well as the whole body.
I will use thumbs, fingers, palms, elbows and sometimes my knees and feet in order to disperse or move blocked Qi. These techniques are used in conjunction with stretches and joint rotations where appropriate to assist the flow of energy through the meridians. I generally work all over the body, i.e. arms, legs, back, abdomen, neck and head. This enables you to relax deeply and get in touch with your own healing abilities and feel more connected with your body, mind and spirit.
Treatment is carried out through light clothing, usually lying on a wide low table or on a padded mat on the floor. Shiatsu can be adapted to chair massage as well. The low height of my table allows me to use my body weight rather than muscle to apply pressure, which is more comfortable to receive and less tiring for the practitioner. A typical treatment will last an hour, although shorter treatments can also be beneficial.
Shiatsu affects all levels of our being, the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual; treatment is attuned to the individual's personal development of total health and character. To make real, long lasting changes in your health, I may give advice on foods to include or avoid for your energy type, essential oils blends, supplements, and Qi Gong exercises to continue to build and move the Qi in your body.
What conditions can Shiatsu help?
It is not a requirement to be ill in order to benefit from Shiatsu!
Keeping your stress levels low by regular healthy activities, such as Shiatsu, improves your chances of staying healthy. But if you are faced with a health challenge, lack of energy, or pain, you can benefit from Shiatsu due to its ability to strengthen the body's energy and self healing properties.
Because an imbalance of "Qi” or energy in the body often precedes full blown disease symptoms, Oriental medicine plays a preventative role. Along with changes in your daily life, Shiatsu treatments can jump start your process of healing and balance.
Conditions often improved by Shiatsu
Treatment of all these conditions will be given according to Oriental assessment tools, although Western concepts are considered as well.
How is Shiatsu different than Regular Massage?
Our techniques are different - Shiatsu therapy uses specific, rhythmic techniques of pressing, holding, kneading, stretching, and tapping along meridians and acupuncture points to regulate body functioning. The overall goal is unique and different, as well.
Massage therapy usually involves rubbing and kneading the body using oils. Swedish massage acts on the circulatory system of the body to improve circulation. It also affects muscle tissue to relieve muscle tension and pain.
The goal of Shiatsu is to restore the natural flow of qi, which opens and increases the flow of the divine power of the universe in your system. By opening this flow – removing blockages felt as pain, tension, or emptiness, “your system can naturally begin to repair ailments, maintain harmonious metabolism and prevent disease”. Dr. DoAnn T. Kaneko, L.A.c., Ph.D., O.M.D
The amount of pressure is applied according to your specific condition – as determined by the intake, and your tolerance. No oils are used, and you may wear loose clothes during the treatment. Shiatsu treatments help to relieve pain and improve organ function. All of your bodies systems are addressed.
However – each therapist has their own additional skill sets, theories, intuitive abilities and style.
I believe that there are many ways to open the flow of energy in the body – everything from deeply pressing into the connective tissue of the body to working in the energetic field and not even touching the body. This is the art of bodywork – to determine when and what is needed and can be accepted by the client.
Because I am certified in Clinical Aromatherapy and other alternative health systems, your Shiatsu session may include the use of essential oils that are associated with each meridian and related organ system to assist the body in establishing balance.
For instance, if your assessment shows “cold conditions” such as stiffness, cold limbs, and certain digestive complaints – warming oils may be applied to certain acupuncture points and its entire meridian pathway to add even more warmth and assist the flow of Qi.
Does Shiatsu hurt?
I get asked this question all the time! I doubt you would come back if the whole session was painful, so what would be the fun of that? You will find that during the session, we will find places, or acupoints, on your body that are holding pain. Pain, in its simplest form, is just stuck energy. The point of the session is to ensure the free flow of Qi in the meridians or channels. When we find the painful spots, we will gently move into them to release them – and only to your pain tolerance. Most people describe this as good pain. This type of pain generally releases during the session.
What can I expect to feel after a Shiatsu treatment?
Most people report a feeling of being deeply calm, but energized. These reactions can be due to the energetic effect of a Shiatsu session. However, the full effects of a treatment may also take several days to achieve. Occasionally a new patient may have a 'healing reaction' after the first few sessions. Symptoms such as headache, stiffness, diarrhea, desire to urinate frequently, or lethargy may be experienced due to the release of toxins. These symptoms are transitory and soon pass, usually in 12 hours. Rest and drinking plenty of water will help. The practitioner can be contacted for advice and reassurance if required.
Most people have two opposing tendencies: one, the wish to regain health and freedom; the other, to remain attached to old behavior patterns which reinforce the sickness. An important benefit of Shiatsu is that in addition to aiding the healing process and providing relief from symptoms, it can also assist the receiver to become aware of what they need to do to help themselves and improve their quality of life.
Your overall improvement in health will be greatly enhanced by any improvements made in all the aspects of health - proper nutrition for your type, exercise, herbs/oils, meditation and bodywork. Taking small daily steps to support your body are also helpuful. These include minor dietary changes, resting when tired, drinking water, breathing, gently moving your body each day with walking, yoga, Qi Gong or Tai Chi movements, and focusing on what is going well in your life.
Changes in any of these areas will create positive change. Changes in all of these areas will create complete healing.
How to gain the most benefit from a Shiatsu Treatment
How many treatments will I need?
It will depend on your situation and goals. Normally, you will feel relief from your pain with one treatment. I wish I could undo in an hour what has probably taken years to develop in your body, but the reality is a series will be needed in order to clear and balance the root cause of problem. Acute flare ups usually take 3-4 treatments; chronic, deep issues may take 6-12 regularly scheduled weekly treatments or more. Also, any changes you make in diet, exercise, and stress reduction on a daily basis will greatly affect your outcome.
Single sessions are available for your convenience as needed, and Well Being Plans are available for those looking for consistent focus and assistance. Book A Session
Do you use oils?
Since Shiatsu is preformed over the clothing, typically I don’t use any lubricating oils. Sometimes cornstarch is used to smooth the skin on the neck or abdomen. Since I am trained in Clinical Aromatherapy, essential oils are used on certain points or areas.
What other forms of healing work can I have in my session?
My primary treatment methods are Shiatsu bodywork and essential oils from both western and eastern methods. However, I am trained in many energy, intuitive, and healing modalities. I feel that often these skills come into play during your session, just because they are such a part of who I am. You may request another modalities and decide how we can fit them into your session. Examples: Spring Forest Qi Gong or an intuitive reading (see bottom of page for more examples).
What should I wear?
Please wear clean workout type clothing. A T-shirt, lightweight sweats, or any comfortable clothing that will stretch and move is best for your comfort.
What is expected of me during my appointment?
My priority is to meet your expectations of a positive, comfortable healing session. Communication is key. Please inform me or any therapist if you are uncomfortable in anyway – temperature, pressure, position on the table. Never assume that I know when something hurts.
What forms do I need to fill out?
You will need to fill out a client intake form, which you can print out from the Book A Session page and bring with you to your first session. Also, a client bill of rights will be signed according to Minnesota Law.
Will my hour long appointment be only an hour?
You receive the full hour of hands on service. I schedule enough time in between clients so you get the whole hour. Typically the first appointment is 1.5 hours, which includes your intake, and assessment. Also, please leave time for yourself after the appointment to make a transition back into your day, whether that means laying down for a few minutes or having a cup of tea.
What forms of payment do you accept?
Cash, check, or check card (Visa, MasterCard and American Express).
What is your cancellation policy?
Please call at least 24 hours if you need to change or cancel an appointment. If you fail to notify Jodi you may be billed for the time unless it was able to be filled with another appointment.
Do you take Insurance?
No. If you have a medical professional referring you for Massage Therapy, bring me a written prescription. This will allow me to not charge Sales tax. Also, check with your provider to see if money spent on Massage Therapy (Shiatsu is considered massage therapy) can be included as an expense in your HSA accounts.
Additional Therapies Provided by Jodi
Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy in which the dried herb "mugwort" (Artemisia vulgaris) is burned near the surface of the skin in order to trigger natural healing responses in the body. The use of moxibustion predates acupuncture, with records of the practice dating back many centuries B.C. In Japan, scientists have found that the infrared radiation from burning mugwort is very similar to the natural infrared radiation in the human body. The result is that the heat from moxibustion penetrates deeply into the body, giving a warming effect which lasts for several days after the treatment. This kind of stimulation, at specific points on the body, can dramatically boost the immune system and trigger other profound effects, which include a reduction in blood coagulation time and an increase in adrenal activity.
In China, archaeologists have found evidence of cupping dating back to 1,000 B.C. And, the Ebers Papyrus, one of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, describes the systematic use of cupping by the early Egyptians, as far back as 1,550 B.C. Typically, cups are round vessels, 1" to 3" in diameter, and are applied to the body with vacuum suction. The vacuum is created either by means of heating the air inside the cup or by a mechanical pump. (I use a mechanicle pump). The result is that the cup creates an area of low pressure, causing the blood to gather under the cup near the surface of the body. Through this process, the circulation is dramatically increased around and below the surface of the skin where the cups are applied.
Traditionally, cupping has been used to improve blood circulation in the underlying tissues and to stimulate the internal organs. As a result, cupping is indicated for a wide range of digestive, respiratory or gynecological problems where stagnation of "qi" energy or blood is indicated. During a cupping treatment, the patient experiences a mild pulling sensation which calms the sympathetic nerves and allows a deep relaxation to move through the whole body.
Ampuku is a Japanese word for abdominal massage. In Shiatsu, the abdomen is considered the center of life force energy, and the source from which all the pathways of energy that radiate out into the body flow. A “hara” (stomach) assessment is an important part of a complete Shiatsu treatment. In keeping with the philosophy of treating the root cause of imbalances in the body, Ampuku addresses this directly. Some people enjoy having the abdomen included in their session, and find that they feel the bodywork was more complete. If you prefer not to have this included in your session, please feel free to let me know this.