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Shiatsu Massage for Neuropathy: a Safe Alternative to Medication

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Shiatsu Massage for Neuropathy is safe

Neuropathy is a painful condition that affects the nerves and can manifest as numbness, tingling, weakness, or agony. Diabetes, chemotherapy, and alcoholism are some of its many triggers; unfortunately there currently isn’t an existing cure for neuropathy.

However, we have numerous therapeutic options to help alleviate its indications – massage therapy being one such approach! Massage therapy is a multifaceted practice that utilizes various methods, such as Swedish, deep tissue, sports massage, and the ancient Shiatsu technique which applies pressure to certain locations in order to reduce discomfort and encourage serenity.

Over the last few years, massage chairs have become more and more sought after due to their ability to provide a relaxing home-based massage experience that can help reduce neuropathy symptoms.

Among these many techniques is Shiatsu Massage – an ancient Japanese healing practice with impressive benefits for managing nerve pain. In this article, we will be exploring how it works; what its scientific basis entails; and finally providing tips on preparing for your own Shiatsu session.

Along with delving into other massage modalities, we will also assess how massage chairs can be a useful resource for alleviating neuropathy symptoms. To provide further clarity and help you make an educated decision about whether Shiatsu massage is appropriate for your needs, we will address some of the more common questions related to this therapy.

What is Neuropathy?

Neuropathy is a common condition that affects the nerves of your peripheral nervous system. This intricate network is responsible for connecting signals from your brain and spinal cord to different points in the body, so when it’s disrupted or damaged, you may experience symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness.

NeuropathyThere are several types of neuropathy, each with its own specific set of symptoms and causes. These types include:

  • Peripheral: it is the most common form of nerve damage, which impacts your extremities – from fingers to toes. You may experience numbness, tingling sensations, or sharp pains in these areas as a result.
  • Autonomic: it can lead to disturbances in involuntary body processes such as digestion, heart rate, and blood pressure. Possible signs may include vertigo, blackouts, and digestive problems.
  • Proximal: it can cause substantial discomfort and debilitation in the hips, thighs, and buttocks by impairing nerves in those areas.
  • Focal: Characterized by impacts to a single nerve or bundle of nerves, Focal neuropathy is an ailment that may present as pain and weakness in specific areas of the body.

Neuropathy can lead to an assorted range of symptoms, dependent upon the type and place where nerves have been affected. Discomfort, numbness, tingling sensations as well as weakness are among some of the most common indicators. Additionally, it is possible that indigestion issues, breathing problems, or muscle cramping may arise from neuropathic pain too.

Neuropathy can have a number of causes, such as diabetes, chemotherapy, alcoholism, and viral infections, and even be passed down from family members or caused by an autoimmune disorder. Certain medications and toxins may also lead to neuropathy – thus it is essential for you to determine what the underlying factor for your condition is in order to decide on an effective treatment plan.

How to Prepare for a Shiatsu Massage for Neuropathy

Before receiving a Shiatsu massage, there are a few steps you can take to prepare for the experience. These include:

  • Communicate with your massage therapist about your neuropathy symptoms and any concerns you may have.
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal or drinking alcohol before your massage to prevent nausea or dizziness.
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to allow for ease of movement during the massage.
  • Arrive early to your appointment to complete any necessary paperwork and to allow time to relax before your massage.

What to Expect During a Shiatsu Massage for Neuropathy

During a Shiatsu massage, the therapist will use their fingers, palms, and thumbs to apply pressure to specific points on the body. This pressure is meant to stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote relaxation.

Shiatsu Massage for NeuropathyShiatsu massage for neuropathy typically focuses on the feet, legs, and hands, as these areas often experience the most nerve-related symptoms. The therapist may also use gentle stretching and range of motion techniques to help alleviate tension in the muscles.

Shiatsu massage is generally performed on a mat on the floor or a massage table, and the client remains fully clothed throughout the session. The therapist may use their body weight to apply pressure during the massage, and the intensity of the pressure can be adjusted based on the client’s comfort level.

Shiatsu massage chair therapy for neuropathy typically involves the use of a specialized massage chair that applies pressure to specific points on the body. The pressure and intensity of the massage can be adjusted based on the client’s preferences. Clients remain fully clothed during the session, and the therapist may focus on the feet, legs, and hands to target nerve-related symptoms.

Safety Precautions to Consider

While Shiatsu massage is generally considered safe, there are some precautions to consider, especially for those with neuropathy. These include:

  • Consulting with your doctor before receiving a Shiatsu massage to ensure it is safe for you to receive this type of therapy.
  • Informing your massage therapist of any allergies or skin sensitivities before the session.
  • Not receiving a Shiatsu massage if you have any open wounds or sores on the areas of the body that will be worked on.
  • Being aware of your body’s limits and communicating any discomfort or pain to your massage therapist during the session.


How Does Shiatsu Massage Work for Neuropathy?

Shiatsu massage is a form of bodywork that originated in Japan and is based on traditional Chinese medicine principles. It involves the application of pressure to specific points on the body to improve circulation, alleviate tension, and promote relaxation. For individuals with neuropathy, shiatsu massage can be particularly beneficial as it targets the nerve pathways and can help to reduce pain, numbness, and tingling sensations. By applying pressure to these points, shiatsu massage can help to restore balance and promote healing in the body.

Can Shiatsu Massage Help with Neuropathy Symptoms?

Yes, shiatsu massage can be an effective complementary therapy for individuals with neuropathy. It can help to reduce pain, numbness, and tingling sensations, improve circulation, and promote relaxation. Additionally, shiatsu massage can help to restore balance to the body’s energy pathways, which can improve overall health and well-being. However, it is important to note that shiatsu massage should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment, and individuals with neuropathy should always consult with their healthcare provider before beginning any new therapy.

Is Shiatsu Massage Safe for People with Neuropathy?

Yes, shiatsu massage is generally considered safe for individuals with neuropathy. However, it is important to consult with a qualified shiatsu therapist who has experience working with individuals with neuropathy. The therapist should be aware of any areas of the body that may be particularly sensitive or painful and should adjust the pressure and intensity of the massage accordingly. Additionally, individuals with neuropathy should inform their healthcare provider before beginning any new therapy, including shiatsu massage.

What Areas of the Body Does Shiatsu Massage for Neuropathy Focus On?

Shiatsu massage for neuropathy typically focuses on the feet, legs, and hands. These areas contain many of the nerve pathways that are affected by neuropathy, and by targeting these points, shiatsu massage can help to alleviate pain, numbness, and tingling sensations. However, the therapist may also work on other areas of the body as needed to address any specific concerns or symptoms. It is important to communicate with the therapist about any areas of the body that may be particularly sensitive or painful, as well as any other concerns or questions you may have about the therapy.


The incredible healing power of Shiatsu massage has been proven to be an excellent complementary therapy for those with neuropathy. Applying pressure at strategic points on the body can provide relief from such symptoms as pain, numbness, and tingling sensations that are associated with this condition. Enhancing circulation, inducing relaxation, and reducing stress levels have proved beneficial in managing neuropathic issues; all key elements achieved through Shiatsu massage techniques.

While Shiatsu massage is usually considered to be safe, it’s imperative that you speak with your healthcare provider before deciding on any type of massage therapy.

By heeding the safety guidelines and making sure you are ready for a Shiatsu massage, individuals suffering from neuropathy can enjoy its many advantages. With its proven effectiveness coming from an ancient tradition, adding a Shiatsu massage to your treatment plan promises great results when living with neuropathy.

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Kristina Martin

Kristina Martin attended the University Of Florida and graduated in 2001 from the College Of Medicine. Kristina is a Master of Physical Therapy (MPT). Her focus is to help her clients be as healthy as possible by providing personalized training and advice that is unique to them.
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