Do Shiatsu Massagers work?

After reading our blog on what shiatsu massage actually is, you may be thinking nothing can top a professional masseur. And while this can be true, it’s not as safe to constantly go out anymore due to the global pandemic. So, what can you do if you really need a massage? Most would turn to massagers to do the job for them in the comfort and safety of their homes.

However, the question’s got to be asked; so shiatsu massagers work? What are they like in comparison to a massage done by hand? And if you haven’t read our article on the shiatsu technique, we’ll recap in this article too.

What is a shiatsu massage?

Shiatsu is a form of massage that originates in Japan, and the term shiatsu means ‘finger pressure’. Essentially, this type of massage has to do with exerting pressure along the meridian channels of the body. I Eastern medicine, these meridian channels are where energy flows throughout the body. There can be blockages or stagnations of energy and fluids, and a shiatsu massage can release or free these build-ups. Shiatsu can also help to gently realign parts of the body.

Does shiatsu work?

Shiatsu does work for a number of reasons. Firstly, shiatsu massively helps with lymphatic flow and blood circulation. Our lymphatic system carries away the toxins in our bodies. However, due to lack of movement, our lymphatic system could be stagnant or clogged, keeping these toxins in our bodies. This can lead to very serious problems, from acne and skin conditions to poor organ function and inflammation. Shiatsu massages help get the lymph moving, carrying away and draining all the toxins inside of us. Further, poor blood circulation leads to all kinds of problems, such as headaches and migraines, swelling, etc. Shiatsu massagers stimulate blood flow, meaning vital energy is carried to all the organs that need it, leaving you feeling more refreshed and improving overall well-being.

Shiatsu is also extremely relaxing, and using the massagers can help you release stress and alleviate anxiety. Further, the kneading technique used by most shiatsu massagers softens knots and releases tension from the body, thus relaxing the nervous system and contributing to your overall tranquillity.

What is a shiatsu massage like?

A shiatsu massage by a masseur is not completely dissimilar to a regular massage. However, shiatsu is very holistic, so as part of the massage regimen the practitioner will ask about diet, ailments, and other physical habits so they can make the massage more specific. Also, you can keep your clothes on during a shiatsu massage, though it’s best to wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. A shiatsu massage done by a massager machine will have similar effects to a regular one. You can only really achieve a full body massage by buying a shiatsu massage chair. However, there are plenty of massagers that target specific areas that you may feel are prone to tension and poor circulation.

A shiatsu massager will usually incorporate kneading, tapping, and knocking techniques to achieve a similar experience to that done by hands. The effects of good massagers should be more or less the same as a masseur. After a massage, you may feel slightly sleepy or invigorated. Also, a massage may leave you with a light headache and some tenderness depending on how tight and stiff your muscles are. However, these mild effects don’t happen to most people, and if they do, they only last a few hours.

Are shiatsu massagers any good?

The quality and effectiveness of a shiatsu massager depend on the massager you buy. A mixture of brand and quality history, as well as the power of the massager, will all contribute to your massage experience. Most shiatsu massagers target the feet, or the back and upwards. These are where many pressure points of the body are found, points which link to organs and so by massaging them, deeper problems can be targeted. Shiatsu foot massagers are very good for people who are on their feet a lot, as it loosens knots reinvigorates the muscles in the feet and legs. Many shiatsu massagers also use air compression to emulate the feeling of hands pressing on the body, and this is especially effective for those who suffer from plantar fasciitis, arthritis, swelling, and joint stiffness.

Shiatsu back and neck massagers are especially good for those with high-stress jobs, or who sit down all day. Often, their posture is hunched and malaligned, leading to constriction of blood vessels and stiffness in the upper body. This leads to bad headaches, pain around the jaw and face, and terrible back and shoulder pains. Shiatsu massagers can certainly correct most of this. Their kneading function often comes with a heat function, and this truly helps relax the muscles and eliminate tension and soreness. This can help correct posture, widening constricted blood vessels, un-pinching nerves, and leading to better blood circulation all around.

Are shiatsu massagers good for you?

There are a few instances where a shiatsu massager may not be good for you. If you have broken limbs or lacerations, a shiatsu massager (or really any massager) could cause further damage. In some instances, if you’re pregnant, using a strong massager isn’t advisable. If you’re unsure for any reason whether or not to use a massager, consult a doctor. However, for the general population, shiatsu massagers are indeed good for you.

A study found that just 20 minutes of shiatsu massaging significantly lowered anxiety.

Shiatsu massagers can help with both mental and physical ailments. A study found that just 20 minutes of shiatsu massaging as complementary therapy significantly lowered anxiety in patients. Complementary therapy means that the massaging is used alongside conventional prescribed medication and/or other therapies. The relaxing effect of the massagers on the muscles and nervous system help to calm the mind, induce tranquillity and can lift the mood. This is particularly beneficial for those with stressful lives, anxiety, and/or depression.

How to use shiatsu massagers

Most shiatsu massagers are enclosed or come with straps, as this allows you to get a proper all-around massage experience. With enclosed foot massagers, you simply put your feet in and let the massager do the work. However, some foot shiatsu foot massagers are open-plan and not enclosed. This means you can potentially use them on your calves, and even on your back by lying down on top of it. Many back massagers fit around the back but can be moved up and down to target the lumbar spine as well as the shoulder blades. Further, most back massagers can also be used as neck and shoulder massagers, and vice versa. Some shiatsu massagers are for the head and temples, and most of these shouldn’t be used with glasses, contact lenses, or oils and creams.

For the best shiatsu foot massagers and best shiatsu zen massagers, check out our review page.