Academy of Shiatsu
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Accademy of SHIATSU

Where the Mind goes, the Qi follows, and where the Qi flows, the blood goes.....

What is Shiatsu?

Buried in the  roots of ancient Traditions of Eastern Healing and Philosophy Shiatsu has developed over time from Ancient forms Anma massage in Japan and Tui na massage in China. Shiatsu means finger pressure in Japanese. Based on the foundations of Traditional Chinese Medicine Shiatsu is also known as “Acupuncture without needles”. Chinese Medicine suggests we all have a life force energy or Qi which regulates Physical, Emotional, Mental and spiritual stability. Shiatsu aims to promote the process of self healing and personal awareness by balancing the circulation of this Qi. The holistic well-being of a person depends on the harmonic flow of this Qi .This flow of Qi can be disturbed either through external trauma, such as injury, or internal trauma such as emotional issues like depression or stress. When this happens aches and pains manifest on a physical level and we experience a state of Dis- Ease.

Practicing Shiatsu

The practice of shiatsu incorporates both theory and techniques and when starting on this journey both aspects should be considered and studied. When a practitioner is willing to open their minds and see the world form an energetic perspective you are open to change and the awareness of energy (Qi) in yourself and your client. The only way to develop this is to practice, practice, and practice. The more you use the information provided in these workbooks the more you learn to integrate both theory and techniques used to develop the foundations you need to become a professional shiatsu practitioner.

Shiatsu requires no special tools, equipment or oils. It can be done anywhere and when performed properly both the practitioner and the recipient feel calm, relaxed, balanced and energised. The strength of a treatment comes from the knowledge and experience of a practitioner.  A series of techniques are used to create a routine that is sufficient for a practitioner to provide shiatsu treatments without even understanding the whole concept of energy and the philosophies that support this healing. These workbooks aim to bridge the gap between theory and practice by providing the theory and practical knowledge needed to accomplish this. To asses a client’s needs, the shiatsu practitioner observes, listens, palpates, feels by touch and follows their intuition to perform a treatment session. Once the energetic condition of the body is assessed by a practitioner a treatment routine includes tonifying or dispersing energy, stretching, breathing and applicable shiatsu techniques are utilized to bring the person into balance. These workbooks present this information in easy to digest sections. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is not mysterious or complicated. It is a simple relation between the universal laws of nature and the human body. Once practitioners understand this we can interact and educate our clients on a deeper level of understanding of their health.

How does it work?

Shiatsu is performed by pressing, hooking, sweeping, rocking, patting, lifting, plucking, rolling and brushing. The practitioner uses his or hands, fingers, thumbs, forearms, knees, elbows and feet to achieve the desired result of a treatment. After warm up techniques are applied, physical manipulation of the soft tissue through palming and thumbing increases blood flow, releases muscle tension and lengthens the fascia around the muscles. Various stretches and ranges of motion are incorporated to increase flexibility of the joints and improve tissue health of the entire body. Acu-points are stimulated along the energy channels, known as Meridians, of the body to remove congestion and blockages in theses these channels. This improves the flexibility and flow of Qi around the body.

What does Shiatsu feel like?

Receiving Shiatsu is relaxing, invigorating with a sense of being in touch with every part of your body. Giving Shiatsu is like performing a moving meditation and leaves you feeling balanced and energized.

Benefits of receiving shiatsu

There are several benefits to having Shiatsu as it can be used to treat a variety of minor problems such as insomnia, headaches, anxiety, back pain, constipation, skin irritations, etc. Shiatsu improves health generally by relieving stress, calming the nervous system and stimulating the circulatory and immune systems. It is particularly effective for stress-related tension and illnesses, insomnia, back pain, headaches and digestive upset, recovery from injuries. However, through its stimulation of the hormone system shiatsu can also affect the digestive and reproductive systems. Apart from bringing relief to symptoms, shiatsu gradually corrects long term postural and behavioural imbalances leading to improved body/ mind awareness and a general sense of well-being and peace of mind. It is possible that one session of shiatsu will be sufficient to remedy the problem by stimulating the flow of energy along the channels. This may be followed by recommendations of regular exercises and changes in diet and/or lifestyle. Shiatsu invokes a general feeling of good health in the whole person, not just in the physical sense. There are many benefits for both the giver and the receiver of shiatsu, both on a physical and spiritual level. 

Effects after Shiatsu Treatment 

The immediate effect of treatments differs with each individual. A sense of well-being is common. Because of the deep relaxation that usually occurs and the stimulus to the major body systems, you may have some healing reactions. Some people feel cold or flu-like symptoms, aches and pains, or headaches after the first treatment. These symptoms will only last for a day or so and usually subside with each subsequent treatment. If these symptoms persist, please advise your client to consult a qualified physician immediately. In general, any such effects you may experience are positive signs from your body telling you it is making an attempt to correct its own condition in a natural way. These are signs of elimination and the beginning of the healing process; sometimes know as the “healing crisis”.

Mental/Spiritual: Connection with Spirit and conscious by use of intuition and supported by intention. Many people are drawn to bodywork therapies because of their genuine care and concern for others and the willingness to help. This compassion and concern to help others can sometimes be lost in caring for the practitioner too. Working with the right attitude and maintain professional boundaries is essential to the outcome of not only, good practice but the influence shiatsu has on the mind, body, spirit connection.

The following are some effects a client may experience:

  • Coughing and generation of mucus or symptoms of a cold: The coughing and production of mucus is due to the body being encouraged to rid itself of its surplus foods (such as sugars and fats) in this form.
  • A cold can sometimes develop when the mucus is produced, usually when the cells of the body are not healthy.
  • A feeling of tiredness: Tiredness can occur, frequently with a person who suffers from nervous tension. After therapy has removed this stress or tension, then the body's need for sleep and rest becomes apparent.
  • A headache or other pains and aches: There are two main reasons for these, which should only last a short time. Shiatsu redresses the balance of Qi in the body. Thus, blockages in the flow of energy are released and the Qi can rush around the body, causing a temporary imbalance in one part and resulting in an ache or pain. It is also possible that too much time or pressure may have been applied to a particular area. The amount needed varies considerably from one person to another. If the pain or headache persists after a few days, obtain qualified medical help.
  • Feeling emotional: Emotional feelings can occur while the energy is being stimulated to flow and balance is regained. The feelings may be connected with something from the past that has been suppressed and so, when these emotions resurface, it is best for them to be expressed in a way that is beneficial, such as crying. Be comforting and supportive. Allow them the space to express and release these emotions.
  • Feeling nothing at all. This can happen too and may be discouraging but do not be put off. This often says more about the person than you as the Therapist. Some people can be quite disconnected from their bodies and unaware of tension and stress or areas of weakness. Shiatsu can be useful in helping people become more in touch with their bodies – encourage them to be more conscious. Explain any of these effects to make them feel happier about their treatment.
  • In general, any such effects you may experience are positive signs from your body telling you it is making an attempt to correct its own condition in a natural way. These are signs of elimination and the beginning of the healing process.

Shiatsu defined by the Japanese Ministry of Health

"Shiatsu technique refers to the use of fingers and palm of one's hand to apply pressure to particular sections on the surface of the body for the purpose of correcting the imbalances of the body, and for maintaining and promoting health. It is also a method contributing to the healing of specific illnesses."

—Japanese medical department of the Ministry of Welfare (current Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare) in December 1957.






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