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Traditional Japanese Shiatsu Therapy


What Is Shiatsu Therapy?

Shiatsu simply translated means "finger pressure" and refers to the technique of using sustained, flowing pressure, with primarily the thumbs, palms, and sometimes lower arms, to balance or to regulate the flow of life force energy (called Ki in Japanese or Chi in Chinese) circulating throughout the body from the extremities to the internal organs, along channels known as meridians. These pathways are best understood in Western terms by drawing a comparison with the nervous system, which has a key role in maintaining balance within the body.

Shiatsu Helps:

  • Increase energy

  • Induce deep relaxation

  • Correct digestive and circulatory conditions

  • Back and neck pain

  • New and expectant mothers

  • Stress-related conditions

  • PMS and menstrual disorders

  • Muscle stiffness

  • Headaches and migraines

  • Insomnia

  • M.S., Fibromyalgia and other autoimmune issues
    Plus many other chronic conditions

Smiling Woman

 Frequently Asked Questions

How does Shiatsu differ from Swedish Massage, as practiced by a Registered Massage Therapist?

Swedish massage is practiced directly on the skin, requiring a massage oil or gel, and focuses on the circulatory and lymphatic system while the client lies on a massage table. Shiatsu therapy is practiced through the client’s own loose clothing, without the need for oils, on a thick futon mattress on the floor while lying on the back, side, and front lying positions, wherever possible. Treatments can also be adapted to a low massage table.

How long can I expect a session to last?

A Shiatsu treatment generally lasts for 1 to 1 1/2 hours in order to treat as much of the body as possible. Shorter sessions can be arranged for children, or for those coming more frequently.

How does Shiatsu work?

According to techniques and assessment principles of Traditional Chinese medicine, shiatsu works by releasing stagnation of energy in the meridians or channels associated with each internal organ, as well as targeting the reflex zones in the back and abdomen to addresses the root causes or imbalances within the body, rather than targeting specific symptoms, in order to stimulate the client’s own healing potential. In Western medical terms, by focusing on areas of muscle contraction, with a knowledge of the musculo-skeletal system – the use of sustained and flowing thumb or palm pressure sends a message to the brain to release the body’s own pain reducing and “feel good” hormones, with the purpose of getting your body out of “Flight or Fight” stress mode, and into “Rest and Digest” relax mode.

How much pressure is used?

Pressure may be mild to moderate, focused or diffuse, but always takes the needs and constitutional state of the client into consideration. Sometimes gentle, passive stretching and shaking techniques and energy work like reiki is incorporated into the treatment – especially for more acute injuries - such as a trauma to the body, flare up from fractures, disc problems or post-operative pain. Moxabustion -the indirect burning of refined mugwort -over the problem area, may assist with pain control, improving general circulation. Cupping – the use of silicone or plastic cups to create a vacuum and clear congestion within the tissues, can also be used if required or requested.

Is Shiatsu Therapy covered by my extended health insurance?

This is case-specific, so you will have to check with your insurer or human resources within your place of employment. Some companies do include shiatsu coverage if requested by enough of their employees. (An example of a group with coverage is the Retired Teachers Association of Ontario.) Both growing public demand, and the increase in referrals from a variety of health care professionals, are an excellent indication that Shiatsu therapy is a viable and excellent complement to any preventative or rehabilitative health care regime, so do request for it to be included in your extended insurance plan.

What credentials should I look for in a shiatsu therapist?

To be certain that the professional you seek is fully qualified, make sure your therapist is a member of a regulatory association such as the Shiatsu Therapy Association of Ontario (S.T.A.O.), which uses the trademark Certified Shiatsu Therapist (CST) to indicate its members have graduated from a 2200 hour, two-year diploma program. For more information visit Shiatsu Therapy Association of Ontario

Shiatsu Massage


"Lovely! Thanks to Raissa and a shiatsu treatment at Hand to Heart Healing, I'm feeling pretty darn good in the old stiff back department. 1 hr & 30 mins of just focusing on me for a change. My goodness, what a nice way to un-knot and relax.”

— R.W.

"A great experience from start to finish. I had one of the best sleeps of my life last night and I am standing taller and breathing easier this morning. I would recommend her to anyone who wants to be treated with respect and get great results.”

— R.C.

Types of Sessions

Hiking in Nature

90 or 75 minutes

Introductory session:

Hiking in Nature

Subsequent sessions:

90/75/60 minutes

Hiking in Nature

Children/youth/elderly or those returning more than once per week:

40 or 30 minute sessions

Please call or email for the most recent pricing information. 
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