The history of shiatsu

 Shiatsu, as a complete technique, appeared in Japan in the early 20th century. It has its origins in China, coming from traditional Chinese medicine and anmo technique that flourished in the 5th century as a complete diagnostic and treatment system. It was based on spirituality combined with body massage and application of body pressure. After 1300, Chinese anmo, having lost its reputation, was limited to treating diseases and injuries of the musculoskeletal system.

Due to China's proximity with Japan, many traditional healing techniques have rapidly spread among the Japanese. Anmo adapted to Japanese culture and transformed into a new technique that combined the samurai recovery practices with the Chinese technique of anmo, which was later named anma or amma. It reached the peak of its popularity in the Edo era (1602-1868). Due to the widespread opinion that blinds have increased sensitivity to touch, anma soon became a profession in which blind people could excel.

In 1919, and under the need to restore the name of anma, Tamai Tempaku publishes the book "Shiatsu Ho" that means "finger pressure method". The principles of anma and the western anatomy have been merged in the text. From then on, practitioners began to incorporate in their profession concepts such as physiology, psychology and traditional Chinese medicine. As a result, in 1925 the first Association of Healers in Shiatsu was founded in Japan, aiming at the complete separation of Shiatsu from anma.

The role of Tokujiro Namikoshi (1905-2000) was decisive in the development of modern Shiatsu. He had received training in both anma and western massaging techniques. In 1929 he founded at Hokkaido the first pressure therapy clinic, which helped him advance Shiatsu by placing it within the framework of Western medicine and body sciences (physiology, anatomy). Since then, his students have founded various shiatsu schools that were based more on spirituality and oriented toward Eastern philosophy.