Shiatsu is a type of massage therapy that was primarily developed in Japan. With its name derived from the Japanese term for "finger pressure," it involves applying pressure to specific points on the body, moving from one point to another in a rhythmic sequence.
As in acupressure, practitioners of shiatsu apply pressure to points on the body thought to be connected to pathways called "meridians". By stimulating these points, such therapists aim to promote the flow of vital energy (also known as "chi") and facilitate healing. According to the principles of TCM, blockages in the flow of chi can contribute to a wide range of illnesses
Research on the health effects of shiatsu is fairly limited, but there's some evidence that it may offer certain benefits.
For example, a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2008 suggests that shiatsu may help reduce stress and alleviate fatigue. In a survey of 633 people who had recently completed six months of shiatsu treatments, the study's authors also found that shiatsu may help ease symptoms associated with muscle and joint problems.
Some research also indicates that shiatsu shows promise in the treatment of certain pain-causing conditions.