We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Five-Element Shiatsu?

By P. Matz
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Five-Element shiatsu, or 5-Element shiatsu, is form of shiatsu — the Japanese art of acupressure. Practitioners of this therapy use their finger tips to manipulate pressure points on the human body in order to facilitate the flow of chi, or vital energy. Five-Element shiatsu is different than regular shiatsu in that it seeks to enhance the effectiveness of traditional shiatsu by incorporating aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

In TCM, human health is achieved through balancing the five elemental manifestations: earth, fire, water, wood, and metal. Each of these elements correspond to different parts of the human anatomy. Employing this approach, a shiatsu practitioner may be able to discern a variety of different ailments in a patient ranging from purely physical disorders such as a poor diet, to more subtle disturbances in a person’s health resulting from stress or traumatic events.

Once the practitioner has assessed the likely source of a patient’s outward symptoms, a treatment program can be determined. For instance, if a patient complains of discomfort in the stomach area, TCM would associate this type of ailment with the earth element, and, accordingly, a diagnosis could be attained that would address the potential imbalance in this aspect of a person’s system. Counterbalancing the negative earth aspect would often be approached by bringing other corresponding elements into play that would provide a salutary effect on the particular ailment.

The relationships between the five elements of TCM are quite complex. A practitioner of this medical philosophy relies strongly upon their understanding and intuitive ability to not only diagnose the particular source of the elemental imbalance, but to, subsequently, adjust the energy flow within the body of the patient. This can be accomplished either through the strengthening of the weak aspect, or diminishing that which is excessive.

In certain cases, an imbalance in the body occurs due to a blockage that prohibits the natural flow of energy. A blockage of energy can result from any number of factors, including stress, disease, physical trauma, or infection. Once the blockage is removed, the body will, ostensibly, recuperate.

In TCM, balancing the five elements, and restoring the body’s natural energy flow is often achieved by herbal remedies, developed and discovered over time, to treat specific ailments. Five-Element shiatsu, rather than employing herbal treatments to restore the chi energy flow, relies upon the application of acupressure to accomplish this. By administering direct pressure on specific nerves and meridians critical to the flow of chi, the Five-Element shiatsu practitioner simply utilizes a different methodology to achieve the same harmonious balance.

Since TCM views human health in a holistic manner, where a person’s well being is based on the harmony between not only one’s physical aspects, but also one’s mental and emotional environment, Five-Element shiatsu, thus, combines the diagnostic philosophy of TCM, while applying the Japanese shiatsu techniques in the treatment phase. By embracing some of the philosophies of TCM, particularly the Five Element approach, the shiatsu practtiioner seeks to expand the scope of treatment and diagnosis by generating a more comprehensive perspective on a patient’s health than basic shiatsu alone could provide.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.