By Sharon MacNulty
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is a Japanese healing art meaning "finger pressure".
It aims to bring balance within the body by applying pressure
to specific points on the body using mostly the thumbs but also
the palms, elbows or knees. A Shiatsu session takes place on a
mat on the floor, so that both giver and receiver are grounded
and centered. The recipient wears comfortable clothing in which
they can easily move.
Shiatsu practitioner incorporates actions such as stretches and
rotations, as well as pressing acupressure points. During a treatment
there is a combination of movements in the form of physical manipulation
along with moments of stillness while points are held. Shiatsu
is therefore an active as well as meditative experience for the
generally are deeply relaxed after a session and leave feeling
lighter and more balanced.
has its origins in Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is an ancient
holistic healing system. The Chinese believe that our health depends
on the balance of Qi, or "Life Energy" within the body.
If this energy becomes blocked we are subject to illness, and
over time more severe health conditions develop.
maintain health, Qi, (Ki in Japanese) must flow unimpeded like
rivers through the body. These rivers of energy are called Meridians
and flow throughout the body, weaving deeply in and out of our
organs then rising to the surface of the skin. The superficial
areas where Qi comes closest to the skin are called "Tsubos".
These are the locations of the acupressure points, where the points
will be pressed and held.
is applied gently but deeply so as to affect the flow of Qi of
particular Meridians. A point can be held for a few seconds, released,
and then held again until feelings of tension and pain dissipates.
All the while, the Shiatsu practitioner will be attuning to the
Qi in the client's body to ‘see' what its qualities are.
In this sense, the practitioner is always ‘reading' the
energy and taking note of areas that need more attention. As meditative
awareness and touch diagnosis are like tools used during a session,
each session can be nurturing and helpful to re-center the client.
is beneficial for such conditions as fatigue, stress, muscular
tension, anxiety, backache, digestive disturbances and menstrual
problems, among others. By harmonizing body, mind and spirit,
it rejuvenates and helps to increase energy levels, improving
one's overall sense of well-being.
McNulty is a Certified Shiatsu Practitioner in Charlottetown,
PEI at 569-5803.
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