Japanese therapeutic massage

The origins of shiatsu

Japanese medicine originates from china. In the 6th century, numerous masters in Chinese medicine comes to stay in Japan and in the 7th century many schools, intended to educate specialists, are installed, teaching acupuncture and massage.

In the course of development of oriental manual therapies, all originating from Téaté, one can distinguish Anma and Dôin – Angyô, practices in which shiatsu has its roots.

Téaté does not, strictly speaking have a theoretical foundation and exists since the beginning of time. It literally means (Té) the hand (até) at the right time and at the right place, and refers to the basic instinct to put the hand on the harmed body, the first of all medical therapies.

Anma more clearly organizes itself around the principle of vital energy (Ki) and meridians. It works with the principles of tonification, to provide energy (An, that signifies calmly maintaing the hand) and the sedation (Ma, that signifies polish, brush, massage with the hand in order to remove).

Dô In indicates all the practices that are used to make energy circulate in the body with the help of breathing, movements, stretches and auto-massage.

The term Angyô, that can be found in the classical treaties “The Yellow Emperors Classic of Internal Medicine”, corresponds to what we today refer to in the term shiatsu: a manual physical care and energetic balancing as well as functional rehabilitation by pressures with fingers and hands on the meridians and by stretching the limbs of a subject.

The term Shiatsu dates from the beginning of last century, and was created to stand out from Anma that, at that period, had lost contact with the foundation of the ancient oriental approach and had become a simple practice for temporary relief, principally carried out by blind people. In today’s Japan, Anma refers to all kinds of massage coming from the west (Californian oil massage, Swedish massage a.o) while in the west, it refers to massage done on a specially conceived chair.

Tenqei Tamai was the first to give treatments and courses using the name shiatsu before 1915. Other therapists like Tokujirô Namikoshi and Shizuto Masunaga followed, and shiatsu was recognized as an integral part of medicine in Japan in 1955.