In 1999, I began my study of Traditional Chinese Medicine by taking coursework in Zen Shiatsu. In 2002, I received a minor in Asian bodywork (in Zen Shiatsu) along with my Master of Science in TCM, which includes both the 5,000-year-old tradition of acupuncture and Chinese herb therapy.
My interest in hands-on work remains part of my practice. Last year, I began the study of Classical Massage. At the end of 2017, after 185 hours of instruction, I will receive my official certification, but I am integrating massage into my practice now.
So what are the differences between the two types of massage, one Western (classical) and one Eastern (Shiatsu)?
This is the familiar beloved massage, based on a style developed in Sweden.
Oil or lotion is used to provide a gliding, smooth surface on the skin. I like to add a few drops of a pleasant essential oil.
I use kneading or stroking motions to work the tissue and resolve tension.
This type of massage relieves muscle tightness and soreness, and helps the patient feel deep physical relaxation.
Shiatsu is a finger-pressure therapy based on acupuncture meridian theory.
It originated in Japan, though now there are many styles in use.
The patient wears loose, comfortable clothes. Stretching is integrated into the session
Local Injuries and pain are often soothed indirectly through treating a different area.
Sometimes we may work on resolving emotional issues such as depression, anxiety, or anger.
When I do Shiatsu, the patient and I enter a meditative, calm state.
When I give classical massage, it is a warm, pleasant feeling for us, like working in the garden or baking bread.
I think both types of massage have their uses.