Shiatsu Massage

 

Literally translated as “finger pressure,” shiatsu is a form of Japanese bodywork, based on the principles of acupressure and Traditional Chinese Medicine. The bodywork is performed on a futon or mat on the floor with the receiver clothed in comfortable, loose-fitted clothing. The practitioner uses a variety of techniques such as palm pressure, thumb-pressure, and manipulation (stretching) to enhance the flow of qi, our energetic life force.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

 

TCM has a written history of more than 4500 years, as the Nei Ching or The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine is believed to have been written about 2500 years BCE. To this day the manual remains the basic reference for modern TCM thought. TCM has slowly developed as an empirical science, combining thousands of years of observation with several complex philosophical concepts, in an attempt to explain all observed natural phenomenon, therefore often differing greatly from anatomical and physiological concepts of the west.

Qi (or Chi): According to TCM, Qi is our basic life force-- a subtle influence or vital energy that is the cause of most physiologic processes and whose proper balance is necessary for maintaining health. Qi circulates through our body via well-defined pathways known as channels or meridians. Qi not only makes sure that energy is flowing as it should in every individual body, but it is also organizing all of the cosmos so that it too flows justly and freely. The meridians are associated with internal organs and their observed functions. Qi circulates in a very specific 24-hour cycle from channel to channel and organ to organ, animating body functions as it moves. There are 12 major organ-related channels and various extra channels. Specific points with particular functions are located along each meridian. There are more than 365 points (or tsubo) along the meridians, each with a particular task for making the whole structure operate as smoothly as possible.

What is Yin and Yang? The Yin and Yang symbol represents the two opposing yet complimentary forces that influence the cosmos and all of us within it. The theory of yin and yang began in the early period of daoism when a group of traveling scholars tried to make sense of chaos. They believed that in the beginning there was a void, and then sound, and then everything began to seperate, working together and against one another to make the cosmos continue in balanced form. The Yin and Yang can only be seen in relation to other things and are based on the following principles: 1) They exist in polar opposition of something else, and it is in this relationship that it is able to exist at all (there is day, because there is night). 2) They are not static or absolute, but one always contains the other within it. 3) They mutually control one another (sharing energy and balancing one another) and 4) they mutually create one another and are in constant movement (and thus there is constant creation).

What is Five Elements Shiatsu? There are many different forms of Shiatsu massage; I was trained in the Five Element style. The concept of Five Elements is believed to have been introduced around 300 BCE and states that Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water symbolize various qualities of all natural phenomenon including: movement, the seasons, chemical composition, taste and all other manifestations. These five elements create everything by working in perfect balance, and they remain in perfect balance by being both nourishing and controlling of one another.

 

The 12 major meridians that run through the body are all represented within the five elements. All of the meridians (related to 12 major organs) are paired (one yin and one yang) and begin or end in the feet and hands, with the Yang channels moving in an inferior direction and yin channels moving in a superior direction. Yang channels are located on the posterior surface of the body and all the Yin channels are found on the anterior surface of the body.

 

The 12 regular meridians include: the 3 yin channels of the hand (lung, pericardium, & heart), the 3 yang channels of the hand (large intestine, sanjiao, & small intestine), 3 yang channels of the foot (stomach, gallbladder, & urinary bladder), and the 3 yin channels of the foot (spleen, liver, & kidney). According to TCM theory, qi flows through each of the 12 regular meridians in a fixed order, following the 24-hour cycle. If the qi gets stuck along a certain channel and is unable to flow through the body in its natural order, this manifests as pain or disease—and is treated by stimulating specific points along the affected meridians. The points (or tsubo, which means little vase) are sites through which the qi of the yin and yang organs and merdians enters, leaves, joins and converges with the body. Nearly five thousand years of observation has established both the location and action of each point.

 

Today, these points are stimulated with needles, pressure, massage (tui na), scraping, suction (cupping), herbs, or moxa, in order to treat disease.

 

Sunlight of heaven moves downward and water vapor of earth moves upward

How can a Shiatsu Massage help you? In TCM, health is viewed as an expression of balance in all the forces acting on and within your body. Any disease or pain is therefore viewed as disruption of that balance. Shiatsu helps to bring balance to that disruption of energy, whether it be manifesting itself as pain, exhaustion, or even a sore throat.

 

By stimulating the points along particular meridians that correlate to your specific complaints, we aim to support the whole body and help it on its way to healing faster. Every shiatsu treatment is different because every person is unique in his or her lifestyle choices, physical complaints, and response to healing.

 

Every shiatsu treatment begins with an assessment period of about 5 to 10 minutes in which time you explain what you are feeling and I can ask questions in order to find the best treatment your body needs. This assessment period does not take away any time from the treatment itself. For the shiatsu treatment you are dressed in comfortable, loose-fitted clothing, so that we may do some stretching. The treatment is performed on a comfortable futon on the floor.

 

 

60 minutes: 75 euros

90 minutes: 100 euros

© 2019 Watergraafsmeer Wellness, Genna Neilson, LMT Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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