Shiatsu is a form of therapeutic bodywork from Japan. It uses kneading, pressing, soothing, tapping, and stretching techniques and is performed without oils through light, comfortable clothing.
"Shiatsu" translates as "finger pressure." There are different styles of Shiatsu, all of which have roots in one of three systems that developed in Japan in the early 1900s as a result of a resurgence of Japan's traditional medical therapies, including acupuncture and anma massage. Shiatsu developed at this time from the integration of traditional Japanese manual therapies with modern western medical knowledge.
In the U.S., Shiatsu is one of the main therapies within the larger profession of Asian Bodywork Therapy.
Gua Sha is a healing technique that involves rubbing the skin with a dull edge to eliminate toxic residue from the underlying tissue that has built up through repetitive chronic inflammation. This cutaneous palpation creates a comfortable sensation and is used for chronic chest congestion and for breaking up old scar tissue caused by injury or general wear and tear.
Cupping is the term applied to a technique that uses small glass cups or bamboo jars as suction devices that are placed on the skin. The suction in the cups causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be lightly drawn into the cup. Cupping is much like the inverse of massage - rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. For most patients, this is a particularly relaxing and relieving sensation. Once suctioned, the cups are generally left in place for about ten minutes while the patient relaxes.
Generally, cupping is combined with acupuncture in one treatment, but it can also be used alone. The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system . Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines and rheumatism and is an excellent modality for lung congestion – especially bronchitis and asthma.
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