Shiatsu is a form of Japanese bodywork based on ideas in traditional Chinese medicine. It is also known as Japanese meridian therapy.

This form of massage derives from a Japanese massage modality called anma which was itself adapted from tui na, a Chinese bodywork system that arrived in Japan by the Nara period (710–793).

In the Japanese language, shiatsu means “finger pressure” and techniques include massaging with fingers, thumbs, feet and palms, assisted stretching and joint manipulation and mobilization. To examine a patient, a shiatsu practitioner uses palpation and sometimes, pulse diagnosis.

The Japanese Ministry of Health defines shiatsu as “a form of manipulation by thumbs, fingers and palms without the use of instruments, mechanical or otherwise, to apply pressure to the human skin to correct internal malfunctions, promote and maintain health and treat specific diseases”.

The techniques used in shiatsu include stretching, holding, and most commonly, leaning body weight into various points along key meridians in a similar way to Chinese acupressure massage or acupuncture.

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