At school i was fortunate enough to learn the art of Zen Shiatsu. although it sounds like an ancient ritual, Shiatsu massage wasn't popularized in japan until the the 1950s. Shiatsu generally refers to pressure therapy applied to different parts of the body to relieve a variety of problems including back pain, neck and shoulder problems, stress, insomnia, digestive problems and fatigue. its based on Traditional Chinese Medicine by means that pressure is being applied along the same certain pathways or meridians along the body. these meridians are essentially the same as the one used in acupuncture today.
Zen Shiatsu was established by Shizuto Masunaga, who was born into a family of Shiatsu practitioners in 1925. Zen in one of the sects of Buddhism and involves training the mind through meditation. the fundamental purpose of Zen is to achieve total enlightenment through the discovery of ones basic nature. its principles and approaches can be applied to numerous human endeavors and many aspects of Japanese culture has been influenced by Zen. Culture such as archery, flower arranging, gardening, architecture haiku, Martial arts, tea ceremony and in this case, massage. Masunaga's book Zen Shiatsu: How to Harmonize Yin and Yang for Better Health, explains the concept of balance to maintain vitality and lesson the symptoms of disease internally.
basically, during a Shiatsu session, the practitioner needs to listen to the clients body. This begins with a Hara Assessment. Back to that in a moment. So, the practitioner stimulates imbalanced meridians in an attempt to restore balanced flow of Qi. From a Western standpoint, it's an attempt to calm the autonomic nervous system, help blood and lymph circulate and maintain and improve muscle tone and healthy internal organ functions. It is also believed that Shiatsu can strengthen the immune system. Regular and consistent Shiatsu treatments can become and important aspect of preventative health care as well as treatment for existing symptoms.
Consistent with 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
dis harmonies between internal organs
blockages of the circulation of Qi
When a practitioner works on you, she is trying to remedy one or all of these problems. Finding the imbalances internally comes from a Hara Assessment. In Japanese theory, the Hara is in the abdomen and is where all the Qi comes from. You can also assess the quality of every internal organ from the Hara. Below is a picture that helps make the assessment easier.
of the Hara gives you an idea of which organs are excessive or deficient. Feeling the Hara, your looking for Kyo Jitsu. Organs that are Kyo, are very Yin. They are soft, almost like when you press them, you press into a sink hole. Kyo organs need extra love. An example might include a Kyo Kidney from Diabetes or even simpler, a Kyo heart from anxiety or stress. The other angle is Jitsu, excess or Yang. Too much Qi can cause almost a tight or taught feeling in the Hara Organ. Like a rubber band. This indicates excess, like something as simple as in the Stomach after a big meal or in your Lungs when you cough excessively from a cold.
Its a lot to take in I know, but once you find the Kyo and the Jitsu organ you pay very close attention when giving Zen Shiatsu to try and put them back into balance. Once that is done the client should feel a better sense of balance emotionally and physically. Being in a certain state of mind and encouraging your client to do the same enhances the treatment.