ANDERSON, Ind. — Carey Bryson said she was surprised by her first shiatsu session.
“It was a little different than I first anticipated,” said Bryson, 41, of Anderson. “I was anticipating a very gentle touch, but it was more like a combination of a chiropractic adjustment and massage.”
Bryson, who was suffering from a digestive problem that doctors have been unable to diagnose, said shiatsu helped speed up the duration of her flare-up.
“I saw results,” she said. “Within 24 hours I felt like I was back to normal.”
While Bryson said she typically uses alternative medical treatments, she was happy shiatsu proved to be so effective for her symptoms.
“I would definitely recommend it,” she said.
Shiatsu, an ancient technique that means “finger-pressure,” originated from Japan and became popular during the 1970s. Like acupuncture and other Chinese-medicine-based therapies, shiatsu is used as a natural alternative to medical treatments to address many health and wellness problems.
Josh Medlin, 30, realized he could provide natural healing techniques like shiatsu while studying medical herbalism at Sacred Plant Traditions in Virginia when a massage therapist friend introduced him to the technique.
“Other than being on the floor and the client being clothed, shiatsu looks a lot like Western massage and does include many similar techniques such as stretches and compression,” he said.
Shiatsu and massage share therapeutic benefits such as stress relief, increased range-of-motion and flexibility, and generally better musculo-skeletal health, Medlin said.
But shiatsu can add a holistic element of both Chinese and Japanese treatments to improve a diagnosis and improve treatments both psychologically and physically.
“I initially thought shiatsu would complement my herbalism practice, but have been so impressed by shiatsu’s simplicity and remarkable effectiveness that it has surpassed my focus on herbs — at least for now,” Medlin said.