Much of the stress that we encounter today is not from an immediate and identifiable source — it is in the background, constantly niggling away. With this persistent, low-lying stress, the body is on the alert a lot of the time. As a result, the systems are always on the defensive, and a feeling of total relaxation is difficult to experience. Through shiatsu, we can encourage the body and mind to relax and let go of tension — to switch from sympathetic to parasympathetic dominance. Then it is possible to feel at peace, with clarity the oneness that is blocked so much of the time. This “being in the present moment” is the most restful place to abide. Using quiet and gentle movements, we can encourage the parasympathetic response; through more active, vigorous movements we can stimulate the sympathetic nervous system.
We can, through shiatsu, become aware of what happens with pain and soreness in the body. If pain is experienced, the immediate reaction is to tense up against it. This tightens the body, adding to the discomfort; it blocks the energy paths to the area so that valuable energy is not getting through to where it is needed. Shiatsu techniques help to relax muscle tightness, enabling the vital energy flow to be restored.
What to Expect in a Shiatsu Session
A shiatsu session is a dynamic interchange of energy on many different levels. The aim is to create balance physically, mentally, and spiritually, and to allow the client space to open up, and see the true cause for his or her present condition. This will take varying amounts of time, depending on the condition.
Shiatsu is done through the clothes, and a treatment — usually taking a little over an hour — is normally given on a thick mat on the floor or on a low massage table.
One session is not as beneficial as three or four spaced out over a period of four to six weeks. The number of sessions needed for any one individual depends on his or her particular problem.
If the energy is very deficient, a number of sessions are desirable in order to monitor the changes taking place, and to ensure that any advice given is of help.