Shiatsu massage to relieve neck pain – effective or not?

Shiatsu massage to relieve neck pain – effective or not?

What exactly is Shiatsu massage?

Shiatsu is a deep tissue massage which is helpful in relieving chronic tight or painful muscles, postural problems, and repetitive strains. Shiatsu massage to relieve neck pain is often preferred by people who are shy about exposing their body because you can get this massage done even you are fully clothed.  Shiatsu massage is a very popular style of massage in many parts of the world.

Shiatsu massages involves massaging the pressure points in your neck and thereby increasing blood circulation in the neck muscles. It’s known to be incredibly beneficial in relieving the neck pain as well as helping the body regain energetic homeostasis thereby improving the overall health of the person. This massage is based on the traditional Chinese concept of clearing the disruptions in the flow of blood and qi (chi energy) throughout the body. Disruptions of veins (pathways of blood and qi energy flow) increase the chance of illness and stress in the muscles of a person. The energy and blood flow can be restored by applying pressure by using fingers and thumbs in certain points in the body.

Shiatsu massages involves rubbing, squeezing, tapping and applying deep pressure and it does not use needles. Specific benefits of shiatsu include:

  • Relaxing your body muscles
  • Reducing stiffness and soreness of certain body joints
  • Improving the flexibility of muscles
  • Providing relief against headaches, migraine headaches, and neck pain
  • Relieving whiplash and abdominal pain
  • Improving knee function in people suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Reducing stress, depression, and anxiety.
  • Effective against organ dysfunction
  • Helps with pregnancy issues

The best part is that you can do Shiatsu along with other treatments without the fear of any side effects. That’s why patients who suffer from chronic conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, sciatica, and musculoskeletal conditions use shiatsu massage along with other treatments to reduce pain and helping the body regain energetic homeostasis.

What are the principles of shiatsu?

Chinese medicine says there are 12 meridians (energy channels) in your body and through these meridians the Qi(life energy) flows fluidly through all the vital organs, muscles, and nerve tissues of the body, allowing for good health and vitality. When a meridian becomes blocked, the Qi energy stagnates in the part of the body where it wasblocked and it causes a deficit of energy in the other parts of the body where the meridian carries energy.  All mental, emotional, and physical disease is caused due to the blockage of Qi (life energy) in our body.

This may be hard for westerners to really understand, but essentially Shiatsu practitioners are trained to apply pressure to the parts of your body where the energy has been blocked, and restore the energy flow thereby restoring your overall health.  Personally, I never mind too much about why things like this work if they provide me some relief from my pain!

Is Shiatsu massage scientifically proven?

In 2006 researchers from Thames University conducted a study on the patients who have done shiatsu massage as an alternative, or complementary, form of treatment for health issues.  Many health benefits of Shiatsu massage were highlighted in the base study.
Then in 2011, the 1,714 studies evaluated by the Thames University researchers about general effectiveness of treatment found that there were numerous physical and psychological benefits from this form of treatment.

Is Shiatsu massage painful?

Not at all. Unlike acupuncture, Shiatsu Massage does not require needles. Most people find Shiatsu  a relaxing experience. Applying pressure to certain points may cause tenderness and you can always let your Shiatsu practitioner know about that so that he can adjust the pressure applied in those areas.

How can I get started with shiatsu?

It’s important to find a qualified Shiatsu massage practitioner in your area.  Ask around, or search on the internet.  Many full service spas and day spas will provide different modalities of massage, so call around until you find one that offers Shiatsu.

What if I can’t find a practitioner in my area, or I can’t afford Shiatsu massage?

Neck and shoulder shiatsu massagers with heat are one solution for those who either cannot find a Shiatsu practitioner in their area, cannot afford Shiatsu massage sessions, or can’t afford them regularly enough to stay on top of your neck tension and pain.

Be sure to buy a reliable model with a fairly long cord.  Use the factory settings on the massage strength, find a model that also has heat, and only buy a quality Shiatsu massager as cheap Shiatsu massagers may get broken with regular use.  I normally do massage therapy about once per month to manage my chronic neck pain, but I use an electronic Shiatsu massage pillow on a regular basis, probably every couple of days, to relieve the muscle tension in my neck.

The HoMedics Shiatsu massage pillow is the one that I have, and I have to say it works great.  It’s easy because I can use it on the floor, bed, or couch (really depending on how much pressure I want), and by adjusting my own position I can vary the depth of the massage and the area of my neck and shoulders that it is massaging.  No, it’s not as good as a real shiatsu massage, but it’s the next best thing, and it really helps with maintenance in between massage sessions.




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