Shoshin Shiatsu (Beginner's Mind Shiatsu) owes its origin to the very roots of traditional acupressure, Zen, and Thai style bodywork.
Based on the awareness of the classic 14 meridian channels of Chinese medicine, Shoshin Shiatsu is the opportunity to still the mind and heal the body, as we move toward our place of balance.
The art of healing requires an ability on the part of the practitioner to expand beyond the normal limits of self-concern in order to become one with the person being healed...it requires the therapist to standing a place of non-doing and non-knowing, and from that expansive place garner an intuitive understanding of right action that, when acted upon, can sever the knot of suffering.
The constant attunement at the proprioceptive level required in receiving, processing, and transmitting information between client and practitioner ultimately transforms the act itself into the stillness of meditation.
Benefits of Shoshin Shiatsu
- Increased joint mobilization and flexibility
- Improves circulation
- Tonifies organs
- Relieves muscular and emotional tension
- Though very dynamic, also very relaxing, enabling the body and mind to re-balance naturally (homeostasis)
- Blood and lymph circulation increased
- Internal organs are stimulated, all helping to strengthen the immune system and clear toxins from the body
- Stretching increases capillary density, promoting the release of lactic acid
- Stretching releases endorphins, promoting relaxation
- Raises awareness of how client uses their breath and areas of tension where breath is impeded
Shoshin Shiatsu places emphasis on the "transitions" the flow of movement and regular breath, the sense of moving from one's center, using one's weight vs. strength.
Yin / Yang
Yin & Yang are concepts that are central to the unique viewpoint of traditional philosophy, science and culture in China and Japan. Established from the observation of nature and society, they came to form the basis of traditional Chinese medicine, which then spread to Japan. Understanding the role of Yin / Yang is essential in learning about Shiatsu: it forms the basis for all diagnosis and treatment.
The Chinese characters for Yin and Yang mean, literally, the shady side and the sunny side of a hill, respectively. The hill represents existence, the "ground" in and around which the Yin and Yang are in constant but ever-changing interplay. Alone, Yin and Yang have no meaning. They cannot be separated either from each other or from existence itself...
Unlike the idea of opposites inherited by Western culture from early Greek philosophy, the opposing qualities of Yin and Yang are seen as complementary and interdependent. They both create and control each other. When Yin declines, Yang expands, and vice versa, but there are no absolutes. Nothing can be wholly Yin or wholly Yang. Each contains the seed of the other: Yang will change into Yin, Yin into Yang.
Five Principles of Yin/Yang:
1. All things have 2 aspects - Yin / Yang
2. Any Yin/Yang can be further divided
3. Yin/Yang mutually create each other
4. Yin/Yang control each other
5. Yin/Yang transform into each other
Yin and Yang in Nature
Ki (also known as chi and qi) can be described as universal energy, dynamic life force, vital energy, the essence of life.
This energy is believed to circulate throughout the body in a well-defined cycle, moving in prescribed sequence from meridian to meridian and from organ to organ, flowing partly at the periphery and partly in the interior of the body.
Ki can be thought of as a form of vibration that ranges in frequency from low to high. Ki with a low vibrational quality seems heavy and slow, whereas ki with a high vibrational quality seems light and fast. The quantity of ki can be described as either deficient or excessive.
In shiatsu, an area of weak or deficient ki is called kyo, and an area of excessively strong ki is called jitsu. The presence of kyo or jitsu distorts the normal pattern of energy flow.
In its role as the life force, ki is always present and active within the body.... To the Eastern mind, the unobstructed, balanced flow of ki along the meridians is both the cause and effect of good health. Eastern medicine including the disciplines of acupuncture and shiatsu is dedicated to maintaining the balanced flow of ki throughout the body and to reestablishing that balance whenever it is thrown askew.
Three Properties of Ki
1. Ki arises from yin/yang
2. Ki is the primary substance of the universe
3. Ki is both material and non-material
Three Sources of Ki
1. Prenatal ki - the energy transmitted by parents to the fetus at the time of conception. Prenatal ki determines overall constitution and is stored in the kidneys.
2. Grain ki - the energy created by the quality and quantity of food that is eaten and the disposition at the time of consumption.
3. Natural air ki - the energy extracted from the air by the lungs air. The quality of the natural air ki depends on not only air quality, but also how we choose to breathe, i.e. shallow or deep.