• To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

    - Buddha
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Got Ki?

The foundation of Chinese Medical Theory is energy in its various stages of vibration and manifestation. The concept of Ki, as it is called in Japanese, or Qi, as it is known in Chinese, refers to the energy that is found in the tiniest particles that create and form everything in the universe.

While we are alive, Ki flows through every part of your body from the earth to the top of your head, keeping each cell and every bodily function alive.

While we are alive, Ki flows through every part of your body from the earth to the top of your head, keeping each cell and every bodily function alive.

It is widely accepted in quantum physics that the entire universe is comprised of the same energy in varying stages. Ki is not only the mysterious, such as aura, spirit, consciousness, but also the observable, such as earth, rock, metal and this includes you.

Everything that exists is ki continually transforming itself into varying forms. If you consider the process of life, beginning with conception, then birth, growth and finally death you can see that there are many stages of form at a cellular level. Ki is manifesting as the underlying change in all processes in the universe.

An example of ki’s observable transformation is a naturally occurring forest fire during a period of hot and dry weather. The dry plants and undergrowth become susceptible to the flammable essences in the air. Once these plants begin to burn they turn into smoke and ash that floats into the air around the forest; eventually the ash falls and settles onto the newly cleared forest floor, where it will become part of the soil.

Smoke, charred wood and ash actually cue certain plants to begin germination. The ash mixes into the soil promotes the germination of seeds, these seeds grow into plant life and new trees. In this illustration we witness the change in form from tree to ash to soil and back to tree and recognize that the energy remains the guiding process.

In the United States, we use to have a policy to suppress and prevent all naturally occurring forest fires.

In the 1960s, this standard was reformed when it was realized that by preventing the natural process of the forest fires we were preventing a number of important processes in nature. Including the natural growth of new Giant Sequoia trees found in California and population control of molds and bacteria that inhabit the forest floor.

Ki is "The One" from the opening line in Lau Tzu's Tao Te Ching: The Tao begets the One..

Ki is "The One" from the opening line in Lau Tzu's Tao Te Ching: The Tao begets the One...

As a healer and teacher, I have witnessed many healings by harnessing the power of ki. The techniques that I teach include using more than 350 acupressure points in combination with breath and energy-exercises to improve the function of the body, mind and spirit.

The focus is to maintain a natural balance of internal ki, which keeps your body’s natural healing abilities at their peak.

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Key Concepts & Theories Used In Shiatsu

Shiatsu is a Japanese form of bodywork that works to balance the energy of the Body and Mind. To this end, Shiatsu makes use of the body’s natural energy.

The basic concepts and theories used in Shiatsu are based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). They include (but are not limited to) :

Ki Energy

Yin & Yang

Meridians

5-Elements

Imagine Your Body As Land--The Meridians Are Your Body's Main Highways

Imagine Your Body As Land--The Meridians Are Your Body's Main Highways

The aim of a session is to encourage ki to flow harmoniously throughout the body’s energy pathways, known as meridians. The meridians are associated with aspects of the Body and Mind, such as movement and thought.

The meridians are divided into pairs which are yin and yang. And are further subdivided according to one of the five-elemental transformations (Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire).

Modern practitioners of Shiatsu continue to deepen their skills in two ways:

– by developing greater sensitivity to the subtle energy, which flows throughout the body and concentrates in the meridians;

– and by using the traditional theories of Chinese Medicine to accurately read the body and assess its condition for treatment.

 Despite its roots in TCM, the general approach and techniques of shiatsu reflects the cultural background of Japan by emphasizing the importance of being connected with and moving from your hara, and the philosophy of modern shiatsu reflects the philosophy of Zen Buddhism with its emphasis on self-understanding and awareness.

For the practitioner, focus and awareness comes from using hara, which is the body’s center of gravity. This is located in the belly. By using your hara you are using the total power of your whole body.

Using your hara requires you to originate all of your movements from your belly area. To be more specific–to move from a point just below the navel which is your body’s central pivot point. This point is called tanden (or dantian in Chinese).

The Japanese term HARA means to be focused in the vital center of self.

The Japanese term HARA means to be focused in the vital center of self.

The concept of hara, anatomically refers to the area below your ribs and your sternum all the way to just above your pubic bone. This part of your body contains many of the vital organs. Japanese culture believes the hara to be the seat of the soul, where self-consciousness is anchored.

From a pathological perspective, people hold emotional stress in their abdomen, affecting digestion and causing other physical problems.

In the west, the shiatsu practitioner receives many benefits, both physically and psychologically, by moving from their hara and by connecting harmoniously with the client.

These same benefits may be experienced by the home practitioner who uses shiatsu exercises and methods as home remedies for prevention of illnesses. Home application of shiatsu techniques can be very effective, however proper assessment of the state of ki and the meridians is essential for professional results.

What Is Shiatsu?

Shiatsu Restores & Balances Energy, Eases Tension & Stiffness, Impoves Breathing & Enhances Well-Being

 

Shiatsu is a Japanese bodywork therapy based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) formulated in the 20th Century. Its roots are in many different disciplines, including acupuncture, herbalism, nutrition, exercise and meditation.

There are several styles of shiatsu, all of which incorporate TCM and modern methods of muscle lengthening and joint mobilization to varying degrees. 

As a healing art it is revered as a form of preventive medicine. All styles of shiatsu use the power of touch to bring balance to the body and mind, enable self-healing, and induce relaxation and a feeling of wellbeing.

The word Shiatsu comes from the word shi, which means finger and atsu, which means pressure. Shiatsu technique may also incorporate applying pressure with your thumb, elbow and knee.

A shiatsu session may be dynamic with intense stretches to help release tight muscles or more static while the practitioner meditatively supports areas of weakness. Shiatsu is also regarded as energetic bodywork and the practitioner approaches the human body as an energetic organism.

The heart of shiatsu relies on its origins in Traditional Chinese Medicine; the practitioner uses his knowledge of the network of meridians that energetically support the functions of the internal organs as well as the individual’s emotional, psychological, and spiritual health. 

Cara Michelle giving a session in Ibiza, Spain.

A Shiatsu session may use stretches to release tight muscles.

In Japan people seek out a licensed shiatsu therapist for health reasons rather than pleasure and it is considered a form of medical treatment. It is important to understand that shiatsu refers to many varying manipulative approaches that are based on the location of the meridians, the acupoints and their functions, bone structure and the autonomic nervous system.

 This is an important difference when compared to traditional Swedish massage techniques that emphasize muscle, lymphatic and blood circulation, bone structure as well as the autonomic nervous system.

Receiving shiatsu regularly monitors the energetic changes that may be precursors to illness and helps by keeping the body and mind flexible and in harmony. Shiatsu is concerned with keeping the body and mind healthy and happy.

Unfortunately, in most cases people seek out a shiatsu therapist after they already have health problems, in which case shiatsu is an excellent therapy used in conjunction with your medical treatment. In the United States, shiatsu is growing as a complimentary therapy to medical treatments. 

“Shiatsu therapy is a form of manipulation administered by the thumbs, fingers, and palms, without the use of any instrument, mechanical or otherwise, to apply pressure to the human skin, correct internal malfunctioning, promote and maintain health, and treat specific diseases.”

The Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare