Shiatsu massage originated in Japan. This style of massage employs facets of traditional Chinese medicine, with an emphasis on realigning the body’s qi (or chi, meaning life force or vital energy).
Practitioners say that when energy within the body is “blocked” or “obstructed,” a person begins to experience pain and discomfort. By focusing on the body’s acupressure points, a skilled massage therapist can restore the normal flow of qi and bring it back into alignment, thus reducing the pain and discomfort and promoting healthy functioning of the affected areas.
Whether you interpret that description literally or metaphorically, shiatsu massage benefits are real and attainable not only from a massage therapist but also by using massage chairs that provide this type of session.
The Shiatsu Technique
If you have ever received a shiatsu massage from a therapist, you know how beneficial it can be. The word “shiatsu” translates to “finger pressure” in English, which is exactly what this type of massage utilizes.
Using fingers, palms, and elbows, the massage therapist applies pressure to specific acupressure points to relieve pain and restore balance to the body. By moving across the body’s surface to the joints and limbs, therapists aim to promote healing and reduce any pain the client is feeling.
Unlike Swedish massage, shiatsu applies firmer pressure to the muscles. Some people find this type of probing to be a bit uncomfortable at first. However, once the knots are worked out or “released,” you will likely feel much better and understand that the minor discomfort was a means to a very positive end.
The shiatsu “kneading” sensation that a massage therapist provides can be mimicked by massage chairs. In fact, the most advanced chairs can locate your body’s acupressure points and create shiatsu experiences that faithfully replicate those with a skilled therapist.
Shiatsu Massage Benefits
People who provide or receive shiatsu massages have observed through the years that sessions provide many benefits. Specifically, shiatsu massages are known to do the following:
- Improve blood circulation
- Reduce fatigue
- Support better sleep
- Reduce stress and feelings of anxiety
- Relieve muscle pain
- Speed recovery from intense exercise or injuries
Those who get regular shiatsu massages often say that they feel more energized and generally healthier. That could be from improving the flow of qi, breaking up muscle adhesions, improving blood flow, or all of these and other effects in combination.
Shiatsu Massage Chair History
Shiatsu massage chairs have been around since 1962. That is when Nichimu Inada developed the first mechanized shiatsu massage chair. An icon of the massage chair industry, Inada has since been responsible for many inventions and innovations that are incorporated into high-end massage chairs. This includes air cells, infrared electronic sensors that help a chair emulate the movements of a traditional shiatsu massage, and others.
Though Inada is no longer at the forefront of massage chair innovation, today’s manufacturers of full-body shiatsu massage chairs owe a debt of gratitude to him and his passion for developing technology that enables automated, lifelike shiatsu massages. And companies continue to innovate, with features like zero gravity shiatsu massage chairs that create a soothing sense of weightlessness.
Experience the Best Shiatsu Massage Chairs
It is helpful to get an answer to the question “What is a shiatsu massage?” But if you are shopping for a shiatsu massage chair, experiencing several options at a Furniture For Life showroom is essential. Having an intellectual understanding of shiatsu is one thing, but developing a physical familiarity with this technique is something altogether different.
Our friendly and knowledgeable Comfort Consultants will learn about your wants and needs and then guide you through “test drives” of the appropriate products from our curated collection of The World’s Best Massage Chairs®.