Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Healing Power of Shiatsu

Have you ever experienced Shiatsu? This form of health care was first mentioned in the book Shiatsu Ho (Shiatsu Method) by Tenpaku Tamai's published in 1919. The practice of Shiatsu is a massage technique that differs from traditional western massage. A Shiatsu practitioner becomes aware of and responds to the chi flow on existing energy pathways known as meridians in the body. When circulation is blocked through the chi counterparts, health can be compromised.

Acupressure points, similar to those used in acupuncture, are identified and targeted during a treatment to affect the flow of chi. Because Shiatsu is founded in the principles that disconnects existing between internal organs, imbalances in yin and yang, and blockages of chi can adversely affect well-being, the application of pressure upon these points releases energy and allows it to flow as needed for restoring and maintenance of proper bodily functions.

Shiatsu uses bodywork employed by by thumbs, fingers, palms and elbows, feet and knees. The practitioner also engages in a type of meditative state which is intended to detect responses in the body to treatment. This action affects the subsequent treatment step by step and allows the practitioner to note how the body is affected by what is being done.

When you go to a Shiatsu session, you will lie on a futon on the floor. Wear comfortable, loose clothing. Prior to your first session, you may be interviewed and requested to fill out an intake form. Some of the questions might be as follows: What is your favorite season? What is your preferred time of year? What type of sleep disturbances, if any, do you experience?

After you have completed the form and the practitioner has gained some information about how you interact with your own body and nature, the session begins. You will lie down, possibly face up, and take some deep breaths. The practitioner will do all of the work, using crawling movements, contact penetration (rather than direct pressure) and movement, and some palpation. The idea is to treat the entire body as one vessel to alleviate or eliminate problems the client may be experiencing.

Shiatsu is effective for many ailments including the following: neck, back, joint, and shoulder pain, digestive issues, headaches, blood pressure, poor circulation, anxiety, and PMS. This type of massage is also quite useful for stress, grief, shock, fear, and other emotional problems.

For more information on Zen Shiatsu, visit the Institute for Traditional Medicine.

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