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How to Give a Shiatsu Spinal Massage

Learn how to give a shiatsu spinal massage from shiatsu practitioner Shandoah Goldman in this Howcast video.


So this is spinal shiatsu work. The spine, as we all know, is such a fundamental part of the skeleton, traveling the midline of the body, and what's really important to pay attention to is the alignment of the spine as we work on it. So much of balancing the meridians, the energy pathways, in shiatsu is that there is a nice alignment of the spine that the energy pathways can flow along.

Right here, we have a little bit of curve in the sacrum, dipping down to the lumbar spine, and then coming up towards the ribs, the thoracic spine, and then down again into the cervical. So, I'm always going to make sure that those curves are nice and comfortable as we work. I'm going to start by a little bit of kembiki, which is a gentle, rocking motion, and this I am doing all along the spine.

So, starting at the top, and then fingers on either side, and so, just gentle push-pull right along. And this is a great way to feel where the energy is constricted or not flowing as well as it could be on either side of the spine. It gives me a sense of the musculature around the spine, and also just if those natural curves are in the balance and alignment that best serves the spine. That’s one technique, some rocking.

The next thing I am going to show is using my thumbs, which we often do in shiatsu to create more specific pressure points, I'm going to send my weight into the thumbs along either side of the spine, stimulating the energy pathways right along the parallel length of the spine. This can be done a lot slower than I am demonstrating, holding points, moving all the way down, et cetera, to the base of the spine.

Then, finishing by just placing my hand on the upper and lower end of the spine, and I'm really just doing nothing other than just letting the natural weight of my hands create a little bit of pressure there. Also, the heat from the touch, and then ending on a nice little work along the spine you have there.

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