The Japanese way of Acupuncture without needles Part 1 How does Shiatsu work? Shiatsu for commοn ailments
How and when is it performed? When is not suitable to do Shiatsu
According to this theory, the human body and its internal organs function with the power and influence of Chi Energy.
The imbalance between our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual world, is the reason that our body gets sick. What Shiatsu does is, to restore this balance of energy in the body and bring a harmony between these aspects of our life .
Shiatsu is performed by finger pressure (instead of needles) on the acupoints.
Shiatsu was developed in Japan by combining a Chinese type of massage, the Anma and
Western physical therapy techniques.
The Shiatsu techniques include stretching, grip and inclination of therapist's body weight
over many parts of the recipient's body.
The objective is to improve:
• the energy flow
• the blood circulation
• the flexibility and
• the Posture of the body
Pressure and contact is applied through
• knees and
It is performed with the recipient in various positions such as supine, side, prone, sitting.
The treatment focuses mainly along specific channels ( "Meridians") from where the
body Chi energy passes through.
Although Shiatsu literally means 'finger pressure', the soul of Shiatsu is communication
through touch. Shiatsu which meets the needs of the recipient, can not be achieved only
with technical skills and intellectual study. So that it will be effective, requires sensitivity
so that we feel and influence positively the quality of energy that exists within the
Shiatsu can not be used for treating diseases, as for such cases we must reach out to our
However, what it can offer is
• to relieve from some symptoms,
• to prevent and minimize some undesired evolution and
• to complement the treatment of some specific health professionals (if permitted)
Usually, some of such discomfort cases are
• mental and Physical fatigue,
• back pain and sciatica,
• period pains,
as it can assist on strengthening the immune system as well.
Shiatsu is done with the recipient wearing light and comfortable cotton clothes, usually
lying on a comfortable cotton or futon mattress on the floor. Usually, an experienced
therapist will use some pillows under the recipient's feet or hands, to cover the gap and
absorb any possible mechanical restoration and traction during the pressure.
The position can be supine, prone, lateral or sitting. There is continuous contact between the recipient and the Shiatsu therapist, while the first relaxes and the second maintains continuous physical, energy, and emotional communication in a relaxed meditative atmosphere. Do not forget that this is an energy healing technique!
Thumbs, elbows, fingers, forearms, feet pressure is used by the therapist. Also, some
stretching from the Western Physio or Oriental Yoga!
The fact that there is no need for the recipient to take off his/her clothes, like they do in
a Deep Tissue massage, Shiatsu is suitable in any place or in any time of the day.
Provided there is appropriate peaceful atmosphere without noises that distract our
No special equipment is required such as massage oils, only the expert hands of the
Generally Shiatsu is a very safe technique. Here it holds the same with the other
massage treatments. However, we would avoid just to press on some points or localy on
some specific areas.
Such points are, four points which may cause miscarriage to a pregnant woman or undesired premature birth and some points contraindicated in some people with hypertension or hypotension.
Also, we never press points with inflammation, edema, trauma, varicose veins or pimples.
An experienced professional therapist will first take a short medical history from the
client and then will go through the Shiatsu session.
One to understand how Shiatsu works, first should consider the core of Traditional
Chinese Medicine (TCM), in other words how this ancient Chinese system treats the
In Western Medicine, a doctor will deal more with the effects of the disease and will try
to minimize or eliminate them completely.
In TCM, the therapist will make a completely different diagnosis. He/she will observe the
whole picture of the patient, the overall external appearance, the way the patient moves,
speaks and behaves, until the color of the patient’s urine, the tastes that prefers and
his/her emotional state. The therapist will try to build a profile of the patient, which will
consist of some "Syndromes disharmony."
The Oriental therapist, the Acupuncturist or the Shiatsu therapist is expected to treat
this Disharmony and to restore it to its original equilibrium (state).
Chi is the vital force that supports every activity of the human body, mind and spirit.
According to the Chinese theory of Taoism, Chi is everywhere in the universe
surrounding us. It is in the air we breathe, the food we eat, inside us as a legacy of our
The Chinese character for Chi suggests that it is something which, at the same time is material and intangible
Steam, gas # (uncooked) rice = Chi
This clearly shows that Chi can be as intangible as steam and so dense material as rice. It also shows that, Chi is a thin element (steam) coming from something concentrated (rice), such as steam produced when the rice is cooked.
Chi has been translated like many concepts, such are: Energy, Material Force, Matter,
Ether, Material Energy, Life Force, Vital Force, Vital Dynamic, Moving Energy.
The inability to be translated exactly stems from it’s nature of taking various forms of
Chi nourishes the vital organs of the human body, the Blood and other Body Fluids and
our Mind. In Traditional Chinese Medicine bibliography you will see the word blood written with a capital B. This is to distinguish the difference between the red fluid of blood that runs in our veins from the Blood, one of the shapes Chi gets and one of the Vital Forces.
It is also responsible for all the processes of life, from conception, childbirth, to growth
'Wag Chong (Chinese philosopher during the Han Dynasty, AD 27-97)
- The Foundations of Chinese Medicine, Giovanni Maciocia
- Acupressure for common ailments, Chris Jarmie & John Tindall
- Shiatsu, The complete guide, Chris Jarmie & Gabriel Mojay & Ilaira Bouratinou
- A practical Guide to Acu-points, Chris Jarmie & Ilaira Bouratinou
- Meridian Exercises, The Oriental way to health and vitality, Shizuto Masunaga
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