Shiatsu for Chronic Conditions

Do you or your children suffer from chronic or “mystery” pain, an autoimmune disorder, allergies, chronic viral illness, or overwhelming emotional states?
We can help.

Senior Zen Shiatsu therapists have specialized training to work with chronic conditions. While offering the same relaxing shiatsu, our therapists use specialized protocols to address symptoms related to these challenging disorders.

Call 847-864-1130 to book an appointment, and mention that you would like to work with a therapist who specializes in chronic conditions.

Shiatsu can be performed on a massage table or a soft futon.   You can bring soft, stretchy clothes to wear during your session. We recommend six weekly shiatsu sessions as an initial course of treatment.

The price is $95 per one-hour session. We also offer three-session packages for $255 ($85 per session). Payment can be accepted by cash, check or any type of credit card. Shiatsu is typically a valid expense through Health Savings Accounts (or employer flex-spending plans), but is not typically insurance-reimbursable.

Download the complete brochure

Read the testimonials

What is Shiatsu?


Chronic Pain

Fibromyalgia, Migraines, PMS, Neuropathy, Muscular or Joint Pain, Limited Range of Motion, “Mystery” Pain

My friend recommended I try shiatsu to help heal my lingering injuries from seven car accidents and several sports injuries, including a torn disk and two bulging disks in my lower back, ongoing stiffness and pain in my neck and shoulders, and difficulty walking and exercising due to misfiring of the nerves in my left leg. The recurring body pain limited my flexibility and strength, making life an ongoing challenge. After just three one-hour Zen Shiatsu treatments, I regained flexibility, strength, and felt no pain continuously for four months. Deep healing has occurred in all levels of my being: body, mind, spirit and soul. My whole life outlook is more positive, re-vitalized and filled with bright hope for the future. Is it any wonder I am taking the beginning Zen Shiatsu course to learn more about this wonderful healing art?

- Bonnie

Due to an injury to my left leg in 1997, my calf muscle was 1/2 inch smaller, along with nerve issue on the top of the foot,  resulting in unpredictable cramps. After my first shiatsu session, I felt the difference immediately. I felt more stable, grounded and balanced—not only in my leg, but my entire body. The second session lead to deep releasing in the hip and top of my foot, and my left ankle was less inverted. I noticed a difference with my Tai-Chi and Yoga practice, and on my run, my foot strike felt more stable/uniform. I felt calmer on this run, because previously, I’d be worried about rolling my ankle.

- Jerry

I’ve been getting shiatsu treatments approximately every three weeks for several years now. Recently my practitioner used a new technique that in one session completely cleared up a lingering pain I’d had below my left ribs associated with—we think—a recent bout of pleurisy (although I’d had intermittent pain in that spot for my entire adult life—over 25 years!). I think this new energy work incorporated in shiatsu is extremely beneficial.

- Jane Bunker, Publisher, Northwestern University Press

After living with fibromyalgia and arthritis pain and getting no relief, my doctor suggested trying Shiatsu. I was willing to try. It was the best decision. I really don’t understand the whole process but I can honestly say it works. After our first session I was pain free for several hours at a time for the next few days. By the second session I have felt better than I have in months. Can’t wait for the next visit. I recommend it to everyone who has any type of pain or discomfort.

- Susan

I’ve had limited range of motion in both my shoulders, meaning I couldn’t really lift my arms above my head. I have had this issue for as long as I can remember.  I’ve tried massage, tuina, cupping and Bikram yoga, always with the same result: a small, temporary increase in range. After my most recent Shiatsu treatment, I have never been able to get my arms so high, and it was only one session! I was truly amazed. It gives me hope.

- Christina

I’ve been receiving treatments from Lucia for my chronic Bell’s Palsy. Shortly after my first few sessions my usual symptoms of nerve pain in my face and jaw, tightness all over my right side, pain in my right eye and a numbness in my tongue were virtually gone. Lucia is great at investigating the emotional link to the physical symptoms and helps to bring healing to both levels of being. Lucia has a real gift at being able to intuitively pick up on what your body needs and provides the right adjustment to bring it back into balance. In the few months that I’ve been receiving treatments I’ve noticed a tremendous change to my overall physical and emotional health. With full confidence, I would happily recommend Lucia to anyone who is seeking shiatsu treatment, ranging from general stress relief to anyone suffering from a chronic condition.

- D.B. Norden


Autoimmune Disorders, Allergies & Chronic Viral Illness

Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Celiac Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Asthma, Seasonal Allergies, Pet Allergy, Environmental Sensitivities, Chronic Lyme Disease, Epstein-Barr Virus, Shingles

I had been dealing with Lyme disease and associated coinfections for six years. The chronic illness had at times made me absolutely debilitated, and overall it had greatly reduced my quality of life on a day-to-day basis.  At first, I was somewhat doubtful that something as (seemingly) gentle as Shiatsu could help me with my problems, but after about three sessions, I realized that big changes were occurring.

I began by seeing Steve every week for several months, and as I began to improve, we transitioned to every other week. After just a few sessions with him, my neck and back stiffness and swelling began to decrease significantly. My energy started to improve, and I began to feel much more like the energetic, enthusiastic, happy person I used to be before Lyme disease took hold. I am now able to exercise vigorously again and have the energy to work and live a busy, fulfilling life.

I always look forward to my appointments with Steve, because the Shiatsu he applies is truly transformational. I firmly believe that my treatments with him have been a key part of my healing process, and I am so grateful to have him as a part of my healthcare "team."

-Lindsay Christensen

My 4-year-old son suffered from eczema around his waist and groin since he was 1 year old. After three years of investigating food triggers, experimenting with lotions, etc., we’d had no success lessening his symptoms. I learned these new shiatsu protocols and treated him twice per week for three weeks. During that time, he suddenly experienced pain in his low abdomen around his bladder, and had increased urination. After that passed, his eczema completely disappeared and has remained gone for three months now. As a shiatsu practitioner, even I was amazed by how quickly his nervous system and immune system responded to the work. I’m very excited to share this work to find out what more may be possible for addressing disorders with young children.

- Steve

Being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis for over 20 years, there are not many remedies or treatments that I would endorse unreservedly. I’ve found that regular treatments of shiatsu have been very beneficial when included as part of my comprehensive and ongoing treatment plan in managing the various symptoms from my autoimmune disease.

- Ted Alvia, Co-owner Avail & Company, Evanston

I have multiple sclerosis and was feeling stagnant, frustrated, and stiff. After my shiatsu sessions, my walking improved and I don’t feel as if I’m dragging an iron ball behind me. I have better flexibility, and I enjoy the peacefulness that comes with each session. Those feelings last long after treatment, because my mind is happier (due to ease of movement), and my muscles and body are responding in a positive way.  I  am hopeful about my future well-being due to shiatsu.

- Kathy Giustino-Koch

Lyme disease had been causing me horrible joint pain and stiffness, fatigue, and brain fog for seven months. My treatment plan was 3-6 weekly sessions involving shiatsu and visualization. I felt 50% better the first day, and throughout the week I started feeling improvement on emotional issues. By the third week, I began to develop a new mindset and my health continued to improve. We finished in three weeks and I’m still feeling great.  I highly recommend this therapy be added to your existing plan.

- M.B., Waitress

Emotionally Overwhelming States

Phobias, Post-Traumatic Stress, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Depression, Unresolved Grief

After a trip to India, I was quite depleted. In the previous four years, I had experienced some dramatic changes in my life and lot of emotional stress.  I began experiencing anxiety. The anxiety grew into panic attacks specifically triggered in situations when I was alone, even at home. The panic was worst when I was driving a car alone. I modified my life and was not able to be alone or drive anywhere alone.  Eventually, I was determined to find a resolution and understand what this was about. I was determined to go back to living without being limited by the fear.  Steve encouraged me that this can often be resolved in only couple of treatments. After only one treatment, I felt the shift had happened. I was in disbelief. Before I even saw him for the second treatment, I was back to driving alone and adjusting to feeling free from the fear holding me back.

- Gordana Markovic

I was always afraid of heights as far back as I can remember. Even standing or walking close to the edge of a railway platform and looking down at the tracks made me feel anxious. When I heard that my phobia could be cured in a single session, I tried to keep an open mind, but there was certainly a part of me that was skeptical. We decided that after receiving shiatsu, I would test the result by going to a nearby railway platform and peer over the edge. I was completely amazed that not only was I able to peer over the edge, but was able to stand on the edge with one foot dangling over the tracks! It was a strange feeling since my logical mind seemed to be telling me that I should be anxious, but emotionally there was no fear or nervousness. Even months later, I continue to be amazed at the results.

- M.P.

I have memories of childhood trauma, which I store subconsciously in my muscles. I would feel debilitating pain on a regular basis and times of stress tend to make it much worse. I told my shiatsu therapist about the source of my chronic pain, and without having to reveal any details, she has helped me to release the memories, their emotional intensity, and the muscle tension that brought about my chronic pain. This is after just four visits with her! Her skills, compassionate approach, and commitment to my well-being, have brought me to a place that I never thought possible. I am being freed of the trauma, pure and simple.

- Ina

For months I felt severe anxiety about an upcoming event, to the point of shaking when thinking about it. Filled with dread, I’d break down crying at the thought that there was no avoiding it. Then I had a shiatsu session that specifically focused on my feelings about that event. By the end of the session, I could think about it calmly, without any of the usual emotional and physical responses. I couldn’t believe it. And the effect continued for weeks leading up to the event! I went through the actual event without any problems whatsoever, even enjoying it. I’m so grateful.

- V.L.

After one treatment for my phobia of flying, my full-body tightening when thinking about flying morphed into serious consideration of flying. After three treatments, I flew! I find the treatments to be relaxing and fascinating! I’ve been able to feel the difference in my level of fear and anxiety at the start of my session vs. how I feel after.

- H.L.

When I used to hear the noise that velcro or styrofoam make, it would tickle my brain and make me feel irritated. My Mom gave me a shiatsu session and now when I hear those noises it doesn’t bother me.

- Joshua, 9 years old

"I have PTSD from experiences in Operation Desert Storm.  When I usually revisit those memories with my eyes closed, what I see in my vision is a dark cloud passes over.  Now it's like it's still bright and I don't see that cloud.  I feel more relaxed, my body feels healthy, the second time, trying to revisit it, it's like I was neutral, I had no thoughts, everything was removed, relaxing, nothing came across.  I could still see the light that made it relaxing."  Watch a video of Jon's treatment: Shiatsu for PTSD

- Jon Johnson, Chicago Police Officer and Veteran of Operation Desert Storm

Call 847-864-1130 to book an appointment and mention that you would like to work with a practitioner who specializes in chronic conditions.

What is Zen Shiatsu?

Zen Shiatsu is a unique form of bodywork that provides the satisfaction of touch along with a profound energy-balancing experience. It is based on thousands of years of Eastern philosophy and methods of healing.  Shiatsu directly treats the meridian pathways within the body that channel Ki energy … our life essence. We experience this energy in the form of movement, communication, respiration, digestion, thoughts, feelings and spirituality. Any blockage or stagnation of energy within the meridians can result in physical, psychological and emotional disease. Zen Shiatsu helps you balance your energy on all levels, while experiencing a profoundly relaxing and clinically therapeutic musculoskeletal treatment.

When part of the body is energy-deficient, and not pulling its weight, other areas of the body must overexert to pick up the slack. The treatment goal of shiatsu is to energize these deficiencies, thus allowing the symptoms of overactivity to melt away.

A Zen Shiatsu treatment is as deep or as gentle as a receiver requires. The practitioner contacts the receiver’s energy level at an appropriate depth and with great sensitivity. Zen Shiatsu practitioners use both hands. One hand is used to listen, and sound out the responses of the receiver. When the other hand reaches an appropriate depth, an energetic connection passes between the hands of the giver. The receiver’s body tells the giver when the pressure is right. An energetic circuit is created between the hands of the giver, catalyzing change and movement in the body of the receiver.

Full-body stretches are also used to release areas of chronic stagnation and blockage. These stretches amplify and isolate the areas of stagnation, and receivers are encouraged to breathe deeply into their lines of tension. A rhythmic dance develops in the receiver’s body between expansive stretching and deep compression.

Zen Shiatsu is appropriate for all ages and body types. It is performed fully clothed, with the receiver usually lying on a futon on the floor. For receivers who have difficulty lying on the floor, the work is easily adapted to a chair. Treatments last one hour.


What can I expect during a session?

When you arrive at our clinic, we will ask you to fill out a brief intake form.  This will help your practitioner get a better picture of your overall health.  She/he may spend some time discussing any goals or specific issues you would like to address in the session.  She/he may also have some questions regarding your medical history or the specific nature of any issues you may be experiencing.

During your shiatsu session you will wear soft, loose-fitting, clothing such as sweats or yoga clothes.   The practitioner will ask you to lie down on a futon, or cotton mat, that has been prepared for your arrival.  Depending on your specific situation, the practitioner will ask you to lie on your back, on your stomach, or in some cases on your side.   If it is uncomfortable for you to lie flat, pillows and bolsters may be used to support sensitive areas such as the knees or ankles.

Once you are comfortable, the practitioner will use diagnostic methods to determine the current state of the energy in your body.  Usually the practitioner will begin and end the session with hara (abdominal) diagnosis.    All of the twelve meridians pass through the abdomen providing an ideal place to assess the energy of the whole body.   Using both hands, the practitioner will gently touch the hara to get a sense of the meridians that are most kyo (deficient) and most jitsu (excessive).  With this information, the practitioner can provide a treatment that is best suited for your needs.

The practitioner may use palms, fingers, or thumbs to treat the meridans.  She/he will use leverage and her/his body weight rather than muscle strength to control the amount of pressure.  This is safer for both the receiver and the practitioner and allows for a range of pressure from very light to very deep based on the receiver's needs and preferences. The practitioner may check in with you to make sure that the amount of pressure feels right.  During the session, feel free to let the practitioner know if you would prefer more or less pressure.

A treatment will address the whole body, with extra emphasis on resolving your primary complaint.


Frequently Asked Questions


What should I wear?

Please come wearing or bring soft, loose-fitting clothing.  Full-length pants such as sweatpants, yoga pants, or even pajama pants are ideal.  Jeans and similar pants do not work well for shiatsu because they restrict range of motion and have zippers, buttons and snaps that can be uncomfortable while lying on your stomach.  For a shirt, t-shirts, short or long sleeve work well.  If you tend to get cold easily, wear an extra layer, as the body temperature can drop while lying down.


What if I forget to bring clothing appropriate for shiatsu?

Loaner shirts and pants are available if you forget to bring your clothes or don't have time to stop at home.


What is your cancellation policy?

To reschedule or cancel an appointment, please call by 5pm on the last business day before the appointment.  Exceptions can be made only in the case of extreme emergency.  Thank you for your consideration!

Call 847-864-1130 to book an appointment, and mention that you would like to work with a therapist who specializes in chronic conditions.