Resurrection of our (Shiatsu) Saviour

***Please note that no disrespect was intended with the title of this post…I just like to play with words.

I have returned to shiatsu massage. (To tell you the truth, I have no idea why I stopped.)

Shiatsu literally translates as ‘finger pressure’ and is a Japanese therapy originating in Oriental medical theory and traditional Japanese massage techniques.

Shiatsu therapists treat the whole body as well as specific problem areas by addressing both emotional and physical well-being  The aim is to treat the body by balancing the flow of Qi (life energy); applying pressure to obstructed or weak areas. This relieves symptoms and resolves conditions, improving the patient’s strength and vitality. Shiatsu1The patient lies on a thin mattress on the floor, not a massage table which means the practitioner can use his/her body weight to increase pressure where it is needed, often synchronising the pressure with your breathing. Generally it is very relaxing but some acupoints will be more tender than others.

Shiatsu is recognised as being suitable for treatment of most common conditions including musculoskeletal, menstrual, digestive and immune system disorders as well as being one of the most effective therapies for stress management and relaxation.

eastwest_logo_for_WriteUpI go to a student clinic at East West College, which is a school that delivers training for the professional practice of Therapeutic Massage, Shiatsu, Oriental and Complimentary therapies.

Not so excited about students working on you?

Firstly, it is totally supervised. This is not one of those 6 week courses that people do at the local college – these are nationally and internationally accredited courses over 12 -24 months. Does that make the thought more comforting to you?

Next, it is $15 for an hour!!! (that’s introductory – normally $35) You really can’t beat that!

Lastly, it is fabulous!

There’s a new group of students (so my last masseuse/student has graduated) so I have been assigned to Peter. All my previous paperwork and notes were there for Peter so he knew what he was getting into (Poor guy!).

Our first session, last week, was pretty damn good. With a name like Peter, I guess you realise he is male (my last student was female) and his hands are large, strong and really warm. I think he was just a bit tentative with what he could and couldn’t do to my poor, wretched body…but I gotta say that, tonight, the man blew my mind!

This week, I have been suffering with an internal cold – it didn’t matter how high I turned the heating up or how much clothing I put on, I was shivering. And you know how sometimes the application of heat just helps? (Although sometimes it is cold that is necessary…gotta love Fibro, right?)

shiatsu5Well, today I didn’t even know that my muscles and joints were tight and cold but, each time that Peter touched my wrists, arms, calves, shoulders, etc, the warmth of his hands reached deep into my bones. He would touch one place and it was so welcoming that I didn’t want him to move his hands to the next spot…until he got there and, once again, my body welcomed his touch. (Sounds very sexual, doesn’t it? But it isn’t. Both parties are fully dressed and more than circumspect.)

At one point, he laid his hands carefully on the lower right-hand side of my pelvis, just above the bone – I jumped a mile. It seems that I have an energetic blockage in my large intestine meridian.

The function of the Large Intestine (Colon) meridian is eliminating the waste. The large intestine is called the ‘Minister of Transportation’.  It controls the transformation of digestive wastes from liquid to solid state and transports the solids onwards and outwards for excretion through the rectum.  It plays a major role in the balance and purity of bodily fluids and assists the lungs in controlling the skin’s pores and perspiration.

Coupled with the lungs by Metal energy, the large intestine depends on the lungs for movement via the expansion and contraction of the diaphragm, which works like a pump to give impetus to peristalsis by regulating abdominal pressure.

The Colon removes more than just the waste of the digestive process. It removes the waste of every organ and function, as well as mental and spiritual rubbish. If it is functioning properly, rubbish will not collect, stagnate and rot. There will not only be a clean body, but a clear mind – able to let go of old “baggage” of the past and take in new and fresh ideas.

Difficult to understand? Imagine a used-goods dealer: his success depends on the acquisition and sale or exchange of things people want and need, as well as the elimination of what is old, stale or unnecessary. A successful dealer is one who is vibrant and active. There will be no accumulation of rubbish in this guy’s shop. What will be found there will be of the highest quality, impeccably fresh and clean.

The large intestine relationship to the lungs makes it equally affected by the emotions of sadness, grief, and worry.  An energetic imbalance in the large intestine can result in physical weakness and provoke emotional introversion, accompanied by feelings of depression, irritability, discouragement, distress and apathy.  Strong emotions of fear or panic can produce an energetic-stool reflex reaction (such as IBS).

An imbalance of energy in the large intestine meridian is responsible for all abdominal pains. On an emotional level, an imbalance in large intestine energy manifests itself in difficulty with letting go.

So, Peter used his hands and body weight along the length of the meridian. I’m sure that I’m not cured but, for a short while at least, I feel better. While evidence of the efficacy of shiatsu is limited at this point, it is worthwhile to note that the risk is low and there are significant anecdotally reported benefits.

Listed below are links to research related to shiatsu therapy:

Now, I just have to work out a way to get him to come to my house to perform his magic so I can go to sleep immediately afterwards…do you think he’d stay and spoon me with his warmth?


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