Sunday, 9 March 2008

Seated Shiatsu

I regularly attend a local university to do On-site massage with three other colleagues. My three colleagues all practice On-site massage and use On-site massage chairs. Where as I practice seated Shiatsu and use a kneeling chair. On my last visit I was asked what the difference was.

Both practices are a mixture of acupressure and massage. Acupressure being the application of pressure into the body at "tsubo" or "acu points". The same points into which Acupuncturists insert needles.

Seated Shiatsu is a mode of Shiatsu that is particularly suited to short sessions in working environments.

At first sight, the kneeling chair often used by shiatsu practitioners, appears to be at a disadvantage to the On-site chair. The On-site chair providing far more support for the client, enabling them to relax. However, this apparent weakness is actually the kneeling chairs strength.

  • 360ยบ access: the kneeling chair provides access to the front of the body as well as the back. The structure created to provide upper body support in On-site chairs restricts access to the chest.
  • Postural observation: because the client has to maintain their own posture the practitioner can easily observe any asymmetry in that posture, highlighting areas of collapse or poor tone and the subsequent areas of stress created in compensation.
  • Postural realignment: as the practitioner helps to realign their posture the client becomes aware of how the alignment was achieved and the subsequent effect on relaxation. This process can increase the chance of the client being able to create their own relaxation due to postural awareness rather being dependant on their masseur.
  • Interactive support: support is provided by the practitioner. The close contact of this support can increase awareness of where the client holds. Not just in the area being treated but deeper in the body. When supported well the relaxation runs deep, partly due to increased human contact however also in part due to trust.
  • Twisting stretches: the kneeling chair allows for stretching, in particular, twisting of the trunk.
  • Extension of Ki: The kneeling chair forces the Shiatsu practitioner to rely on the use of Ki and correct angle of penetration to effectively apply acupressure. This is because applying too much pressure will create resistance in the client as they have to maintain their own posture.

  • Some days, however, people just want to abdicate all to their practitioner for a little while. The On-site chair excels at this. The On-site chair also enables the practitioner to get more body weight behind their acupressure.

    In conclusion the kneeling chair creates far more interaction and as a practitioner I find this a big advantage, however this is not always what the client wants.