Shiatsu Therapy North Shore

About Soothing Hands Shiatsu

Certified Shiatsu Therapist

What is Shiatsu?

Shiatsu therapy is a gentle alternative for pain relief and relaxation.  This traditional Japanese healing technique uses thumbs and palms to apply pressure on selected points of the body which provides soothing relief and promotes speedy healing.

Sharon Bidder is trained and certified in Canada in traditional Namikoshi shiatsu.  This is the most popular style of shiatsu practiced in Japan and the only type officially recognized by the Japanese government.  Therapists use only thumbs and palms to apply comfortable pressure to specific points on the skin and muscles based upon western anatomical points of the body.  This stimulates sensory receptors which initiates a response in other areas of the body (via the spinal cord).  Because shiatsu engages the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system, the body quickly relaxes as blood pressure, heart rate and respiration rates decrease and digestion/elimination is stimulated.  Both physical and mental stress are reduced and the body’s natural healing cycle is triggered.  This is why you feel relaxed so soon after the start of your treatment and why you feel so sleepy afterwards, even if you have a painful injury.

Shiatsu treatment is particularly effective to reduce chronic and acute pain associated with the back, neck, shoulders and joints. Flexibility and mobility is usually immediately improved.  Shiatsu successfully treats many stress related conditions, as well as soft tissue injuries, joint injuries and chronic conditions.

How Does Shiatsu Work/Manage To Soothe My Pain?

Ever wondered why you feel so good after a shiatsu treatment? What is shiatsu doing to your body that takes away that pain and all that stress? There are a number of things that happen in your body when a trained shiatsu therapist applies pressure on those body points.

Endorphins: Your body produces chemicals called endorphins which are anti-stress hormones. Your shiatsu treatment stimulates your endocrine system to release these feel-good hormones.

Gate Control Theory: Simplified, the body transmits pain signals from the periphery nerves to the brain by way of your spinal cord. There is a mechanism (gate) at work in the spinal cord which opens to send pain signals the brain. Shiatsu pressure can help close the gate to reduce the sensation of pain. Your body’s endorphins can also block pain pathways by acting on these gates.

Autonomic Nervous System: Shiatsu also sets to work on your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which coordinates your body’s involuntary functions. Remember how sleepy you feel during your treatment? The pressure of shiatsu ‘turns on’ the ‘rest and digest’ parasympathetic branch of the ANS while overriding the ‘fight or flight’ function which, when overactive, puts a great deal of stress on the body. In this way shiatsu is promoting your body’s natural healing process and providing ultimate relaxation.

Trigger Points: Discovered by physicians, trigger points are specific points of tension in the body. Releasing these is a very effective way to alleviate musculoskeletal pain. The location of the trigger points overlap widely with the acupuncture points and shiatsu points of oriental medicine, so your treatment releases these areas of tension.

These are just a few of the physiological effects of stimulating the pressure points of your body through shiatsu therapy. Hopefully, this information will help you understand why you feel so much better after a shiatsu treatment. And even if you don’t understand it, when it makes you feel so good do you really care why?

Benefits of Shiatsu

Some of the benefits of Shiatsu include the speedy improvement of musculoskeletal conditions (particularly effective for pain associated with the back, neck, shoulders, limbs and joints to improve flexibility and mobility)

  • Stimulation of blood circulation and balance of blood pressure
  • Stimulation of lymphatic system (immune system)
  • Regulation of nervous system, engaging the parasympathetic branch of the ANS for speedy pain relief and body relaxation
  • Regulation of endocrine system (hormones/diabetes)
  • Regulation of digestive system
  • Vitalization of the skin

While shiatsu is extremely effective for treating a particular complaint or injury, many people take a preventive approach to their health and make shiatsu part of their overall health maintenance through regular treatments every few weeks (just like going to the gym!).


To reduce the number of clients and homes visited, Soothing Hands Shiatsu (SHS) is only taking a limited number of new clients.  Clinic appointments are no longer available.


Clients will have 3 layers of protection during their treatment.

Face Cradle:

  1. The base layer will be a fabric face cradle cover.
  2. The second middle layer will be a disposable face cradle cover.
  3. The third top layer will be the client’s own personal face cradle cover.

Soothing Hands Shiatsu will ask you purchase your own personal face cover that will be provided by SHS.  Please use this face cover for every visit and wash it after your treatment.  A one time $6 charge will be added to your bill to cover the cost of your personal face cover which will then be your item.

Body Protection:

  1. A disposable sheet of paper will be placed on the massage table.
  2. A clean sheet will be placed on the table for the client to lie upon.
  3. A clean oversheet will be used on top of the client’s body once settled onto the table.
  4. A clean blanket will be opened up and used for each treatment, if required.

Arm Rest:

  1. The base layer will be a fabric towel.
  2. The middle layer will be a disposable cover.
  3. The third top layer will be the client’s own towel.


  1. The massage table will be disinfected prior to the treatment.
  2. At the end of the treatment all used linen will be isolated from clean linen and the table will be disinfected again. 
  3. Clean linens are used for every client and all linens are isolated after each treatment and cleaned daily with bleach solution as per guidelines from BC Ministry of Health. The massage table and accessories are sanitized between each treatment and also at the end of each day.
  4. The therapist will perform a daily self health assessment. If the therapist is feeling sick appointments will be cancelled.


Clients will be asked to complete a COVID-19 Health Questionnaire prior to each treatment requesting information about travel, COVID-19 exposure, current symptoms etc. If the client is feeling sick the appointment will be cancelled. All clients will wear a face mask, cloth or disposable, when the presence of the therapist (SHS can supply a mask if the client does not have one.)

The therapist will wash hands upon entering.

The therapist will be wearing a mask, face shield and gloves throughout the treatment.

If the client requests, the therapist will use a disposable gown.

The therapist will sanitize hands prior to leaving.

If you have any COVID-19 safety concerns please feel free to call and talk about your concerns.

Mobile Treatment Service

Shiatsu treatment for pain relief, injury recovery and
chronic conditions in the comfort
and convenience of your own home.