Shiatsu and endorphins

Often, we may hear "Shiatsu" referred to as a relaxation tool, a true but limited definition for the treatment that does not denote its nature and broad results as a therapy. The pressure exerted with the fingers and palms of the hands in certain points on the body has multiple effects on our organism that go far beyond relaxation, in addition to encouraging the self-knowledge and understand better and more comprehensively the health. Through different physiological mechanisms of action, the Shiatsu promotes the capacity to self-healing of the body. Among the most notable effects of Shiatsu, is the release of endorphins.

Aze shiatsu

What are endorphins?


We tend to associate endorphins with the feeling of happiness and, no doubt, of welfare. It is not for nothing that they are known as the "pleasure hormones". neurotransmittersendorphins, substances synthesised by our brain, with a structure very similar to opioids (hence the name endogenous opioid peptides). At the moment of, for example, trauma, the body releases endorphins as a form of analgesic to relieve some of the pain and allow the body to react, adapting to what happened at that precise moment. 


In addition to this, endorphins play an important role in our emotional state and its liberation contributes to our feeling of relaxed and with a sense of well-being. They also influence other processes, such as the appetite and the dreamand enhance the immune system.

Where are they produced?


Endorphins are produced in our brain, in the brain's pituitaryfrom where it is secreted and reaches the rest of the brain and body through the nervous system, participating in the regulation of many physiological processes. 

Aplicación terapia Shiatsu Namikoshi

What do endorphins do?

As we have seen, endorphins are involved in multiple processes including: 

  • Decrease and modulation of the sensation of pain.
  • Positive effect on the state of mind which can range from a feeling of relaxation to the point of euphoria. 
  • The endorphins are released at the same time as the ACTHadreno-corticotropic hormone, in response to stressful situations and reduce inflammation.
  • They are part of the homeostasis (self-regulation).
  • They enhance the immune system.
  • They participate in the regulation of the appetitethe function respiratory and the dream.


Shiatsu and endorphins

The Shiatsu stimulates the autonomic nervous system, generating certain biological responses in the body. According to the "Book Among the seven important benefits of Shiatsu therapy for the body is its ability to regulate the functioning of the autonomic nervous system and, in turn, the functioning of hormones.


According to recent research, when Shiatsu causes this stimulationIn the morning, our body produces a natural painkiller: endorphins.

How are endorphins generated with Shiatsu therapy?


The mechanical stimulation of our pressures results in the release of endorphins in the blood, which are responsible for an important part of the effects of Shiatsu. They produce a feeling of well-being in the patient and also a certain light-headedness. Sometimes, at the end of the session, the patient seems to be under the effects of a drug, and in fact he is. He is under the effects of his own endogenous morphine. 



The endorphins are not a single substance, but a family formed by dynorphins, enkephalins, beta-endorphins, etc., with various functions. With this we are now in a position to understand and explain a fact of maximum transcendence: the Shiatsu pressures, carried out at the level of the body, have a very important function. peripheralcause a reaction in the central nervous system, in our brain, which, through the pituitary gland, produces endorphins with effects on a general, systemic level. 


The Shiatsu relieves pain by stimulating the body with pressure and in turn stimulating the release of endorphins. Not all therapies are able to stimulate the body to these levels, which is why we also talk about Shiatsu as a overall treatmentThe therapy is based on a holistic, holistic approach to the body. The therapy is based on a pressure effective because of its characteristics, thus generating beneficial results in the short and long termwithout side effects.

"The heart of Shiatsu is like a mother's love, the pressure on the body stimulates the source of life".


Tokujiro Namikoshi

Guide to receive Shiatsu for the first time

If you are going to receive Shiatsu for the first time, we briefly tell you what you should know before your session and what to expect during and after the therapy with this guide to receiving Shiatsu. We remind you that everyone can receive Shiatsu, without exception, although you can always ask us if you have any doubts.

Guía para recibir Shiatsu por primera vez habitación tratamiento

Before therapy

Once you have booked your first Shiatsu session, please note the following recommendations beforehand:

Shiatsu is a traditional Japanese manual therapy. It is different from other therapies where it is necessary to take off your clothes due to the use of oils or creams. The protocol will depend on each centre, they may have appropriate clothing for patients or ask you to wear a T-shirt and soft, comfortable trousers. In the case of Shiatsu ClinicOnce you enter the room where we proceed to the therapy, our colleagues will offer you a thin and comfortable pair of pyjamas for the session. But the patient can also bring comfortable clothes if he/she wishes.

It is advisable to eat at least one hour before of the appointment, as the abdominal part will be treated during the process.

If the reason for the session is an inflammatory injury, for example, a sprained ankle, we must wait for the inflammation to go down before receiving the therapy. In any case, the therapist will ask us about any complaints of interest that need to be taken into account in each case and whether there is a specific reason or reasons why we want to receive Shiatsu.

During the Shiatsu session

The therapist will use only the hands and the fingers to carry out the therapy. No type of medicines ni aparatology for treatment. The following will be carried out pressures on the patient's body that aim to stimulate the skin, the muscles, the hormonal system and the central and peripheral nervous system. Shiatsu treats the body as a wholeThe therapist will therefore go through all regions of the body in a holistic way.

In Shiatsu, the diagnosis and the therapy are done at the same time. When the therapist applies Shiatsu pressure to the patient's body, he or she receives information through the patient's hands and fingers. In this way, the practitioner can determine the necessary treatment to be carried out and can then apply it where he or she thinks it is needed.

It is very important to create a relationship of trust with the therapist. If we want to make any comments during the session about aspects such as the pressure setting and the sensations that are being experienced, we can communicate this to the therapist. If you are not comfortable with the therapist, you can ask for a change and look for a professional with whom you have a real rapport. tuning. It is very important to feel at ease when receiving Shiatsu.

Manos y pulgares aplicando terapia Shiatsu en paciente tumbado

How will I feel after the therapy?

Shiatsu is not painful, because the pressure is modulated to produce pleasant sensations in the body. However, when the muscles are stimulated, they may contract involuntarily. 

In the first 48 hours After the session, it is common to feel tiredness and even in some cases a temporary increase in pain. This is the body's self-healing response, Menken. After this period, the sensation will disappear and the change will become evident. Ideally, depending on the indications of the therapist and the pathologies to heal, is to receive the necessary sessions on a regular basis.

After the session, it is also common to feel lighter and more relaxed. This is due to the fact that Shiatsu relieves the pain of contractures and tense parts of our body. It is a holistic therapy where body and mind will achieve a state of improvement.

Shiatsu as a preventive tool

Shiatsu is a preventive therapy that is commonly used in Japan as a tool for preserving and maintaining health. The therapy promotes self-healing of the organism and strengthens our immune system. Shiatsu's holistic approach to the body helps to resolve pathologies in a holistic way. long-lasting and effectiveThe therapist's advice is followed in each case. 

Although Shiatsu aims to eliminate pain, we must not forget that the manifestation of physical pain is a warning from the body that we should listen.

If after reading our Guide to receiving Shiatsu for the first time you still have any doubts, you can consult our section of Frequently Asked Questions or watch our video What is Shiatsu?

Shiatsu facial


What are the benefits of a Shiatsu session?

Today, we develop in this article what is Shiatsu facial and its benefits, an article that can make us see Shiatsu in a different way, as a more versatile treatment than it may seem if we do not know much about this therapy.

Of course, everything related to Japan and beauty has been associated with good skin care for Japanese women, as well as the balance of body and mind.

With Shiatsu, we contribute to toning our musclesrelax at the same time as we reduce wrinkles What more could you ask for from a single therapy? Just as we exercise the muscles of our body in order to keep our skin smooth and healthy and to eliminate toxins, wouldn't it make sense to do the same for our face? The face is our calling card, the first thing others see of us and through which we express all our emotions.

Facial skin is very sensitive and needs a certain level of relaxation to properly receive any type of treatment. To achieve this, we recommend working the neck and shoulders before direct manipulation of the face. The tension and stress of everyday life affects our emotional level. This causes the body to contract as a protective and survival measure. Muscle tension is transmitted from the dorsal area up through the shoulders, neck and into the face. Therefore, by relaxing the shoulders and neck we influence the state of the facial muscles, facilitating further work. 

We must take into account the reason for the need for facial treatment. A bad face can make the observer think that we have a bad disposition or antipathy; this can provoke an unconscious rejection reaction.

 The accumulated tension makes us look older, aged. In addition, symptoms such as headaches, jaw tension, drooping eyelids, dental wear, crow's feet and abnormal hair loss occur. 

 Even the best make-up cannot hide these effects. Even superficial work on the face will not achieve the same results; it will never correct the problem. It is necessary, then, a technique that works at deep levels to restore the light to the face. Shiatsu harmonises the muscles, blood and lymphatic circulation and activates the parasympathetic nervous system. 

 The patient should be aware that the Shiatsu treatment is going to beyond simple massage relaxation, working deeply on all organ systems. 

How Shiatsu is performed in the facial area

The therapist will remain seated next to the patient's head, following the line of the patient's body. The patient will remain lying on the stretcher in the supine position. 

To begin with, we can play the eye and eyebrow areaIt is quite important, especially with the "colour" that this area has. The colour does not appear literally, we have to feel it. 

Depending on the colour, this is a symptom of problems related to a particular organ.

In Shiatsu there are different types of pressure in general, in the neck use a slow and deep pressure without leaving quickly. It is necessary to stimulate the area but without overdoing it. We have to keep in mind that Shiatsu is an oriental technique originally developed for easterners; the westerner is much more sensitive and less tolerant of deep pressure. Therefore, we have developed a style of Shiatsu suitable for Western bodies and minds. We call this Aze Style

Observing breathingfrom the abdomen (hara, in Japanese). If we apply good pressure, the breathing will become slower and more relaxed, reaching down to the lower abdomen. 


By relieving muscle tension in the neck, you can improves blood circulation of the area increasing oxygenation, lymphatic circulation with increased elimination of toxins and decompression of the nervous system. In addition, the energy channels that pass through the area are also released, increasing the energetic circulation. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, improving the lower area reflects an improvement in the upper area. Therefore, with a relaxed neck, the face will have much less tension. 

The duration of the complete Shiatsu treatment of the neck and face should not exceed thirty minutes. 

Shiatsu, as we have seen in this article, is much more than a technique to relieve back pain, as many people expect. With a complete Shiatsu treatmentThe improvement is noticeable all over the body, including the face. Find out more about Shiatsu.

Related to facial Shiatsu, but more focused on the aesthetics and improvement of the skin, we find the technique of Kogao Facelift.

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The meaning of Shiatsu

Often, when we talk about Shiatsu to our close environment, they often don't understand what we are talking about or they have never heard the word before. They ask us if it is a martial art or if it is something you eat in an oriental restaurant. Nothing could be further from the truth.

They are surprised when we tell them that it is a ori body therapyginaria from Japan and perfectly comparable to the physiotherapy that is used so much every day in the West. Immediately, they want to know more, they want to know what it consists of, how it is practised and what this new therapy they have just discovered can offer them in their daily lives.

A good way to start explaining Shiatsu is with the meaning of the word itself. It is made up of two Japanese kanji's, which are: "Shi" which means fingers and "Atsu meaning pressure". Literally means "Finger pressure"which is what this therapy is based on.

Applying pressure with the thumbs and palms of the hands on specific points corrects irregularities, helps to alleviate certain diseases, maintains and improves health. All this helps to activate the self-healing power of the human body.

The first questions are usually: "Does it improve health?" "Could you help me with the back pain or the headacheYes, to that and... To many other things!

And you will see why.


This therapy was born out of love, the love of a son for his mother. To understand its origins, we have to go back to 1905, to the province of Kagawain the north of the southern island Shikoku. There he would be born  Tokujiro Namikoshithe creator of Shiatsu. When he was 7 years old, the Namikoshi family moved to Rusutsua small village on the island of Hokkaido, the

northernmost part of Japan.

Tokujiro Namikoshi
Tokujiro Namikoshi, creator of Shiatsu and Master of Master Onoda

For Tokujiro's mother, the abrupt change from the warm climate of Shikoku to the severe cold of Hokkaido caused her to suffer from a polytrauma that produced joint pain. At that time, this small village was a place without doctors and there were no means or resources to get help, injections or medicines to alleviate these great pains.

Little Namikoshi, tired of seeing his mother suffer and lacking any resources or materials, could only try to alleviate his pain by rubbing, hitting, massaging and pressing the painful areas. After several days of trying to soothe the pain, he discovered what relieved his mother the most: press the area with your fingers.

This is how Shiatsu was born, using only the fingers, without resorting to no tools or machinery. Neither do we use our fists or elbows, because our fingers are endowed with more sensory receptors than the rest of the body and that makes them extremely sensitive and capable of sensing very fine thicknesses.

Master Tokujiro Namikoshi himself says of his therapy that "The heart of Shiatsu is like a mother's love, the pressure on the body stimulates the source of life"..


Many years later, together with his son Toru Namikoshi, he would be responsible for spreading the therapy throughout the world. everybodyas it is a therapy that provides vitality and health people. To this end, they founded the Japan Shiatsu College in Tokyo, the only entity authorised by the Japanese Ministry of Health to train therapists in this technique.

Master Onoda, creator of Aze Shiatsu 

Currently, the Japan Shiatsu College has more than 2500 students who graduate each year to obtain their license number to practice as a Shiatsu therapist in Japan.

In 1981, one of these students would be responsible for spreading this therapy throughout Europe... the Master Shigeru Onodaa direct disciple of Tokurijo Namikoshi and the founder of the Japanese school of Shiatsu. He is also the creator of Aze Shiatsu (see: What is Aze Shiatsu?).


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ONODA, Shigeru: Official technique, Shiatsu Namikoshi, Aze Training, 2018. 

ONODA, Shigeru: Aze Shiatsu, basic treatment, Volume 1, Aze Training, 2017.