Shiatsu and acupressure are two forms of Asian bodywork therapy using pressure, stretching and other methods to relieve stress and pain. These two methods of therapy is said to help in balancing the flow of vital energy in the body.
According to Japanese language, Shiatsu means “finger pressure” imposed with the thumbs, fingers and hands along channels or meridians that help to balance as well as free the flow of physical and mental energy.
Whereas in acupressure, light pressure is imposed on specific points to help balance the body and the mind.
Both these techniques are used to assess imbalances in the body with the aid of therapies using pressure.
1- The first and the basic difference between shiatsu and acupressure is in the way it is diagnosed. The diagnosis method in acupressure and shiatsu is much different and is done by evaluating the different body points for imbalance.
In shiatsu, the whole human condition is studied before the treatment is given, whereas in most cases of acupressure, only a few points are treated.
2- In case of acupressure, physical pressure is applied to acupuncture points by hand, elbow or other devices. Whereas in shiatsu, only finger pressure is used and is based on theoretical framework of traditional Chinese medicine.
Shiatsu uses the whole body weight to apply pressure, whereas only the strength of a person’s hands and arms is used in the acupressure.
3- There are many acupressure points which are used to restore the flow of vital energy in the body. Even though, the same acupressure points are used in shiatsu as well, it is considered to be a wider means of application because of the methodology adapted.
4- The fundamental hypothesis behind acupressure massage is that a variation framework called the two point acupressure expects to sidestep a blockage of essential stream by making use of one acupoint in order to make or make a connection with one of the security meridians and afterward by making use of another acupoint to lessen or empower the stream around the territory of hindrance.
On the other hand, shiatsu originated from amma which is a Japanese massage methodology started in 1320 to heal the blind.
5- The pressure used in shiatsu is stable and supported. In the case of acupressure, the pressure applied is orbicular in which the thumb presses and releases pressure rapidly again and again.
In the case of shiatsu, the thumb is dependably in a broadened position, whereas in the case of acupressure, the thumb is more often seen shrunk at the metacar-pophalangeal joint.
6- Acupressure claims to be productive in solving problems associated with liver, stomach, digestive organs, kidneys and the brain, whereas shiatsu reduces pain, helps in improving circulation, relaxes the nervous system, helps to improve one’s muscle condition, skin and also strengthens metabolism.
7- Shiatsu is widely used for pain management, sports management and spa work, whereas acupressure is used widely in stress related ailments, self healing, self treatment and boosting immune system.
The purpose of acupressure is to ease muscular tension as it allows the blood to circulate freely by removing adhesions in the muscle tissue, whereas shiatsu toughens the immune system.
In short, acupressure and shiatsu are similar finger pressure massages done by putting pressure on certain points using the thumb, finger and palm. Both these are oriental strategies of massage therapy and uses chi, meridians and pressure points for implementing techniques.
Moreover, they are good methods for relaxation, easing pain, improving self-awareness. In brief, shiatsu is nothing but Japanese kind of acupressure!