Japanese massage is known as shiatsu in the U.S. Shiatsu originated in China but carried over to Japan, where it was used as a form of healing. Today in the U.S., many massage and alternative medicine schools offer shiatsu training.
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The purpose of shiatsu is to open the meridians, or channels, in the body. Much of Oriental medicine is based on the flow of energy through a system of complex pathways within the body.
Shiatsu uses acupressure points. Practitioners are trained to apply pressure with the elbow, thumb or knuckle to a specific point on the body, thereby assisting the body in healing.
Some massage schools offer introductory shiatsu as part of their training programs--for example, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. And other schools specialise in shiatsu training, such as Shiatsu Massage School of California.
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