by Kazuo Kamamata
Shiatsu is translated to mean "finger pressure." But what does this mean? The term "Shiatsu" is not old. When western medicine was introduced to Japan, the traditional health practitioners who gave teate (treatment) for the sick and injured used herbs and home remedies along with manipulation with needles and oftentimes, with hands. Those who mainly depended on the use of their hands had to unify and protect themselves against the new western medicine. They named themselves Shiatsu practitioners.
Teate (te-ah-te) comes from the words te=hand, ate=to place, and thus means placing the hand. This method of treatment or healing has been going on since the beginning of human history. Using our hands to clean and heal is an elemental practice that connects two people's body, mind, and soul. For example, a hurt or crying baby, touched by its mother, stops crying almost immediately because of its mother's pure desire to rid the baby of its pain. True healers are always spiritually advanced because they have compassion and are able to feel the other's pain. It all happens in the mind and manifests through one's hands. Shiatsu is that simple.
Intellectual understanding of some theories, methods, and concepts can be great tools and can enhance one's intuitional growth, but only when they are used correctly. Many intellectually oriented practitioners are not strong healers because they are lacking in sensitivity - with actual hands-on experience and their own physical and spiritual training. If health could be easily learned, maintained, and restored, there would be no necessity for extensive training. In reality, we need doctors because the distortions of our health manifest in all different directions and to different degrees.
A commonality among Oriental therapies is the basic belief in internal energy. When the internal energy flows smoothly through the body, all is well. But when internal organs and muscles are abused or mistreated with poor diet and lack of exercise, then the smooth flow of internal energy is disturbed. The person loses proper physiological functions and this leads to sickness.
I believe all therapies are good, but I personally I like Shiatsu the best.
This is part two in a series on Eastern Massage Techniques.
Kazuo Kamamata, along with his partner, Patrick Dempsey, run the Shiatsu Center in Solana Beach in California (619-792-6179).
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