Shiatsu is a physical therapy that supports and strengthens the body’s natural ability to heal and balance itself. It works on the whole person – not just with the physical body, but also with the psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects of being.
Shiatsu originated in Japan from traditional Chinese medicine, with influences from more recent Western therapies. Although shiatsu means ‘finger pressure’ in Japanese, in practice a practitioner uses touch, comfortable pressure and manipulative techniques to adjust the body’s physical structure and balance its energy flow. It is a deeply relaxing experience and regular treatments can alleviate stress and illness and maintain health and well-being.
How Shiatsu works
According to the Oriental view, 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. The Shiatsu practitioner is able to tune-in and resonate his/her own energy field and to offer, at a sub-conscious level, some possibilities for change – both physical and emotional.
The Western scientific approach acknowledges that Shiatsu will tend to sedate the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and promote the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The SNS is associated with the ‚fight or flight‘ response. In our society, this is activated far too much of the time by all the various stresses to which we are subject. The PNS relates to what we might broadly describe as the nourishing and healing functions (digestion, deepened breathing, blood circulation, etc). These are suppressed when the SNS is more highly activated.
History of Shiatsu
Massage, along with acupuncture and herbalism, was for centuries an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine, which was introduced to Japan by a Buddhist monk in the 6th century. The Japanese developed and refined many of its methods to suit their own physiology, temperament and climate. In particular, they developed the manual healing and diagnostic arts, evolving special techniques of abdominal diagnosis, treatment and massage, which are used in shiatsu today.
However, the practice of massage known by the old name of anma (anmo or tuina in China) became gradually divorced from medicine and more associated with relaxation and pleasure. Certain practitioners were concerned to preserve massage and related techniques as an accepted healing art.
In the early part of the 20th century, one such practitioner, Tamai Tempaku, incorporated the newer Western sciences of anatomy and physiology and disciplines such as physiotherapy and chiropractic into several older methods of treatment. Originally he used the term shiatsu ryoho or finger pressure way of healing, then shiatsu ho or finger pressure method. Now known simply as Shiatsu, it was officially recognized as a therapy by the Japanese Government in 1964, so distinguishing it from anma and Western massage.
Styles of Shiatsu
Many early Shiatsu practitioners developed their own style and some, including Tokojiro Namikoshi and Shizuto Masunaga, founded schools that helped establish Shiatsu as a therapy.
Today, Shiatsu has a number of different styles, philosophical approaches and theoretical bases and practitioners around the world are still evolving new approaches to treatment. Some concentrate on acupressure (acupuncture) points, while others emphasise more general work on the body or along the pathways of energy to influence the Ki that flows in them. Other styles highlight diagnostic systems, such as the Five Element system or the macrobiotic approach. However all are based on traditional Chinese medicine. (http://www.shiatsusociety.org/)
Harald Reiter – Shiatsu – Praxis im Raum
My approach is mostly influenced by my teacher Tomas Nelissen, who is a direct disciple of Shizuto Masunaga. He adapted the japanese style to western needs and called his style Hara-Shiatsu©. But Shiatsu ………………..more coming soon