More than just relaxation…

Both Zen Shiatsu Bodywork and traditional massage therapy support the body as a system. Ever heard of the phrase, “The Body Keeps the Score”? While used clinically to explain how traumatic events become encoded in our bodies, it’s also true of how our bodies integrate everyday life. Our bodies spend an enormous amount of time and energy processing and supporting both emotional and physical tension and stress. Shiatsu and massage work on the fascial system (as well as muscles and joints) to release chronic patterns of tension, allowing the body to explore new tension-free patterns of movement and stillness.


Zen Shiatsu Bodywork

Zen Shiatsu Bodywork (Shiatsu) is a Japanese form of bodywork that is based in Chinese Medicine and informed by Western Physiology and Psychology.  “Shiatsu” means “finger pressure;” pressure is applied by fingers, palms, and sometimes elbows and knees. 

Shiatsu Bodywork uses the meridian system used by Traditional and Classical Chinese Medicine–think acupuncture and acupressure! Shiatsu works directly into and between the fascia of the body–the tissues connecting our muscles, bones, sinews, and internal organs. By applying pressure on those points and channels and stretching the body, tension stored in the body is released.  While Shiatsu shares much in common with acupuncture, it can feel more accessible to some clients because it is practiced over clothing (no undressing!) and it doesn’t require the client feel comfortable around needles. Instead of needles, we use thumbs, palms, fingers, elbows, and knees. Sessions are performed on a futon on the floor. Shiatsu can be as firm or as gentle as the client needs.

Shiatsu Bodywork helps clients connect with their body in the present moment, and helps them experience the body as a safe and joyful place. Shiatsu helps support and source the body and organ system through the channels so that the client can become free to live the life that inspires them. The main principle of Shiatsu Bodywork is to create space in the body for qi (blood, oxygen, “energy”) to flow and allow the body to return to it’s natural balanced state.

Not sure if Shiatsu is right for you? Schedule a free 15 minute consultation with Kyren to learn more.


Benefits of Shiatsu and Shiatsu-informed Massage

Physical level

Chronic Stress and tension impact all the systems of the body. Most clients begin to seek out massage and bodywork due to chronic pain, such as muscle and joint pain. However, few are unaware that chronic stress and tension impacts all the major systems of the body: digestion, cardiovascular, immunity, and the nervous system. What we experience as “stress” can manifest in symptoms as diverse as: chronic pain, insomnia, emotional dysregulation, constipation or diarrhea, frequent colds and flus, fatigue or low-energy, dysmenorrhea, anxiety or depression-like symptoms and more. Because all the major systems of the body are connected through and influenced by patterns of tension in the interconnective tissues (the fascial system or interstitium), regular bodywork sessions can benefit all the systems of the body.


The many physiological benefits of massage therapy are well-known. Additionally, Shiatsu Bodywork and Shiatsu-informed massage therapy specialize in nervous system regulation and support. Shiatsu encourages the parasympathetic nervous system (rest, digest, connection) to predominate, and allows the the sympathetic nervous system (fight, flight, freeze, or fawn) to ease. This function is especially beneficial for trauma survivors, but also for anyone who routinely experiences overwhelm.


Emotional & Mental level

For the people who have tried everything else to support their physical wellbeing and have had little to no results, we check to see if—on a body level—whether physical symptoms may be arising from emotional and/or mental stagnation. This work is informed by our training in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

For this work it can be helpful to also see a psychotherapist and we are happy to to refer you to someone.

Our intake form helps us get a bigger picture of your health on a holistic level. The intake form includes questions about your physiological, emotional, and mental/cognitive symptoms that you may be experiencing in day to day life, in addition to your primary “complaint” or reason for seeking massage and bodywork.


Which modality is right for me?

Shiatsu Bodywork is practiced fully-clothed and does not use oils or lotions (unless cupping or guasha is indicated). Shiatsu-informed massage is practiced unclothed and does use lotions and oils. Both modalities as we practice them at Culture of Safety move towards the same results. You may find a better fit with one or other practitioner based on personality, style (or schedule availability!). Whether you book with Kyren (Shiatsu) or Kristina (Massage), we work to support your overall wellness on the physical, emotional, and mental levels.

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