Shiatsu in Tofino
by Dave Bird, Tofino
So you do shiatsu? (Pause… blink…
Oh! Shiatsu! I saw a place in Vegas that offered shiatsu… (Wink, Wink).
This is a common conversation I have with people when shiatsu comes up, my chosen modality of body maintenance.
Shiatsu, directly translated, means "finger pressure". It is a Japanese healing art based on both Asian and Western medicals principals. A session of shiatsu combines pressure techniques, gentle stretches and joint rotations to assist the flow of energy and improve overall health.
Shiatsu embraces the belief that " ki", "chi", or "prana" (whatever term you chose to describe life energy) flows through the body along channels called meridians. Blockages of energy in these channels cause organ imbalances, decreased circulation of body fluids, and waste accumulation in the muscles, leading to poor health, fatigue and a compromised immune system. Shiatsu helps restore the body to its natural state of balance by encouraging the body's own capacity to heal itself.
Still…So, what does happen during a session? The aim of a session is to encourage the function of the parasympathetic nervous system (aka the "rest & digest" part of our wonderfully complex vehicles). So you start with a safe, comfortable and warm environment; the session can then be performed on a low table, a futon on the ground, or even in a chair. There are no oils used and the person receiving the treatment remains in loose comfortable clothing, removing only their shoes. Comfortable pressure is applied to the body using thumbs, elbows or knees. The passive stretches and joint rotations are performed to increase flexibility & generate an overall feeling of well-being.
By relieving the effects of stress on the body, Shiatsu helps to harmonize and balance several conditions including headaches, whiplash, migraines, sciatica, digestive disorders, post-traumatic stress, carpal tunnel syndrome, and many more.
Now it is important to understand that Shiatsu is not a "miracle one-time cure-all thing"; it is more like preparing a field for seeding and planting: its effects are gradual and most noted over a certain period of time, but the results are astonishing. What better investment?
By increasing you body's energy reserves and revitalizing your ability to use your own healing power, you can feel the effects of a shiatsu treatment from 3 hours to 3 days.
I hope this helps shed a little light on shiatsu, as it is something I believe we can all benefit from.
Dave Bird moonlights at Shelter in the evenings.