Shiatsu for lower back pain is something that many people find enormously beneficial.
I think we all know that living with persistent back pain can really affect a person’s quality of life in more ways than one.
It impedes your mobility, affects work and robs you of precious time.
It's harder to enjoy fun experiences when there's a gnawing pain in your lower back.
One of the most well-known (and in our opinion best) treatments for back pain is the Japanese back massage called shiatsu.
Shiatsu is a Japanese word which literally means finger pressure.
It's named so because shiatsu massage therapists rely on their fingers when applying their treatments.
Shiatsu massage for lower back pain relief has proven to be very effective as stated in some clinical studies. The shiatsu massage therapists use their fingers, hands, knees, and even feet to apply even and controlled pressure on the affected areas.
This particular massage is often compared to acupuncture and acupressure because it exerts controlled and even pressure on the key points of the body.
In traditional Chinese medicine, these points are called meridians, where energy flows to keep the body balanced.
Any disruption on these meridians causes pain.
This is what shiatsu massage for back pain hopes to address.
By utilizing many different techniques for the long form session that lasts more than an hour, and the quicker short form session that can be as short as half an hour.
Here are the best massage methods and techniques from shiatsu to relieve your lower back pain:
The Shiatsu soothing technique for lower back pain
This particular technique works on the skin level and helps the skin’s protective energy known as eiki.
It leverages skin to skin contact to warm up poor blood circulation in the entire body.
The hands work on the lower back by gently caressing to regulate pore openings, which is responsible for defending the boy against harsh environmental conditions.
The soothing rubbing motion on top of the skin work to expel toxins and release stagnant energy.
The soothing movement somehow creates heat that removes stagnation in muscles and relieves pain.
Throughout the healing Shiatsu massage session, it is important for the therapists hands to remain relaxed, with the wrists completely flexible for better manipulation.
This soothing technique is gently applied by following the contours of the body, while the hand remains in contact with the skin.
For the whole back, the fingers must be together to create a larger area used for the massage.
This Shiatsu technique is perfect for broader areas of the body like the lower back.
Noteworthy, the skin is the largest organ of the human body so great pains must be taken by the shiatsu massage therapist when he beings the lower back treatment.
This is perhaps the most important shiatsu technique to consider because it focuses on the first touch of the therapist with the client.
This first touch has the power to set the tone of the entire massage therapy session.
Soothing helps in putting the client at ease because of it warming and healing effect.
Soothing relies on friction which has heartwarming effects.
Gentle soothing on the surface of the body promotes heat, which totally eradicates cold energy that is the reason for cold and aching back muscles that refuse to relax.
The fine art of kneading
Kneading is a terrific technique that regulates energy flow by working on stiff muscles with the end goal of relaxing them completely.
On top of that, it has the capacity to trigger nerve endings.
Think of it as kneading bread dough, but this time around both the muscles and nerves are stimulated and targeted by the two hands to get the beautiful desired effect.
Alleviating back pain can only happen by addressing the underlying issues that are in the muscle and nerve area.
Combined with a good rhythm, a clockwise rotation of the massage improves muscle tonality.
In contrast, a counter clockwise movement is very effective for sedation making this a truly relaxing experience for the client.
The consistent kneading of muscles breaks down muscle tissues and releases toxins in the body, which has an overall positive effect on the client’s entire health.
This method is touted to be very useful for lumbar or lower back pain relief because it enhances the metabolism of the muscle tissue, thereby promoting better muscle function.
The thumb is the most commonly used for kneading and it delivers quick relief for back pain when applied with the right amount of pressure.
The elbows are also often used for the lower part of the spine, where dense and thick muscle layers can be found.
There are two type of kneading: the cutting kneading and the rotating kneading.
The former is the more demanding method that needs more effort and more pressure.
The latter is faster and doesn’t need so much pressure.
Both techniques rely on the thumb and the wrist to release the blocked energy form the muscles.
The flow of Qi or energy is the primary concern of shiatsu so every possible measure is extended to keep this energy flow at its optimum level.
Applying Shiatsu pressing techniques on the back
This pressure method works at a deeper level by touching the bone and the nerve of the affected area to relieve pain and muscle spasm.
It is essentially useful for many regions of the body, being one of the core treatment techniques of this Japanese massage.
To address lower back pain, the thumb can be used to hit the specific areas that are bothersome.
This technique does not produce much heat and in fact it controls the excessive heat that the body is giving.
Ordinary pressing should not have an adverse effect on the body.
However, people who feel something will react even to the most gentle of pressures.
This is a sign that there is an imbalance in the body.
The application of ordinary pressure takes five to seven seconds of pressing then releasing along the muscles of the spine to help you improve your back pain.
There are six types of pressing techniques: concentrated, vertical, sustained, stable, gradual, and coordinated pressure.
These various pressing techniques can work well with each other.
Sometimes, the chosen technique can depend on the body part that is being serviced.
They may have slight differences and purpose, but one thing is very sure, this technique works better after kneading.
When the muscles have already been warmed up with kneading, this pressing technique on those muscles becomes more effective and less prone to muscle soreness.
Pressure applied on the affected area releases the energy blocks that make your muscles feel better.
The correcting and exercising technique
Both the exercise technique and this current correcting technique both have the capacity to improve range of motion.
With the exercising method, passive exercises are administered by the therapist to make you feel better.
This method promotes the stretching of meridians and flexibility of joints.
For this particular technique, the joints are rotated from 90 to 360 degrees to keep the muscles warm and flowing.
For or lower back pain, exercise may include a manipulation of your legs to help target and liven up the muscles.
These passive exercise techniques are best utilized when the muscles are already warm.
It is best done after, soothing, kneading, and applying pressure.
This form of passive exercise can actually be applied throughout the body, but utmost care and consideration must be given to ensure that injuries will no longer happen.
The correcting technique involves pressing, manipulating, pulling, and twisting the skeletal system.
For lower back pain, this correcting Shiatsu treatment is very useful because it aligns the spine by keeping the meridians clear and secure.
Application of this method may release nerves that have been pinched, which is the reason for the pain.
It also helps promote blood circulation, which wakes up stiff muscles.
The adjustments to the spine and skeletal system also promote healthy organs and an overall healthier body.
Correcting methods for addressing lower back pain may include twisting the shoulder and the hips in opposite directions.
This aligns the spine, the pelvis, and the thorax.
Sometimes, it means pressing on the legs while the person is lying down flat on his back, by bringing the knees up and pushing them to the chest to relieve the lower back area.
Another technique would be laying down on the stomach and lifting the shoulder and the rest of the torso so the back can get a full stretch.
Better alignment, proper joint function, and smooth muscle are the objectives of this technique.
Remember, before application of this technique, the muscles should have been first warmed up by soothing, pressing, and kneading.
Vibrating and shaking technique
Both the vibrating and shaking technique share the same goal of breaking the blocked energy pathways of the body through movement.
These techniques allow for the restoration of energy.
The vibrations and shaking excites the nerves, muscles, and internal organs, allowing them to release toxins that have lain dormant in the body.
The strong movement eradicates toxins and release stiffness in muscles.
The vibrating technique utilizes both hands that deliver the vibrating motion to any region of the body.
For treatment of lower back pain in Shiatsu therapy, vibrations can be applied to the area with both hands.
There are two kinds of vibration: slow and gentle, while the other one is rapid and deep.
The application to the affected area last for around 5 seconds, with the movement repeated.
Sometimes, the fingers can be used for treatment.
This vibrating technique is used after the pressure technique.
The shaking technique is typically used for the limbs and lower extremities to break down stagnant energy for full recovery.
It actually stimulates muscle through forceful movements and helps blood and lymphatic circulation.
Studies indicate that muscles recover better, with less muscle strain and fatigue, when shaking is applied.
For treatment of lower back pain, shaking the legs proves to be very useful.
Though it doesn’t directly touch the back, the circulation is promoted, which is highly beneficial making shiatsu massage for back pain a beneficial treatment.
Tapping and snapping methods for the lower back in Shiatsu therapy
These two techniques share the common goal of stimulating the flow of energy in the body.
They both breakdown muscle stiffness, promote circulation, and stimulates the electrical activities in the nerves.
The general goals of both techniques are promotion of entire health and well being by aligning the meridians for improved Qi.
That being said, the similarities of both techniques end there.
The tapping technique actually has two kinds: light to moderate and the heavy kind of tapping.
This particular technique can be performed on many regions of the body.
Applications of the rhythmic taps are done with the side and back of the fists, side and back of the fingers, or with chopping and cupping hands.
Typically, the left and right hand alternate in giving the pound.
This is done after pressing, kneading, and soothing as a form of treatment enhancement.
In the long form method of shiatsu, this is applied as the finale, along with a semi-tapping method.
This is somewhat like tapping, but not totally as forceful.
Snapping is generally done in the fingers and toes and is only applied in the long form version and never the short.
The snapping of the finger and toes area would sometimes elicit sounds coming from popping ligaments and bones.
These do not bring pain but actually bring great relief.
The meridians of the body start and end at the base of the nails in the toes and fingers.
These may seem very far from the back, but snapping these regions can impact the lower back because stimulating these parts improve the entire channel or flow in the entire body.
Other techniques may include what’s called a tossing and squeezing.
The former requires throwing the relaxed limbs into the air, which is a very pleasurable for the recipient.
Squeezing the shoulders, hands, and back help improve the flow of Qi.
There are many treatments that are done in a simple shiatsu session.
If you are suffering from lower back pain, consider Shiatsu.
It's prudent to look for a certified shiatsu massage therapist because he or she can help you manage your pain without having to resort to heavy drugs that have the potential to damage both your liver and kidneys.
Do not suffer in silence.
Take control of your pain by visiting the nearest shiatsu center near you.