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How to Use Your Palms in Shiatsu Massage

Learn how to use your palms in a shiatsu massage from shiatsu practitioner Shandoah Goldman in this Howcast video.


In shiatsu we often use the palm of the hand as a surface area to send pressure down into the body. Basically what I'm going to do is place my palms on areas that I want to work on, and then send my weight forward into the whole palm of the hand. It's really important here not to grip with the fingers and not to send all of the weight into the wrist joint here, but to distribute the weight evenly on the whole palm. That feels more comfortable for the receiver, and it also is great for the givers health of the hand and wrist.

Evenly distributing the weight into the palm, I use this whole surface area to send pressure into which ever area I'm working on at a given point during a session. This is a way to cover the most surface area at a time by using the whole palm of the hand. You can move the palm parallel to the leg if you're working on the leg. If I'm working on the side of the spine I would want to keep it perpendicular to the spine here. Then maybe, if I want to send a specific direction up towards the head I might turn my palm that way. As well, here, opposite stretch, by sending a palm on either side of the hips.

Okay. So, palms are a great way to work on the body, and they're our most natural instinct. When something hurts, what do you do? You put your palm on it. So if it's been a long day and your shoulders really hurt we often just do that with our whole hand, and using the whole weight of the hand is really our natural instinct when something feels painful or out of balance.

So that's what we do in shiatsu using the whole surface area of the palm to send my body weight into the receiver and create pressure through the palms.

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