An Oriental Medical Perspective

The Philosophy behind Oriental Medicine

The philosophy underlying most forms of Shiatsu comes from Taoism.

The Western viewpoint is that things, if left to their own devices, will get more chaotic. Taoism explores the way in which some systems naturally start to re-balance themselves when they move away from equilibrium.

The Western viewpoint is largely true for simple non-living systems, but living organisms are good at adjusting themselves, and therefore are better described by Taoist philosophy.

Western medicine focuses on intervention to push an organism back into balance. In contrast, Oriental medicine believes that by helping the organism to activate its capacity for self-balancing, the body will naturally find equilibrium. From this viewpoint, problems occur when the natural process is not working and so you are stuck in the imbalanced state.

‘Treatment’ in Oriental Medicine is therefore treatment of the body’s self-balancing systems, which the Japanese call Ki (in Chinese it is called Chi). The closest analogy in Western terms would be if doctors had a way of boosting the immune system instead of giving antibiotics. Shiatsu and other Oriental therapies focus on getting these Ki systems moving when they are stuck and boosting them when they are weak. Then the natural process of re-adjustment will start to work again.

So it is possible that Shiatsu treatment may slightly increase the symptoms in the short term, going further into the condition, until the body has satisfied or exhausted this way of behaving and can start to transform of its own accord. The effect of this ‘natural transformation’ is believed to be more permanent than ‘transformation through intervention’ because the problem has completed it’s journey and is not just pushed under the carpet, waiting to reappear.

To be fair, most Western doctors believe the same thing. They are often reluctant to give antibiotics to children because they know that if they leave the child to get better naturally, it will strengthen the immune system and the child will be less likely to get that illness again.Returning the favour, Shiatsu therapists recognize the value of intervention if the organism has gone too far out of balance to adjust itself. They are trained to recognize when Western medicine may be more suitable and advise the client to seek medical help.  In this case Shiatsu can be useful as an aid to the recovery process once the necessary intervention has been made.

Source:Why have Shiatsu?