Shiatsu is a manual full body treatment, which originates from Japan, but which probably originates in the old Chinese massage form Tuina. The assumption is that the basis of all diseases is a broken energy ratio or too little energy. Shiatsu can also be used to order a desolate energy ratio or to raise a low energy level. The assumption: In a healthy person the life energy flows unhindered. Emotional stress, weakness, injury, illness and tension disturb this energy flow. Via Shiatsu, blockades in the energy pathways (meridians) are to be dissolved and thus a balance in the body-mind-soul relationship is to be re-established.
Origin of Shiatsu
Shiatsu is an independent, self-contained form of manual, holistic bodywork. It is more than just a form of massage, Shiatsu has its origin in Far Eastern healing methods, the basis of which is the idea of the existence of a dynamic life energy (Ki, Qi) inherent in all living beings. Health and well-being of a human being in his body-mind-soul-unity are states of harmonious balance caused by the even flow and the even distribution of energy in the meridians.
Philosophical Background of Shiatsu
Based on the Far Eastern knowledge about the unified dynamic order as a universal principle, Shiatsu is oriented towards the teaching of the Five Elements (phases of transformation), the principle of Yin and Yang, Kyo and Jitsu and the principle of Mu (Wu Wei). These insights are the basis for the energetic diagnosis as well as for the Shiatsu treatment.
Goal of Shiatsu
The aim of Shiatsu is to balance and revive the vital potential, to maintain and strengthen the body-mind-soul-unity, which harmonizes the flow of energy in the meridians. Shiatsu activates the self-healing powers of the human organism and thus counteracts the development of disharmony patterns (imbalances of Yin and Yang) (prophylactic effect).
The basis of Shiatsu is the Far Eastern energetic diagnosis (Bo-Shin, Setsu-Shin, Mon-Shin, Bun-Shin), the aim of which is to recognize an existing energetic pattern with the help of meridian, hara, back, tongue, face, pulse diagnosis etc. and the overall appearance of the client.
Forms of Shiatsu
Shiatsu is mainly performed on the floor (mat, futon) in traditional postures, in direct skin contact or by indirect touch (dressed) and without the use of aids. The pressure is applied vertically, stably, increasingly or moved from the centre of the body (hara) through the use of the body weight by means of gravity – i.e. without exertion of force – with hands, thumbs, fingers, elbows, knees and feet.
Meridians (like the 14 classical and the 12 Masunaga meridians) and points (Tsubos) are stimulated, whereby the pressure technique, the strength and intensity, the duration and the way of stimulation vary depending on the energetic condition of the treated person. Special shiatsu techniques include the two-hand technique, toning and sedation, makko-ho (meridian stretching), rotation and do-in exercises.
Shiatsu as Encounter and Accompaniment
Mindfulness and attention of the recipient (client) and towards oneself are essential characteristics of Shiatsu work, which are achieved especially through self-awareness (self-reflection, recognition of one’s own limits and possibilities) and personal maturation. This is a prerequisite for neutrality and the evaluation-free perception and recognition of a person and their condition (process). Emotional accompaniment and accompanying conversational guidance promote insight (understanding) and support the effectiveness of the professional Shiatsu treatment.
Effect of Shiatsu
Pressure on the meridians, tsubos, joints, muscles and tendons releases energetic blockades (states of tension, cramps, …) and promotes the flow of energy. Shiatsu stimulates the autonomous nervous system with a focus on the parasympathetic system and has a balancing (calming or stimulating) effect on heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, etc. In this way, calming and relaxation are achieved, as well as an activation of the self-healing powers of body, soul and spirit (as a complex, interdependent system), which leads to the restoration, promotion and maintenance of the energetic balance (inner balance and equilibrium).
Inner healing and growth processes are thus supported and made possible, as is the dynamic process of the human regenerative ability. Shiatsu especially supports and promotes growth and maturation processes, accompanies in difficult phases of life and facilitates the transition from one stage of life to the next, such as puberty, midlife crisis, menopause, aging.
Indications and contraindications of Shiatsu
Concrete complaints, whose healing process can be promoted by Shiatsu, are primarily functional, state and psychosomatic disorders such as tension, stress, nervousness, sleep disorders, fatigue, lack of energy, digestive problems, disorders of the vegetative nervous system, menstrual and other gynaecological complaints, respiratory diseases, circulatory complaints, headaches, etc., but also acute and chronic pain and functional disorders of the musculoskeletal system and in particular their prophylaxis.
Shiatsu is contraindicated after taking strong medication, alcohol, drugs or in case of mental disorders of the client. Special circumstances of the client, such as pregnancy, diabetes, varicose veins, psychiatric treatment, etc., must be taken into account by the professional Shiatsu practitioner and the form of Shiatsu used must be specially adapted. The prerequisite for this is cooperation with and/or referral to medical specialists and therapists.