Shiatsu is Not a Breed of Dog

by Dawn Depke

Shiatsu is an amazing form of Bodywork that was conceived by combining Chinese Acupuncture and Japanese Anma massage thousands of years ago. “Shi” means finger and “atsu” means pressure in Japanese. Shiatsu is Japan’s first form of physical therapy that consists of pressure applied to the physical and energetic body or “meridian system” by the practitioner’s fingers, thumbs, elbows and knees to stimulate or sedate the flow of energy or “chi”.

Now, you might be wondering why you’d want your “chi” stimulated or sedated and the answer to that question is simple; to increase the quality of your life! Energy is the foundation on which your life is created. It is proven scientifically that everything is made from energy, including humans. If we are energy and our energy is low or stagnant, can you imagine what we’d feel like? We might feel sluggish, worn out, non-motivated, and maybe even depressed or ill. Now imagine if your energy is abundant and flowing, can you imagine how that would feel? Perhaps you’d feel happy, energetic, creative, motivated, and healthy.

It’s a safe assumption to say that most of us strive to have abundant energy so that we can live an amazing life, right? It sounds simple enough, but there are many things that get in the way. I’ve learned that “life happens” and sometimes there are major events that shake my world for example the house fire that happened to my friends house, the place I was living at that time, to some small everyday irritations that occur. What is the difference between the people who move through these situations gracefully and others not so gracefully?

There are many factors but simply put, it is our energy. I’m sure you’ve heard the terms “positive energy”, “negative energy” and “good energy”, “bad energy”. I’m here to tell you that energy is energy. It’s not positive, or negative nor good nor bad. It just is. However, in relationship to our body, energy needs to be flowing. Think about this, remember a time when you were in a bad mood or just a little cranky and you heard a song that you loved play on the radio or your best friend called and immediately your mood improved. Can you remember a time when that happened? What happened? Your energy shifted, increased or shifted in some way.

We can shift that stagnant or rapid moving energy very quickly through many modalities but today I am going to describe on one that I know very well, Shiatsu Bodywork. Shiatsu is a non-invasive modality that is received while lying on a massage table, through clothing. The pressure is dictated by the recipient so it can be light pressure or medium pressure. It should always be comfortable to the receiver. The body is gently stretched and moved while pressure is applied to the meridians and acupuncture points (no needles are used). When this pressure is applied to the physical body it also has an effect on the energetic body, the emotional body and the organ function. Each meridian specifically relates to an organ (i.e.: stomach, spleen, bladder, kidney, liver, etc) a season, a time of day and so on. Let’s say I was feeling your Gall Bladder meridian which is located the same place your IT band (lateral leg) is located and it felt tight to me. As I applied pressure to this area, it would physically release tension, energetically it is stimulating or sedating the energy flowing through the meridian based on the type of pressure I was applying and increase the energy to the actual organ. It also is related to an emotion, specifically mental emotional stress, decision making and anger. The goal is to become more body aware.

A complete session takes anywhere from 60-90 minutes and feels relaxing during and stimulating afterward. The way you feel after will let me know if you are overdoing it. If you are tired after the session it means you need rest and water but if you are energized, that is a good indicator that your life is somewhat in harmony.

Shiatsu received on a regular basis increases the benefits, increasing ones vitality and creating more harmony in life. Through my 11 years facilitating shiatsu bodywork, I have helped hundreds of people decrease physical pain, increase mental relaxation (chill the “monkey mind”), decrease tension headaches and migraine headaches, release suppressed emotions and so much more. I invite you to treat yourself to a session of Shiatsu Bodywork with me and experience getting in touch with your energetic body!

To contact me for this amazing experience for yourself, or if you are a professional and would like to add this technique to your current repertoire to enhance your clients experience, call 949.642.2094. As one of the leading instructors of Integrative Shiatsu in our country I provide a 24 hour continuing education workshop at an affordable cost for those looking to provide the best. The next continuing education workshop is starting in late September and limited to four students per workshop, so call to reserve your spot today. Both you and your clients will thank you!

If you have further questions or comments, feel free to post these below.

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