Shiatsu is a natural healing system that springs from the same oriental principles as acupuncture, and is often viewed as a Japanese approach to physiotherapy. It draws on an understanding of traditional Chinese medicine and modern western knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology. Loose clothing such as a tracksuit is typically worn during treatment.
The practitioner uses many different manual techniques to stimulate a network of points and channels(known as meridians). This allows the body's own 'Qi' or life force to flow more easily, and therefore helps to heal many forms of injury, discomfort and illness. The concept of vital energy flowing through the body is fundamental to yoga, martial arts and all forms of eastern medicine.
The physical effects of treatment may include relaxation of the nervous system, improved circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid, release of toxins and muscular tension, stimulation of the hormonal system, structural realignment and increased vitality. It is often considered that treatment aids a connection with the body's own innate wisdom and natural healing ability.