What is shiatsu?
Shiatsu is a type of bodywork originating in Japan; more recently it has been developed in Japan, the USA and Europe. Shiatsu means 'finger pressure' in Japanese.
We use pressure, stretches, holding, joint mobilizations and rocking, to affect the physical structures of the body. In addition, shiatsu works with the body's Qi (Chi) - energy, using meridians and acupressure points.
Shiatsu treatment has positive effects on the body's physical structures and the internal organs, and it can also help the emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of our being.
Shiatsu is very versatile and can be tailored to the needs of each individual.
What is Qi?
Qi (sometimes spelled 'Chi' or 'Ki') is our life-force. Qi provides the energy for all our life processes. It gives our organs their transformative abilities, holds everything in place and supplies our vitality. It is also the organising force which enables our innumerable component parts to act harmoniously and in concert.
Our mental, emotional and physical aspects are all manifestations of Qi. Working with the Qi to release blockages, stimulate or balance it, can help with mental and emotional problems as well as physical conditions.
How shiatsu works
The Qi flowing in each of the meridians has different qualities and functions. Health and wellbeing can be positively affected by working with these different energies. For example, the Lung energy may manifest physically as the quality of the breathing and the skin; emotionally as sadness; mentally as the ability to have good boundaries and to allow in new experiences, and spiritually as our ability to be in the body in the present moment.
The relationship between the shiatsu practitioner and receiver allows the practioner to tune in to the receiver's energy to assess and diagnose what needs to change. Sometimes, the overall level of Qi may be depleted, through illness, coping with difficult life events or inherited problems. Shiatsu will then focus on boosting levels of Qi using specific points, and allowing the Qi to move more freely by balancing different meridians.
More commonly, the overall levels of Qi are not depleted, but there are imbalances between the different energies. Shiatsu aims to bring better balance and alignment between the different meridian functions. For example, helping the client to feel more secure, self-confident and well-nurtured by supporting the Spleen meridian, may also help to bring balance to the Liver meridian, which will help to reduce headaches and stress.