Saturday, October 17, 2009

Spa Girl loves the Japanese art of Shiatsu

Shiatsu is a part of Traditional Oriental Medicine, and has been a part of Japanese health care for over 3000 years. That’s a long time to master perfection!

In 1957 the Ministry of Health in Japan published “The Theory and Practice of Shiatsu" and defined Shiatsu as follows.

"Shiatsu technique refers to the use of fingers and palms of one's hands 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."

My first experience with Shiatsu is still etched in my mind. I was a student in Toronto, Canada and went to see a traditional Shiatsu practitioner. A wonderful Japanese man dressed in traditional robes that knelt down beside me on a floor mat and worked his magic in a continuous rhythmic sequence. It was supposed to be an hour long session and he worked his fingers carefully to re-balance my energy for over an hour and a half. When he was done, he simply smiled and said you must lean to relax. After exams I explained. Once again he smiled.

When I moved to the west coast I took the opportunity on several occasions to visit a contemporary Shiatsu practitioner whose office was more like a typical massage therapist room with a table at just below waist height; a woman who had studied in Japan and whose skill was remarkable. As she worked her touch, and this has only happened once to me, there was an amazing rush of energy literally run through my body from head to toe. Such a deeply relaxing experience, I was like a wet noodle when she finished. The stress was definitely gone!

Shiatsu is a means to integrate the body, mind and spirit by releasing disruptions in the body's energy flow called Chi or Ki which move along meridians that are linked to the body’s major organs. By applying pressure and stretching techniques the Shiatsu practitioner is able to open the flow of Ki revitalizing the body and re-balancing energy, and promoting self-healing.

Touch is the essence of Shiatsu.

If you have never experienced Shiatsu I highly recommend trying it, especially on those days that are extra-ordinarily stressful.

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