Shiatsu, literally meaning “finger pressure,” has an unlimited number of benefits including better circulation of blood and oxygen through our bodies. Relief from headaches, neck pain, shoulder tension, back pain, lack of sleep, poor digestion, stress, migraines, jaw pain, cramps, pms and grief. Shiatsu helps with chronic pain issues of all sorts as it works to the core of the issue. It helps bring new awareness to the core and spine and a better connection with the lungs.
You can expect stretching, massage, energy movement, release of blocked chi(energy), release of old trauma, connection of yin with yang and balance of the Shiatsu meridians that run through your body. In Zen Shiatsu, we discover the healing potential of connecting breath with touch and pressure. Discovering the quiet gentle moments and working through the tight, constricted muscles and pain. Learning how to balance the gentle yin with the masculine yang. Often times I will connect two (sometimes 3 or 4) points along a meridian or paired meridians and “flush” or move the energy through connection with breath and the points and stretching along the meridian.
I also incorporate a lot of Japanese Ampaku (hara or belly) style massage. There is a relation in the hara to each of the meridians in the body. Here we hold a lot of emotions and tension. I believe this is also a great place to diagnose your health and check excesses and deficiencies. It is important to connect work in one part of the hara to another part of the hara, nurturing yin while tonification is met with the yang locations in the hara. I always connect the hara with the rest of the body as the session progresses. Especially in the mid(bra-line, which is the Wood element) to lower back. I really believe that the cause of a lot of peoples low back pain AND neck pain is due to tension in the hara. I like to hook your leg over mine and nurture your sacrum or lower back as I work the hara, there are so many points in the lower back, close to the spine and on the underside of ribs and the Quadratus Lumborum and Trapezius muscle it there too. We might end up on your side too, many great connections with the front and back can be achieved this way connecting the yin (front) and yang (back.)
I also like to combine some neuromuscular and deep tissue massage in my work. I try to connect it with the breathe and release it that way but sometimes the best solution IS to just breath through it, try laughing, of course you are always welcome to cry. Shiatsu and Watsu have been known to bring out a lot of emotions, this is due the muscle memory of trauma and other bizarre effects… gee I would like to get in to this and will sometime in the future. I have cried in joy and laughed in pain.. Remembered things I never wanted to see again. But never have I been safer than in the arms of my teachers and fellow students in the community of Shiatsu, Watsu, Waterdance, Aquatic Integration and Healing Dance Therapists. Or, the water world as we sometimes call it. Being in the water is a great place to be since we are made of so much of it, we came from it. It nurtures us.
I like to give you a little bit of homework too if there is time. Nothing too crazy as you will be tingling. But I’d maybe like to teach you a specific point, how to connect with it and the meridian it lies upon to help you better understand how to stretch it, breath with it and connect with it, smile with it and then let it go.
Breath in . . . and breath out . . . breath in . . . breath out and hold it out for a moment and breath in . . . lengthen your inhale and exhale . . . nurture the moment at the top of the breath and then especially at the bottom of the breath…