pam_moolman Pamela Moolman


Shiatsu at the Chiron Centre in Bristol

Shiatsu is a physical therapy that supports and strengthens the body’s natural ability to heal and balance itself. It works on the whole person not just the physical body, but also the psychological, emotional and spiritual being.

Shiatsu originated in Japan from traditional Chinese medicine, with influences from more recent Western therapies. Although shiatsu means ‘finger pressure’ in Japanese, in practice a practitioner uses touch, pressure and manipulative techniques to adjust the body’s physical structure and balance its energy flow. Blockages and stagnation can occur in the meridian energy-flow lines causing varied health and psychological issues which when released allows for a freer flow of energy throughout the system. It is a deeply relaxing experience and regular treatments can alleviate stress and illness and maintain health and well-being.

Styles of Shiatsu

Today, Shiatsu has a number of different styles, philosophical approaches and theoretical bases; and practitioners around the world are still evolving new approaches to treatment. Some concentrate on acupressure points, while others emphasize more general work on the body or along the pathways of energy to influence the Qi that flows in them. Other styles highlight diagnostic systems, such as the Five Element system or the Zen approach. However all are based on traditional Chinese medicine. Besides the various approaches to Shiatsu the individual shiatsu therapist will bring to their treatments differing aspects from their other studies; for instance counselling, movement techniques or other medical theories and applications.

How does Shiatsu treatment work?

Based on the initial diagnosis and on physical and visual feedback gained during the session, the practitioner will seek to even out the perceived energy imbalances through pressure on the meridians, probably in conjunction with other techniques such as rocking, stretches and joint rotations.

Is Shiatsu massage?

Shiatsu has some features in common with European-style massage and other forms of bodywork in that the use of physical pressure and stretches serves to reduce muscular tension and loosen stiff joints. However, unlike massage, the receiver remains clothed during the treatment and the principal aim of Shiatsu is not to work on localised muscles and joints, but on the overall energy system of the client. This is the big difference between Shiatsu and other physical therapies. A Shiatsu practitioner working on a shoulder joint, for example, will not just be focusing on the joint but on the pattern of energy throughout the client’s body.

About the Session

The session commences with an initial conversation followed by some physical treatment which is performed on a futon mat on the floor. During the first session with a client the initial dialogue will occupy more time to determine the clients issues and medical history. The client is fully clothed. Loose and flexible clothing is recommended as some stretching and body manipulation may be involved in the session. Wear similar clothes as you would to a yoga or gym class. The philosophy underlying Shiatsu is that Qi flows throughout the body in a series of channels called meridians. For many different reasons Qi can stop flowing freely and this then produces a symptom.

Fee Treatment duration
£45 1 hour (Pamela)