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How to Use Your Elbows in Shiatsu Massage

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


I'm going to demonstrate how to use elbows while giving Shiatsu. So the advantage to using an elbow as opposed to hands is that it's a sharper, more directed surface area to apply pressure into the body. So it's great if there's a place that feels really stuck or very tight.

It's important not to use the elbows if someone is a lot smaller than you, because it can be too intense. But it's great to use in larger surface areas of the body such as low back, pelvis, so here we go with an elbow technique. I'm just going to bend my elbow like this and find just the side of the sacrum, right on the side of the bone here. And I'm just pouring my way down.

So rather than using muscles to press, I'm just pouring my weight forward. I'm using the other hand to sort of guide and feel where a nice, soft area would be to pour the weight in, making sure it's not on bone. I'm kind of rocking from side to side, and moving from up to down, which is the natural flow of the energy in the back of the body, from head to foot. I can go all the way down, turning to go down the leg with the elbow.

Might want to check in with your receiver to make sure it's not too much because it can be quite intense with the elbow. Another thing that we can do with the elbows is place both hands over the back like this and then as I come up here I can just spread my elbows, one moving down and one moving up. This is a great way to give a stretch to the whole back.

So I'm using my elbows, and it's kind of moving into my forearms as well. I'll show that again. So, starting in the middle and just leaning forward and spreading out, elbow to elbow, until it arrives to the hands. One more technique with the elbows is between the shoulder blades here, on either side of the spine.

And this I wouldn't want to use too much body weight here, because it could be a little bit intense. I'm just going to lean slightly into my elbows here and then move down either side of the spine with my weight. So my weight is shifting forward which is what's creating the pressure, moving all the way down the spine. And then coming back up.

Another thing that I could do with my elbows is taking a foot and finding a really nice pressure point, just in the center of the sole of the foot here and just placing my elbow in there and leaning in. This gives a really nice, directed pressure point, right into the sole of the foot. And I want to make sure that my hand is really soft in doing that. Alright, so there's some techniques on using the elbows in the Shiatsu session.

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