A Japanese technique similar to Acupressure, using finger and thumb pressure on precise body points to encourage the proper flow of Chi, the vital force or energy, to circulate through the body. A Japanese bodywork technique, Shiatsu uses pressure to stimulate points on acupuncture meridians. Practice of shiatsu is usually accompanied by study of Chinese five-element theory and meridians, and it involves a way of looking at the body that is completely different from the “muscles, bones and blood” view of Western science, focusing instead on the flow of life energy through meridians. The practitioner uses thumbs, palms and fingers to apply pressure to specific points. The touch is generally more forceful than massage. Rather than use a massage table, shiatsu practitioners may have the patient rest on a pad on the floor. This allows practitioners to use their own body to brace the patient during certain stretches.

Ohashiatsu a variation of Shiatsu developed by an American born Japanese practitioner named Ohashi. Ohashiatsu is a system of physical techniques, exercise, and meditation used to relieve tension and fatigue and induce a state of harmony and peace. The practitioner first assesses a person’s state by feeling the hara (the area below the navel). Then, using continuous and flowing movements, the practitioner presses and stretches the body’s energy channels, working in unison with the person’s breathing.


Results are very positive. Animals are extremely responsive to this type of bodywork and results are very positive. Sessions may last for an hour or in some cases an hour and ½. They understand the language of touch and are usually willing shiatsu recipients. Working with your animals for their better health can create a closer partnership between you. Shiatsu has the same contraindications of massage and most bodywork modalities including relieving muscle soreness and spasms, keeps joints well-lubricated and muscles strong and supple, enhances mental clarity, focus and performance, relieves some behavior problems associated with fear and anxiety, removing toxins and increases blood supply and energy flow, speeds recovery from illness and surgery, helps recovery from medication, boosts the immune system, helps relieve arthritis and other chronic conditions, reduces pain by releasing endorphins and swelling by releasing natural cortisone, aids in digestive, respiratory and skin disorders, gives an overall sense of well being, useful in first aid and trauma to reduce shock, bleeding and pain, helps enhance good behavior patterns.


Some Shiatsu programs may be substituted for massage therapist programs and qualify practitioners for licensing or registration as massage therapists for humans.