Shiatsu
Shiatsu is a therapeutic ‘bodywork’ system from Japan which is also known as ‘Anma’ and Te-ate (or martial ‘healing hands’.  It helps to release tension and stress on a level that is impossible to achieve working alone using, for example, Yoga or Kiko – ‘energy-work’.

Shiatsu is used in dojos, clinics. homes and monasteries throughout the Japanese islands.  It literally means ‘finger-pressure’, but mainly the palms and thumbs are used, it also employs other parts of the body to massage and stretch the recipient, such as the elbows or feet.  Shiatsu is a very effective physical therapy that releases tension and toxins from the muscles, nerves, organs and joints, and stored emotional stress from the subconscious.

In practice Shiatsu bears a strong resemblance to arts like Thai massage or Chinese Tui Na, but it has a theory side related to Yoga rather than to traditional Chinese medicine.

Meikai Shiatsu is practice based and experiential, rather than being weighed down with Chinese Medicine or Meridian theory as is common these days.  Such theory as is necessary is delivered verbally as need arises.  The techniques and their effects are generally explained using a simple fusion of Western therapeutic and Yoga theory – the chakra system is a useful way of intuitively understanding our body and emotional tension.

The object of Shiatsu is to treat stress rather than focusing on injuries themselves.  It works on exactly the same principles as Yoga, but someone else is doing the work for you, so the levels of relaxation achieved can be far deeper.  When stress levels are lowered sufficiently, the body’s natural self-repair and immune systems are free to do their work, which they are remarkably good at.

With perseverance this gives profoundly good long-term healing, rather than a quick fix – although surface results, like the healing of minor injuries and ailments, can often be achieved remarkably quickly  once the ‘outermost’ layers of stress are released.

Thorough massage helps the nervous and glandular systems to re-balance, and the organs to communicate and work more efficiently together.  The lessening of physical tension, and the consequent calming of the nervous system, allows our body to communicate internally more efficiently, bringing a greater awareness of self.
Over time our character becomes more fully integrated, and emotional intelligence and stability start to develop – which means that our intellect is better guided in our daily decision making, and we are less prone to making mistakes in our relations with others.

Arm and leg stretches with footwork.

Opening the heart area and ‘centering Down’.

Like Yoga, Shiatsu requires patience and repetition to achieve the desired results. It is by nature quite hard work to give or receive, and a good degree of strength, fitness and flexibility are necessary to practice, as well as an understanding of breathing, centering and body dynamics.  Therefore it is important to have some ongoing and relevant training experience in either the martial arts, yoga, or other physical therapy systems – dance, gymnastics or swimming etc might also be appropriate.
Shiatsu is by nature what is known as a ‘confrontational’ therapy system, in the same way that yoga is.  The recipient is bought to realise their own tension, and plays an active mental role in relaxing and releasing through the techniques being applied. Many people take to this with ease, their bodies quickly recognising that it is doing them good, while for others relaxing into it is a learned skill – which with perseverance pays off.
Students and/or recipients are encouraged to understand what their bodies need, and little-by-little to slow down enough ‘neurologically speaking’, to develop an internal awareness of self.  Clients coming for shiatsu treatments are also introduced to yoga or Udundi (as appropriate), and encouraged to start taking responsibility for their own wellbeing rather than relying on others – which is what our society and doctors tend to encourage.  Shiatsu can thereafter be used to augment their regular training as needed.
Also see: Bodywork Theory ~ Yoga

What to expect in a Shiatsu Class

Classes are small and friendly, aiming to introduce people to healthy, constructive practice.  Shiatsu is a full-body massage system, so expect to be worked all over!  All work is done at floor level with the recipient fully clothed (excepting for head, hands and feet, which must be bare).

Classes are varied, each includes a blend of the following study areas as appropriate for the group:

  • Centring down and loosening out
  • Warming exercises
  • Demonstration, explanation, and guidance through techniques.
  • Related exercises from Udundi and Yoga.
  • Paired practice.
  • Full exchanges.
  • Self shiatsu.
  • Bodywork theory.

Please note:

All bodywork is potent stuff, and done badly can be dangerous, so it is essential to learn from an experienced and bona fide teacher who fully appreciates the risks, and is able to teach responsibly.  It is studied at the dojo entirely at the students own risk, and the student has a responsibility to themselves to pay attention to their teachers advise.

At the Meikai Dojo we study the Eastern Healing Arts from therapeutic and scientific perspectives, not cultism or religion in any way.  Never-the-less meditative healing states are frequently used, and different theologies and spiritual beliefs, evolution, and procreation may be ‘looked at’ as having relevance.