Shiatsu means in Japanese « finger pressure », like acupuncture, it is based on the holistic system of traditional Chinese medicine, where illness is thought to result from imbalances in the natural flow of energy through the body, called ki.
« If the flow of ki through the meridians is smooth, the person is healthy. If the flow becomes sluggish, the person falls ill. The nature of the flow is analyzed on the basis of the Chinese conception of the duality Yin and Yang into two states called Kyo and Jitsu. In the Kyo, the flow of ki is sluggish, and the body’s function dulled. In the Jitsu state, the flow is too rapid, and the body functions are overactive. » Masunaga
Zen Shiatsu is a form of bodywork administered by thumbs, fingers, palms and elbows, feet and knees. Pressure is applied to all parts of the body along specific pathways called the meridians. These are essentially the same meridians that are used in traditional Chinese medicine for acupuncture, though modified and extended by Shizuto Masunaga (1925-1981).
Consistent with the basic concepts of traditional Chinese medicine, Zen Shiatsu is grounded in the theory that health problems are attributed to, or at least involve:
- imbalances in yin and yang
- disharmonies between the internal organs
- blockages to the circulation of ki
This technique stimulates the natural healing powers of the body, wherefore symptoms of disease lessen and vitality is regained.