Skip to main content

How to Use Your Thumbs in Shiatsu Massage

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


So, I'm going to show you how to use thumbs in shiatsu. So shiatsu actually means in Japanese, finger pressure. So, creating pressure from the thumb is a technique we use a lot, as it's a very defined area, surface area, to send pressure into the body. Smaller and more condensed than using the palm, or the forearm, or the knee.

So, how I would use my thumb while giving shiatsu is finding a pressure point, which you have to call a tsubo, and these are specified mapping of points throughout the body. If you're trying this yourself, you can really just find an area that feels tight, or hard, or where you've been having some pain, and then, sending the thumb into that area.

First, feeling for exactly where that is, and then we can do a little bit of a rocking, just to make sure you found that, and then always creating one hand that stays as the base, nice support. As I do that, then I can get more specified here with my thumb. Sending my weight into a very small area, which we call a pressure point. This is kind of an unlocking.

So, by sending energy into that point here, it's actually distributing the energy throughout the whole radiant or energy pathway, that runs along the back of the body. So, using the thumb, it's very important to make sure the alignment is not hyper-extended. So we don't want to send the energy here, into that area of the thumb, but we want to send it right into here, and then find that translation through each joint.

So thumb, wrist, all the way up to my elbow, and even my shoulder. So even though I'm using my thumb, I'm thinking of sending my weight all the way through each joint of my arm. That just creates a really nice solid connection in my body and then in the receiver's, as well.

So, that's using thumbs. You can also use two thumbs at the same time. Maybe putting one on the upper body and one lower down, and creating a little bit of a stretch, between the thumbs. Thumbs are also great to use in the smaller areas of the body, such as the temples in the head, with a circular motion. The jaw, or holding pressure points that are smaller in the face, head, and the neck. So thumbs up, for thumbs in shiatsu.

Popular Categories