Background of Shiatsu


"Shiatsu" means "finger pressure" in Japanese...

... and is a holistic form of body work, which was formulated under various influences of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Japanese forms of body therapy and Western physiotherapeutic techniques. Therefore, Shiatsu treatments consists of a wide range of different elements.

In Japan, Shiatsu is a firmly established form of therapeutic treatment, and also in Europe Shiatsu becomes more and more popular because it's holistic approach quite often helps to ease of remove condictions of suffering and sickness.

Meridians und life energy

Shiatsu is based on the ancient, validated system of the Meridians, used also in Acupuncture. Meridians are the vessels through which our life force flows, called "Ki" in Japanese. Since our energetical and physical system are linked very closely, one informs about the other, and changes in one lead to changes in the other system. Shiatsu works with both systems simultaneously - and is therefore a powerful tool to face various imbalances on all levels of the human personality.

Five Elements

In Shiatsu, all physical, mental and emotional aspects of the human being are seen as various expressions of a specific pattern of the flow of ones life force. The used model is that of the five elements. You can see their chinese symbols at the top of this page: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. The theory of the five elements can be seen as further differenciation of the more known model of Yin and Yang which describes the unity of all things by pairs of opposites like light-darkness, male-female etc.

Each of the five elements stands for a specific state of energy which manifests in the physical body, the mind etc. Imbalances like a lack or a overflow lead to certain expressions in all associated fields, which we finally face as symptoms of a disease.

Each element is connected to various physical and psychic functions in the system; each is e.g. related to inner organs, a body tissue, a sense organ, an emotion, a state of mind, certain body regions etc. Therefore, the Shiatsu therapist can discover connections where under pure symptomatic point of view only separate effects are seen.


The natural state of each individual is that of health, balance, and the own body has the tendency and also the ability to come back to this state. However, due to inner or outer influences, imbalances, states of depletion and blockages can arise which are easiest faced with an outer influence which leads back to balance. A Shiatsu treatment is such an influence.

Yoga und Shiatsu

Read here more about the connection of Yoga and Shiatsu.