More About Shiatsu

Background to Shiatsu

Shiatsu originated in Japan and is based on the principles of Oriental medicine. It literally means 'finger pressure'. Touch is the most instinctive and ancient healing practice of all and shiatsu has its roots deep in the traditions of Eastern folk medicine dating back over 2000 years. Shiatsu is a flourishing therapy in Japan today, where there are over 86,000 registered practitioners and it is becoming more and more popular in the West.

Central to Oriental thought is the concept of Ki or Qi - Vital energy. Ki flows through the body in a series of channels called meridians. This
Vital Energy can become blocked or depleted, producing a range of symptoms eg. headaches, backache, insomnia or depression. Along the meridians there are points where the Ki is nearer the surface and is easier to access.

Shiatsu uses a variety of techniques: gentle holding, pressing with palms, thumbs, fingers, elbows, knees and feet on the meridians and when appropriate, more dynamic rotations and stretches to improve the flow of Ki in your body and so bring body and mind back into a more balanced state.

Shiatsu training takes at least three years of intense study and practitioners are schooled in Western anatomy and physiology as well as Oriental medicine theory.

The style of shiatsu that I practice is called Zen Shiatsu and places great importance on the practitioner's own self-development and Ki training. This includes meditation and Qi gong exercises to increase the practitioner's vitality and mindfullness.

The Hara (abdomen) is an important area for treatment and diagnosis but also a potent energy centre to be developed by the shiatsu practitioner. Centering the breath and awareness in the Hara opens the perception and allows the practitioner to detect subtle changes in the receiver’s Ki and to be able to apply just the right amount of pressure exactly where it is needed.