Typical Shiatsu Session


When you come for a shiatsu massage I ask you to wear loose, comfortable clothing, such as a cotton t-shirt or top and tracksuit bottoms. You can usually expect to lie flat on a futon so that your muscles relax as much as possible. However, don’t worry if it would be difficult for you to get down to floor level as shiatsu massage can also be done seated or on a massage bed – whatever is appropriate and easy for you.

Be prepared to tell me what you would like worked on, for example, if you have frequent headaches, where exactly on your head does it hurt, is there a time of day that they happen or that they are worse – maybe in the morning or at bedtime or after spending time on a computer, perhaps it’s after eating spicy food, reading for a long time, or maybe even after taking vigorous exercise. Also make sure to tell me about any western medical treatment you are receiving.

Shiatsu works best if you are as relaxed and comfortable as possible, so during the physical treatment you should close your eyes, relax your muscles as much as possible (I will do all the work for you if movement is needed!) and try not to speak unless it’s really necessary. But you must let me know if you feel any discomfort at all or your body may start to tense and the benefit of the session will be reduced.

A shiatsu session usually lasts for about an hour, with a first treatment being up to 15 minutes longer to allow for taking a fairly detailed medical history and list of all your symptoms.

I start to make a shiatsu diagnosis through first talking to you and also taking notice of any other clues, for example, your complexion, voice, posture and so on. This helps me start to assess where your ki is flowing healthily and where it may be a bit blocked or weaker. I usually start off the treatment by working a little on your abdomen area, this also is part of the diagnosis.

Based on the initial diagnosis (and on physical and visual feedback I get from your body during the session), I will try to encourage your body to even out energy imbalances through applying pressure using my thumbs, fingers, knuckles, palms, and occasionally knees or elbows along the meridians, often alongside other techniques such as rocking, stretches or joint rotations.

Sophia 1

A seated shiatsu session on a massage chair.

As with diagnosis, shiatsu is holistic, so I work on your whole body rather than necessarily focusing just on the area where symptoms are most obvious. Every body and every situation is unique, so no two treatments either on different people or separate treatments on the same person will be identical.