Shiatsu – The Acupuncture Without Needles
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Published by TOP4 Team
Shiatsu (or acupressure) works on the oriental belief that, like blood, the body’s life force circulates. Just as the blood is carried in veins and arteries, the life force – which the Chinese call qi (“chee”) and the Japanese call ki (“kee”) – is believed to circulate in channels called meridians.
Stress, illness, injury or an unhealthy lifestyle all disrupt the flow. Blocked energy is believed to cause fatigue or jumpiness as well as leading to illness, so shiatsu can be used to help people relax. Western medical science doesn’t reorganise this invisible network of meridians, but Chinese and Japanese textbooks include very precise maps. These are what shiatsu practitioners’ work from when they press particular spots, known as acupressure points, to unblock trapped qi or stimulate the flow.
A weird idea? Well, like Chinese herbal medicine, it’s all been written down and practised for thousands of years. You can try it at home, using steady pressure with the thumb, or a small circular massaging motion over the spot.
To be effective, you have to press on exactly the right spot, so if it doesn’t work, try visiting a shiatsu therapist. Though it’s not always totally painless (that blocked qi can take some pushing along), a trained shiatsu practitioner known precisely where to press.
- To strengthen qi, press the spot four finger widths below the navel.
- For general well-being, press the spot two to three finger widths towards the thumb from the outer end of the crease made when the elbow is bent at right angles. This also eases tired arms and legs.
Press or massage the following points for at least ten seconds.
- Anxiety: The little dip below the outer side of the knee, three finger widths down from the kneecaps
- Exhaustion: Pinch the front top joint of your little finger, right on the joint itself. Also, press the centre of the palm or the central crease in the ball of the foot.
- Insomnia: Squeeze the ear lobes between finger and thumbs.
- Craving for a cigarette: Press hard on the “salt cellar” bone between the collarbones for as long as you can – press down onto the bone, not into your throat.
- Racing thoughts and headaches: Massage the natural dip at the temples, about an inch back from the outer edge of your eyes.
- Stress and headaches: The point between the eyebrows
- Headache:. Under the ridge at the back of your skull, press into both sides at the same time.
- Eye strain: The edge of the nose beside the tear ducts
- Backache: The middle of the crease behind the knee
- Menopausal symptoms: The tip of the chin, right in the centre
- Menstrual problems: A point in the middle of your forehead, three finger widths above the eyebrows
- Sharp pain: Rhythmically press the centre of the upper lip. And be sure to see your doctor!
- Long-term pain: A point on the back of your hand, three finger widths down from the space between ring and little fingers
For more massage options, consider visiting the top massage centres in Australia.