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September 2019

Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery. 1995 Apr; 1(2): 51-8.

The role of shiatsu in palliative care.

Stevensen C.

Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital NHS Trust, London, UK.

Shiatsu is a form of Japanese massage, working on the meridian system of the body; the energetic pathways along which the acupuncture points are placed. The theory for shiatsu is based in the system of traditional Chinese medicine, understood in China for over 2000 years. Shiatsu can be valuable for reintegrating the body, mind and spirit, helping with the general energy level of the body as well as specific symptoms. Its role in western palliative care is little studied to date. This paper explores the potential benefits of shiatsu in this setting and cites a case example where it has been beneficial. Feelings of deep relaxation, support and increased vitality are common following a shiatsu treatment. The method, strength and frequency of treatment can be varied to suit individual need. Shiatsu should be considered when thinking of complementary methods of support in palliative care.


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