Thousands of years ago, Chinese healers found that if they applied soft finger pressure on certain body areas of their sick patients, their patients would get better. Through this method they were able to increase the energy of their patients and treated their digestive problems. They recorded their findings and over time discovered that energy moves through pathways inside the body and there was a specific organ influenced by this energy flow. They named these pathways Meridians.
Several hundred of years ago, a Buddhist monk brought Chinese Medicine to Japan. The healers were fascinated by this form of manipulative therapy. The Japanese adopted this therapy and developed a type of acupressure massage which they named ‘Shiatsu’. A soothing massage that applies light thumb pressure on the body, Shiatsu massage is done with the patient lying down and the therapist applying mild pressure on certain meridian channels of a client in order to reduce stress and soothe aching and painful muscles. The client lies comfortably on a floor mat and wears loose clothing.
Shiatsu and acupressure works directly with the body’s energetic system via the musculoskeletal and nervous systems of our body. They have a major therapeutic effect on our overall health and well being. Shiatsu promotes relaxation and restores harmony and balance back into our entire system. Relaxation transmits messages through our nervous system that would lead to a reduction in the release of the stress hormone cortisol.
Cortisol is a defensive hormone that the body produces in excess during moments of stress and fear. Our digestion slows down or gets impaired, our sex drive, immune system, and all other non essential body functions are either shut down or inhibited depending on the amount of cortisol released by our body in order to release adrenalin. When we are in danger, our bodies automatically release adrenalin to give us the extra surge of energy and strength we need for the ‘flight for fight’ survival mode. These hormones are meant to preserve our life during times of crisis. It is our ‘get ‘er done’ and ‘hunker down’ surplus energy. After the crisis has ended, our bodies collapse into a weakened state of exhaustion.
The energetic system of the body is usually associated with Ki, Chi, Spirit, or Soul, as well as our emotional being, occasionally. This system is made up of the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical aspects of a person. Our energetic system encompasses the entirety of our being.
Disharmony and disease are directly brought about due to the imbalances in our energetic system. Several various factors such as stress, illness, poor diet, crime, poor self esteem, insecurity, overwork, fatigue, financial stress, etc. can adversely affect the smooth circulation of our energy. Life stressors tend to have a way of producing obstructions in our energy system that often appear along the meridian pathways.
In Oriental medicine in Bellingham, (that includes Chinese medicine), the source of illness, disharmony, and disease is treated with rest, nutritious foods, and acupressure therapy which focuses on the clearing up of energy blockages along the meridians in order to stimulate vital chemical reactions and promote life-giving circulation.
On the other hand, in Western medicine, symptoms are addressed with heart medicine, arthritis medicine, surgery, heartburn medicine, painkillers, muscle relaxants, anti-depressants, and other mainstream medical procedures.
Shiatsu can offer several health benefits to people including normalizing neural function through the autonomic and central nervous systems, improving flexibility of the joints, strengthening the immune system of the body, increasing the flow of energy throughout the body, and promoting chemical reactions that enhance organ function and the muscles generating relaxation in our system.