Ancient Chinese healers have found that using light finger pressure on their sick patients would make them get better. Through this technique, they were able to raise the energy levels of their patients and treated digestive conditions. They recorded their works in medical texts. Over time, those healers found that the human body has energy within itself that moves through certain channels, and to each organ was a corresponding meridian associated with it. These energy channels are called Meridians.
Thousands of years ago, there was a Buddhist monk who introduced Chinese Medicine to Japanese healers. The healers adopted this technique and developed it to an acupressure massage known as ‘Shiatsu’. This is an extremely relaxing form of physiotherapy that applies gentle pressure using the therapist’s thumb. The pressure travels up a meridian channel and down another meridian channel in a proper and smooth movement for each of the twelve meridians. During a Shiatsu massage, the client is clothed in loose clothing and lies on the floor on a comfortable mat.
Shiatsu and acupressure works straight through our energy system via the musculoskeletal and nervous systems of our body. These two techniques have a profound effect on our overall health and well being. Shiatsu restores harmony and balance to our energetic system allowing all the systems in our body to become relaxed and calm. Relaxation causes the nervous system to transmit signals that slow down the excess release of the hormone cortisol.
It is worth mentioning that Cortisol is a stress hormone. The level of cortisol released in our bloodstream can have a significant effect on our digestion, sex drive, immune system, and all other non essential body functions. If these functions are inhibited or slowed down, it will trigger the production and release of adrenalin, another stress hormone. Adrenalin is the hormone that provides us with a surge of energy and the extra strength to undergo a ‘fight or flight’ survival mode. Adrenaline helps us to overcome a certain life threatening crisis. We then collapse into a weakened state of fatigue when the crisis is over.
In Chinese medicine, our energetic system is sometimes referred to as our emotional being or ‘Ki’, ‘Chi’, Spirit, or ‘Soul’. This system is made up of the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical aspects that make up a human being. Essentially, our energetic system is who we really are.
Disharmony and dis-ease are manifestations of underlying imbalances within our energetic system. Various factors like stress, illness, unhealthy diet, hunger, crime, poor self-esteem, insecurity, overwork, fatigue, and financial worry can disrupt the healthy flow of life-giving energy. Life stresses can lead to the development of blockages in our energetic system, specifically in the meridians.
Western medicine addresses symptoms with heart medicine, arthritis drugs, heartburn medications, pain pills, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, surgery and other palliative methods.
But in traditional Chinese Medicine and other forms of Eastern medicine, the source of the disharmony and dis-ease can be addressed with acupressure or Shiatsu, rest, and nutritional food. These are all designed to address energy obstructions along the meridians that hinder essential chemical reactions and life-giving flow of blood and energy.
Shiatsu has other benefits that include the normalization of nerve function through the autonomic and central nervous systems, promotion of joint flexibility, strengthening of the immune system, and boosting energy and blood circulation throughout the body through the meridians and blood vessels. The chemical reactions brought about by Shiatsu improve organ and muscle function creating ‘ease’ in our system.