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.
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.