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The Practice Of Zen Shiatsu The Japanese Art Of Good Health

Of the numerous health therapies to originate from the orient, Zen Shiatsu is perhaps one of the least known. In point of fact, it's a very close cousin of two popular treatments - reflexology and acupuncture. Another name for Shiatsu is 'acupressure', which gives us some insight into the relationship of the two therapies. Acupuncture has been around for many years in Western countries, but Zen Shiatsu much less so. Westerners have a tendency to believe that this form of health treatment is somehow mysterious or magical, but it's solidly based on fundamental medical principles.

Both therapies act on the the energy flowing in channels, or 'meridians' around the human body. It's been shown that this life energy, or 'ki' in Japanese, moves along certain channels, connecting our internal organs and also showing indication of the state of health of the organism. The balanced flow of this life force is important for good health, and if it gets to be sluggish, or stops altogether, then we become sick. Hundreds of years past, Japanese therapists realized that the flow of life force can also be stimulated or blocked by external stimulation, either by needles (acupressure) or by the finger and other parts of the body (called shiatsu).

By the way, reflexology (massage of the feet) is very similar to the practice of shiatsu for the body, and distinct parts of the foot correspond to distinct parts and organs of the body. In the three treatments, acupuncture, shiatsu and reflexology, needles or pressure is applied to either increase or decrease the flow of energy in certain parts of the body, which gives the result of balancing the body's energy. When the energy is perfectly balanced (very rare), we are in perfect health. The next question is crucial to the process - how to decide if the energy is not balanced, and how to press in the correct places in order to reach this balance?

This is part of the art of Zen Shiatsu - diagnosis and treatment. The life force can't be detected of course, so a special technique has been developed to assess the nature of any asymmetry and also specify the treatment called for. The accepted manner to carry out a diagnosis is by examining the state of the 'hara', which in Japanese medicine is the middle of our being. Areas of the mid-section of the body are linked to particular organs in the body, and also have energy meridians related to them. The diagnosis entails deciding which organs (and hence which meridians) have too much energy and which have less. The specific treatment is founded on the diagnosis and attempts to create equilibrium between the strong and weak energy flows.

About Author Peter Bruce :

Peter Bruce is a freelance journalist operating out of Toulouse in France. Subject covered range from <a href="" target="_blank">shiatsu</a> to chess. (Peter is regularly involved in ' <a href="" target="_blank">stages shiatsu haute garonne</a> ' in the Toulouse area.

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Article Added on Sunday, October 23, 2011
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