Shiatsu is a physical therapy that uses a combination of pressure, palpitation and movement on specific points, with stretching and manipulation of joints, to relax tension and to stimulate weaker areas. As a therapy, it stimulates wellness and self-regulating functions in the body, rather than treating disease. The patient remains fully clothed, and the therapist assesses the mobility of the body and identifies areas that are tense and areas that are weak, and works to re-balance the body.
Shiatsu originated in Japan where it is used as their version of physiotherapy. It is now used throughout the world and incorporates influences and teachings from both Western and Eastern medicine and therapies. Many sub-categories of Shiatsu have evolved over the years. I practice Zen Shiatsu which is very integrative, as it combines techniques of shiatsu with western anatomy and physiology, basics of traditional Chinese medicine and also energy diagnosis.
It takes 3 years to train as a professional Shiatsu therapist, but the training is a lot of fun! Shiatsu is lovely as a standalone treatment. It is usually deeply relaxing, and is also a great option if you're interested in trying something different and don't fancy acupuncture.