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Shiatsu (指圧 Japanese from shi, meaning finger, and atsu, meaning pressure) is a traditional Japanese hands-on therapy based on anatomical and physiological theory and is regulated as a licensed medical therapy with the Ministry of Health and Welfare in Japan. Shiatsu is an evolving form. Various styles (called Derivative Shiatsu) incorporate (to differing degrees) aspects of Japanese massage traditions, Chinese Medicine practice, and "Western" anatomy and physiology.
Additional recommended knowledge
History of Shiatsu
Shiatsu, as well as Teate （手当て）, originated in Japan. There were many hands-on therapies called Teate before traditional Chinese therapies such as Acupuncture and Tuina (called Anma in Japan) were introduced to Japan. The term Shiatsu might be first cited in a 1915 book, Tenpaku Tamai's Shiatsu Ryōhō.
Tokujiro Namikoshi founded the Japan Shiatsu College in 1940 and systematized a form of Shiatsu therapy based on Western anatomy and physiology. In Japan, Namikoshi's system enjoys special legal status, and its adherents often credit him with the development of Shiatsu; the story is told that at age seven, Tokujiro Namikoshi developed a technique of pressing with his thumbs and palms as he tried to nurse his mother who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis.
Namikoshi treated many high profile persons such as former Japanese Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida and other successive prime ministers, the prosecutor for the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, Prosecutor Keenan, as well as celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali. In this way, Shiatsu became known not only in Japan but also overseas.
Other styles of Shiatsu exist; adherents of the Namikoshi system generally contend that these are derived from the work of Namikoshi and refer to them as Derivative Shiatsu.
Since 1980 the evolution and development of Shiatsu has largely taken place in Europe and North America:
Definition of Shiatsu
—Japanese medical department of the Ministry of Welfare (current Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare) in December 1957.
Essence of Shiatsu
The characteristic of Shiatsu is to practice using only the fingers, palms and especially the thumbs, but the essence of Shiatsu is “Diagnosis and Therapy combined.”
“Diagnosis and Therapy combined” is the ability of the practitioner to use his sensory organs (palms, fingers, and thumbs) to detect irregularities, such as stiffness of the surface of the body, and to promptly correct or heal these problems. To acquire this skill takes considerable experience. The defining difference between Shiatsu therapy and modern and Kampo medicine (also known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), such as acupuncture and moxibustion) is this “Diagnosis and Therapy combined”; the fact that Shiatsu does not always require previous diagnosis before commencing treatment.
In modern medicine, the course of treatment can only be decided after a diagnosis has been made. In TCM, it is also necessary to diagnose before treating. In Shiatsu therapy, practitioners promote the prevention and recovery of illnesses by stimulating the immune system and natural healing power that people already possess. Therefore, even without a diagnosis or with a language barrier, practitioners can, to quote Tokujiro Namikoshi, treat patients with “thumbs and thin futon” at any time. Treating the body as a whole, so they say, helps to restore the physical functions of the nervous system, circulatory system, bone structure, muscles, and internal secretion and stimulates its alleged natural ability to heal illness. That being said, skilled practitioners can contribute considerably to regional health and medical treatment.
In Japan, anyone who practices Shiatsu therapy must be licensed with the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Shiatsupractors are required to study at least three years/2,200 hour educational program of Shiatsu therapy in the universities or colleges which are authorized by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and pass the national exam to be licensed.
"Shiatsupractor" is the name given to a recently proposed international standardized Shiatsu license. The name Shiatsupractor was first used in British Columbia, Canada in the 1990s. Presently, at the end of 2003, in the regions of North America (United States, and Canada), Europe (member nations of the EU), and Japan, the use of Shiatsupractor is officially protected as a registered trademark. In Japan, the educational standard for Shiatsupractor approval corresponds to that of the licenses for Anma, Massage, and Shiatsu practitioners.
Shiatsu originated in Japan and has migrated to many corners of the Earth. As such, every nation and state has devised its own method of certification and licensure, often overlapping with the licenses for massage.
In the U.S., one professional organization for Asian Bodywork Therapy (including Shiatsu) is the AOBTA (American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia). This organization is seeking statewide standardization of Asian Bodywork licensure requirements. To date, the AOBTA has been named specifically in the licensure laws of Illinois and Washington, DC. The AOBTA is also working with the NCCAOM (National Certification Council for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) to introduce mandatory, standardized national board certification to the profession.
The AOBTA and NCCAOM require applicants to present a portfolio of training including anatomy and physiology, Chinese medicine, student clinic, primary discipline training, and elective coursework.
1. Internal jugular vein thrombosis associated with shiatsu massage of the neck. Wada Y - J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry - 01-JAN-2005; 76(1): 142-3
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Shiatsu". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|