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Photo: Lara Usherwood © 2009


"A moment of deep peace can express itself with just an outbreath.

The whole facial expression relaxes as if for a moment there is no "me", the "me" that is troubled, restless and confused.

It's just a moment, but it means for that moment that you have really contacted that deep source within and that will do its own work.

As a Shiatsu practitioner I have to create the right conditions for that to happen."

Sonia Moriceau Sensei    


Shiatsu in japanese literally means "finger pressure" and Shiatsu is sometimes called that, or even more often, acupressure.

The character "shi" means "finger", but also "touch"; the character "atsu" means "pressure" but also "power". A better translation, more in keeping with the true nature of Shiatsu therapy might therefore be "the power of touch".

Shiatsu, in its present form and with that name is a relatively new therapy. It originated in Japan in the early 20th century.

However, Shiatsu is based on an ancient system of Chinese Medicine, the same one used in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbalism, for example.

This system uses a concept of "Ki" ("Ch'i" or "Qi" in chinese). Ki can losely be translated as "energy". In its broadest sense, Ki is a universal energy, present anywhere in nature - in animate and inanimate objects.

Ki also has a more specific meaning of "that which animates matter". For an organism to be alive and to function well, Ki must flow well and be in balance.

Within a human body, there is a network of energy lines (meridians) and points (acu points) that are believed to carry KI, much like the different currents within the sea.

Shiatsu aims to access these lines and points in a way that re-energises and re-balances the whole of body and mind.

Photo: Lara Usherwood © 2009

Shiatsu uses many different techniques. They can be slow and subtle or brisk and energising.

Techniques include thumb, palm, elbow or knee pressure, as well as stretching and rocking. There are also manipulation techniques not unlike those used in Physiotherapy.

Indeed, Shiatsu is sometimes called "japanese physiotherapy".


Photo: Lara Usherwood © 2009

The principal aim of Shiatsu is to assist the body's natural healing process by encouraging the client's energy to move into a more balanced state.


As well as being beneficial for specific injuries and general symptoms of poor health, regular use can reduce the build up of daily stress.








The spirit of Shiatsu is that of communication through touch.

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