What is Shiatsu Massage?
Shiatsu is a form of bodywork that means “finger pressure” in Japanese. Although the name is Japanese, shiatsu developed in the context of traditional Chinese medicine such as acupuncture, herbalism and, of course, massage. However, as it developed in Japan the traditional practice of massage, known as “anma,” gradually separated itself from medicine and was no longer viewed as a healing practice per se.
Shiatsu massage developed during the Meiji Restoration of the late 1860s. Practitioners sought to preserve massage along with similar practices. Traditionalists in shiatsu massage had to develop new techniques and names for their practices to gain acceptance from their critics.
Shiatsu finally distinguished itself from the traditional massage of anma by introducing Western knowledge of anatomy and acupressure (associated with acupuncture), as well as an array of eastern healing practices. By 1955, shiatsu had grown and developed into a practice acknowledged by the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare as a truly beneficial treatment. People had to have a license in order to be able to practice shiatsu massage. Shiatsu became recognized as a distinct treatment by the Japanese government in 1965.
Shiatsu did not receive worldwide recognition until Tokujiro Namikoshi created a completely new system of bodywork. He combined the systems of modern anatomy, physiology and pathology to create a manual form of therapy. His knowledge led him to open the Nippon Shiatsu Institute in Tokyo, more commonly known as the Japanese Shiatsu College, in 1940. Mr. Namikoshi is famous for describing this massage technique with the phrase, “Shiatsu no kokoro wa hahagokoro”, translated, “the soul of shiatsu is a mother’s soul.”
Shiatsu massage is recognized as a hands-on form of therapy that incorporates disciplines from physiotherapy and chiropractic medicine. This involves the use of gentle manipulations and stretches combined with pressure movement exerted through the fingers and thumbs—the kind of gentle pressure and invigorating massage you’ll experience sitting in an Inada massage chair.
Inada’s decades of engineering improvements, as well as millions of dollars in research and development, have created a massage chair that truly replicates the shiatsu massage experience. As the pioneer and leader in both design and development of robotic massage chairs, only Inada can lay claim to offering massage chairs since 1962.