A massage art from Japan

Most recently, we have written here in this health blog about traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the traditional medicine with the widest distribution. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) combines many historically different Chinese forms of treatment as well as some diagnostic modalities. It is based on assumptions derived from Taoist philosophy. 

What is Shiatsu?

We stay in Asia, in Japan to be precise. Shiatsu is a Japanese form of massage with roots in traditional Chinese medicine. This is a massage art that can release blocked energy in the body by means of finger pressure and stimulate the body’s own self-healing powers. “Shiatsu” translated means “finger pressure”.

Shiatsu was developed in Japan about 100 years ago. Traditionally, Shiatsu is performed on a clothed person on a futon. For about 40 years, Shiatsu has also been established in the West and developed in its own way.” (Source: GSD, Society for Shiatsu in Germany).

Shiatsu massage uses pressure from the palms, fingers, thumbs and elbows to act on specific areas of the body along the energy lines. This pressure point massage relieves tension, releases blockages and increases general wellbeing.. The relaxing and calming effect of the Shiatsu massage  unfolds particularly well in cases of stress as well as muscle and joint complaints in the shoulder, neck and back area.

Shiatsu as a massage technique focuses on life energy and the body’s self-healing powers. By activating the acupuncture points, the balance of life energy is restored. The self-healing powers of the body are activated.

Life energy Qi and the 12 meridians

When we are in good health, our life energy, called Qi, flows freely through the meridians that run throughout the body. A total of 12 main meridians are distinguished, each of which is assigned to a different organ or region of the body.

The 12 main meridians are divided into Yin and Yang. The Yin organs (kidneys, liver, heart, spleen and lungs) store, process and regulate pure energies. The Yang organs process impure substances such as undigested food, urine and waste. These are: Urinary system and gall bladder, stomach, small intestine and colon. Each Yin organ with its corresponding meridian is directly connected to the Yang organ and its meridians. The meridians of kidney and bladder, liver and gall bladder, spleen and stomach, lung and colon, heart and small intestine, pericardium and the so-called triple warmer form a meridian pair.

  1. Kidney = Yin
  2. Bladder = Yang
  3. Liver = Yin
  4. Gall bladder = Yang
  5. Spleen = Yin
  6. Stomach = Yang
  7. Lungs = Yin
  8. Large intestine = Yang
  9. Heart = Yin
  10. Small intestine = Yang
  11. Pericardium = Yin
  12. Triple warmer (extraordinary organ) = Yang

Shiatsu promotes health

Initial physical symptoms such as colds, headaches, muscle aches and digestive disorders can be signs of a Qi imbalance. The flow of life energy is disturbed by inappropriate lifestyles and diet, inactivity, emotional and physical stress. If the functions of our inner organs are blocked, this can lead to a wide range of illnesses such as circulatory problems, exhaustion, heart problems, sleep disorders, allergies, food intolerances, dental problems and menstrual disorders.

Shiatsu stimulates, harmonises the flow of Qi throughout the body and supports the functions of the autonomic nervous system such as digestion, sleep, circulation, breathing and menstruation. This, in turn, helps alleviate stress and stress-related ailments.

In Japan, Shiatsu is considered a health-promoting measure that promises to cure certain ailments.

Shiatsu – Treatment, teaching and practice

Shiatsu is also used for medical and health purposes and is taught in courses at professional schools and private institutes. Many representatives of the new Shiatsu style live outside Japan. Conceptual and practical development is currently taking place mainly in Western countries.

Since autumn 2015, Shiatsu has been a recognised method of complementary therapy. However, the costs are not covered by the health insurance. Shiatsu massages cost on average between € 55 to € 70 per hour.

Important to know: Shiatsu is not a regulated profession, therefore anyone may practise Shiatsu. The GSD (Society for Shiatsu in Germany) has developed high training standards for the practitioners it recognises. The training comprises 500 hours and extends over at least three years.

Caution is advised, however, when the measures of Shiatsu, such as for the treatment of intervertebral disc problems, recommend pressing around the lumbar spine, often using the full weight of the body. When the spine is manipulated, even the most benevolent tolerance of “alternative healing methods” ceases, writes the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Alternatives to the classic Shiatsu treatment

Those who cannot or do not want to pay the high hourly rates can resort to Shiatsu massagers and Shiatsu cushions. In a traditional Shiatsu massage, pressure is applied to the tissues and muscles with the fingers or body weight, which is intended to loosen the muscles and relieve tension. Shiatsu massage devices also work according to this principle.

A Shiatsu cushion simulates the Japanese Shiatsu finger pressure massage with rotating, heated massage heads. If you press your neck firmly enough into such a pillow, the massage heads should press deep into the muscles, knead them and therefore provide pain relief. In fact, the spherical massage heads loosen up the muscles.

Neck pain is an alarm signal for stress

Being tense and stressed turn into tension and paralyse the neck and shoulder area. The Massage cushion NM 885 brings the necessary relaxation, very conveniently thanks to battery or mains operation. With three speed levels, the massage intensity can be easily regulated. The red light and heat function increases your well-being!

The MC 850 Shiatsu massage cushion offers a soothing Shiatsu massage for the shoulders, back, legs and neck. Thanks to the flexible upholstery, a particularly gentle massage is possible if desired. Two selectable speed levels and a switchable red light and heat function ensure an individually adjustable massage experience.

The MC 825 Shiatsu acupressure massage seat cover offers a relaxing Shiatsu massage for the entire back. With three selectable massage intensities and an integrated spot massage. The switchable red light and heat function provide additional relaxation.

The NM 890 neck massagerpampers with an intensive Shiatsu massage that is specially adapted to the ergonomics of the neck area. With its kneading movement, the unique massage heads give you the feeling of a real massage – carried out by the hands of a real masseur.

On this page you will find all our high-quality neck massagers for moments of wellbeing in your own home.

In fact, pillow and neck massagers apply the pressure needed to relieve tension and adhesions. The wellness effect should not be underestimated either: The electric massagers stimulate the blood circulation of the skin and muscles. However: If the massage becomes painful, it should be stopped immediately.

Stay healthy and always relaxed!


Important information
Our posts only contain general information and tips. They are not intended for self-diagnosis, self-treatment or self-medication and do not replace a visit to the doctor.


GSD, Society for Shiatsu in Germany