The gentle therapy of healing with finger pressure, shiatsu relies on the simple but powerful experience of touch to maintain a smooth flow of energy around the body. This affects the entire body and mind and leads to improved blood and lymph circulation, endorphin release, reduction in stress and anxiety and elimination of toxins. Shiatsu can therefore treat a wide range of conditions including depression, upper back, shoulder and neck pain, joint pain, digestive problems, injuries from sport or otherwise, headaches, migraines, asthma, whiplash, pregnancy, cancer and chronic illness. Shiatsu reintegrates the body and the mind, boosting energy levels, increasing self confidence and improving mood. Feelings of deep relaxation, support and increased vitality are common following a shiatsu treatment. The method, strength and frequency of treatment is varied to suit individual need.
As its basic therapeutic orientation, shiatsu uses the traditional Chinese medical theory that energy flows through a system of specific channels or meridians. Through the application of pressure at points along these meridians, it seeks to establish a more harmonious flow of energy through this system, allowing the body to naturally heal itself. Traditional Asian medical philosophies consider health to be a state of balance in the body that is maintained by the flow of life energy along the meridians. A diseased state is believed to occur when energy flow has become unbalanced and is either blocked or deficient. The purpose of shiatsu is to restore and maintain health by removing blockages and deficiencies in the energy flow through using finger pressure along the meridians. This keeps the life energy balanced and flowing smoothly, removing the problem caused by any imbalance.
Patterns of imbalance
When energy flow becomes unbalanced, it follows a specific pattern called a pattern of imbalance. There are many patterns of imbalance, each with its own unique set of signs and symptoms which allows it to be diagnosed and treated. For instance, some or all of the following - irritability, melancholy, moodiness, a feeling of fullness and pain along the side of the chest, tightness in the chest, sighing, a feeling of tightness in the throat or of something stuck in the throat - belong to a pattern of imbalance called liver energy stagnation. If the patient is a woman there could also be irregular periods, premenstrual breast or nipple distension and tenderness, premenstrual tension and irritability. Further, the stagnating liver energy can produce strong, painful cramping which may cause menstrual blood and debris to flow upwards through the fallopian tubes. If the liver imbalance is also accompanied with a kidney imbalance, called kidney yang deficiency, (puffiness or being overweight, lethargy, low libido and general motivation, lower backache, dizziness, sometimes accompanied by pain in the knees and legs which worsens in cold weather), this combination of patterns can lead to endometriosis or infertility.
Shiatsu is a dance between giver and receiver where a unique rapport develops between the practitioner and client. Shiatsu relies on the simple but powerful experience of touch to restore energy to a free flowing state throughout the body and awaken the body's self-healing powers. This touch communication between practitioner and client is fundamental to all healing methods.