Shiatsu or “Acupressure” massage, sometimes called Zen shiatsu, is a Japanese form of physiotherapy. It is often described as the equivalent of acupressure, but this comparison is not entirely accurate, because the technique looks beyond specific pressure points, incorporating other methods such as stretching, breathing and rotating for a more whole-body approach to restoring energy balance. Although many of the claimed benefits have yet to be conclusively proven, advocates assert that it can work to treat many different spiritual, physical and emotional problems. Generally considered to be safe, its roots are thousands of years old, and today, the technique is growing in popularity around the world.
The main concept behind shiatsu massage is that energy, qu or chi, circulates along channels or meridians in the body. When it flows freely, chi brings fresh, positive yang energy while carrying away negative yin energy, keeping an individual physically, emotionally and spiritually well. Under this view, a nearly infinite number of things can disrupt the delicate balance of yin and yang, and as a result, chi can become diverted, rushed, slowed or blocked, causing problems in wellness. Conditions such as sleeplessness, indigestion, swollen joints, headaches or depression are viewed not as sources of discomfort, but rather as symptoms of hyperactive, underproductive, blocked or misdirected chi. Practitioners of shiatsu or shiatsupractors assert that, by manipulating pressure points along specific meridians and relaxing the body, they can get energy back in balance and, therefore, treat numerous ailments.
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