Three ways to soothe stress with Shiatsu

Most of us probably know that a little stress is good.

In fact, the human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. When you experience changes or challenges (stressors), your body produces physical and mental responses. That’s stress.

But at what point does stress become harmful and put us at risk of burnout and even emotional and mental issues like depression, anxiety and panic attacks?

With National Stress Awareness Day coming up next week, I’ve been thinking about ways that Shiatsu helps alleviate stress. 

Figuring my own “stress limits” has been an ongoing conundrum but Shiatsu has helped me develop a more embodied sense of self, and deeper appreciation for preventing illness from arising.

This means that I’m more likely to notice signals from my body that are saying “Enough!” and then to take action so that adrenaline levels can ease, and the parasympathetic system can calm things down.

The truth is that our stress response is entirely individual determined by a host of factors.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, your body could be trying to tell you that you’re overloaded: trouble sleeping; appetite changes; digestive issues; aches and pains; muscle tension; jaw clenching; high blood pressure; headaches, dizzines or shaking.

Shiatu for alleviating stress

The Kidneys (in the Shiatsu aspect of the organs) help us adapt to stress. The ‘fight or flight’ Yang response gives us the energy we need to escape real (or perceived) threats. The body’s ability to recover from stress and relax is controlled by the Kidney’s Yin aspect. 

This is an example of the body’s Yin and Yang working together to maintain harmony. Shiatsu can activate these aspects of your Kidneys to restore balance.

“When there is an inability to relax, then the symptoms are “work-aholism”, impatience, restlessness and nervous sensitivity.” *

Here’s my top three techniques to ease stress:

Enjoy the healing frequencies from your own hands

Place your hands on your diaphragm and breathe, feeling your lungs expand and contract.

Adopt “micro-actions” that become daily habits

These fall within the broad spectrum of Shiatsu practices and once done regularly, enough, may become a natural part of your life and develop into habits.

Eg. breathwork – this is a practice I describe as “The Power of the Pause”. For one minute, focus on your breath – take 4 seconds breath in, and then exhale for 7 seconds.

Eg. movement – stagnant energy is often the culprit for headaches and digestive issues. Free your Ki to move by walking, running – any movement really! If you don’t fancy yoga, try these Meridian stretches (known as the Makko Ho) to open your energy ‘channels’ and make space for your Ki weave its way around your whole being.

Receive Shiatsu from a professional Practitioner

Being held in the expert hands of a Shiatsu Practitioner can have a profound impact on stress, at every level: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

Let me know how you get on!

For guiance tailored specifically to you and your ‘health picture’ book a Guided Self-Shiatsu session.


Revealing my biggest Shiatsu discoveries from the last five years of practice

Self-Shiatsu to calm nerves as life resumes


  • Carola Beresford Cooke, “Shiatsu Theory & Practice”, Third edition, 2016

Join the Community

Follow Me on Instagram

About Me

I founded SJA Holistics to help people get well, feel great, and stay well using the power of practices derived from Eastern Medicine including Shiatsu, Reiki, Acupressure and Qi Gong.

For over a decade I’ve worked with Ki and have first-hand experience of how energy- and body-work can lead to positive health. Working with the energy body as well as the physical can bring profound changes to mental, emotional and physical issues.

After completing three years of study for the Professional Shiatsu Diploma, I honed my experience working voluntarily for six months in a national UK charity giving Shiatsu to people recovering from substance misuse.

It is my mission to help you recognise your own self-healing ability and to empower you with the skills and knowledge you need to dramatically improve your self-care.

Learn More

My Approach

We create your current health picture. Then we get clear on your goals so that we are aligned from the outset. This makes it easier to monitor progress.

Learn More

Intelligent Energy

Every one of us has a universal energy, also known as lifeforce, chi, prana and Ki, that underpins our whole existence, and within that, our health. Stimulating the flow of Ki is how you can get well, feel great and stay well.

Learn More