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Shiatsu literally means finger pressure. Natural body weight is used when pressure is applied on special points on the body. Through this pressure the energy flowing in the meridians is influenced. This energy is called chi.Health and Vitality, at Your Fingertips

It's the start of a new school day and in classrooms across China, school children are practicing preventive health.

Sitting at their desks, they press their index fingers between their eyes, pull their fingers down below their cheekbones, and press. With the middle three fingers of each hand, they press between their brows, pull out to their temples and press once more.

In China, no one is too young to learn the fundamentals of acupressure, an integral element of centuries-old Traditional Chinese Medicine.

More than 2,500 years ago, the Chinese concluded that they could relieve pain, lessen other symptoms of illness and promote health by pressing their fingers and hands on strategic points on the body. Pressing a point two inches above the wrist crease, on the inside of either wrist, between the tendons, it turned out, relieves and helps prevent nausea. Pressing the webbing between the thumb and index finger helps soothe and prevent headaches.

Today, millions of Chinese rely on acupressure to alleviate and prevent stress-related aches and pains, migraines, allergies, sinus problems, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menstrual and breast pain, nausea and constipation as well as to help heal sports and other injuries and lessen fatigue, stress, eyestrain, wrinkles, anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Chi by itself is invisible, but the way chi works can be seen in the body. When a wound is healing 'just by itself' it is the work of chi. Traditionally everything was seen as an expression of chi. Chi is the origin, the power of live. When chi stagnates, the body becomes ill.Normally, qi flows freely, but stress, poor nutrition, injuries, lack of exercise, poor attitude and exposure to the elements can cause blockages in the meridians and interfere with the flow of qi. Like a river that's been dammed, qi may flood some parts of the body and barely trickle into others. The resulting imbalance eventually leads to disease. Acupressure helps because pressure applied to appropriate "acupoints" along the meridians breaks up obstructions, allowing qi to flow freely and the body to begin healing itself, according to theory

Meridians are channels of chi. Sometimes they follow the same line as muscles or blood-vessels. The functions of the meridians is:

control the movement in the body (blood, gas, air, water)
connect the arms, legs and head with the trunk
communication from inside to the outside of the body (and from the outside to the inside) and from up to down (and from down to up)
control the regulation of the organs

There are twelve main meridians. Each meridian corresponds with an organ and is named after that specific organ. Triple heater however is an exception. This meridian corresponds with the relationship between a few organs.
The meridian is not only connected to the organ, but also to the eastern concept of the function of that organ. Large intestine for example takes care of secretion. Emotionally it is related with lost, parting e.g. A collector can have problems like constipation. Spending a lot of money also can effect the large intestine.

There are four means to make a diagnose: These are:

setsu-shin: touch, massage
bun-shin: listening to the sound of the voice and smelling the body and breath
mon-shin: asking question about the history of the disease, habits and preferences
bo-shin: looking to the shape and color of the body.

Setsu-shin is the most important one. Reflection zones on the hara and back, pulse, tongue, special tsubo's and manipulations of the joints are used. Often diagnose and treatment is the same. During the massage the therapist gets information which he uses for diagnose. The diagnose will change by time because the energy is changing. The information the therapist gets, he can use immediately for his treatment. This is a big difference with acupuncture.

An other important difference with acupuncture is the physical contact. The patient experiences the deep and intense support. If he feels safe enough he will show problems that are normally hidden. This is very important, because behind every 'pain' that asks to be cured, there is an other 'pain' hidden. Giving attention to this vulnerable problem is the beginning of recovering.

Shiatsu Stretch 1:
Bend Forward, Arms behind Back

Begin in a standing position. Inhale and place your hands behind your back and interlock your thumbs. Exhale as you gently allow your body to hang forward from your waist, allowing your arms and thumbs to raise up behind you, toward the ceiling. (You'll feel as though you're hanging from the ceiling by your thumbs.) Exhale as you hold this position. Inhale and straighten up. Repeat this stretch three to five times.


Shiatsu Stretch 2:
Sitting, Legs Tucked Under

Sit on your heels with your feet crossed, toes over toes, and with your back straight. Relax and breathe.


Put your arms behind you and your palms flat on the floor, then lean back, keeping your buttocks touching your feet and your knees together. Avoid arching your back. You should feel a stretch along your thighs as you hold this position. Relax and breathe.


If you don't feel the stretch, then bend your arms and rest on your elbows.

If leaning back on your arms is easy to sustain, try to sit between your legs with your buttocks touching the floor and then lean all the way back until your back is resting on the floor. Relax and breathe. Then sit up in stages: First prop yourself up on your elbows, then up to your palms and then back to a full sitting position. (If you suffer from any weakness or pain in the knees, skip this exercise.)

Shiatsu Stretch 3:
Sitting Position

Sit on the floor, with your legs drawn in and the soles of your feet touching. Inhale deeply and relax as you press your knees to the floor. If this seems difficult at first, gently push your knees with your hands or elbows

Next, exhale and bend forward until your head comes as close to the floor as possible. (Skip this step if you are pregnant, since bending forward will compress the area around your uterus.) Relax and hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds, then sit up and inhale. Repeat this stretch three to five times.
Next, sit on your heels, bring your palms together in front of your heart, with your elbows out and fingers touching. Breathe in.
Exhaling, extend your arms out to your sides and flex your fingers as though you are pushing away ten-ton weights. Then inhale as you return your hands to the original position. Repeat this three to five times.
Shiatsu Stretch 4: Bend Forward, Legs Out

Sit on the floor with your back straight and stretch your legs out in front of you, keeping your feet flexed toward your body at a 90-degree angle. Inhale when settled in this position.

Exhale as you allow your body weight to pull you forward, and gently reach out to grab the soles of your feet--or your calves or knees, if that's as far as you can comfortably reach--so that you feel the stretch in your upper thighs. (If you are pregnant, stretch forward from your buttocks, without letting your torso collapse, bend or sag over your legs, so that you feel the stretch in your upper thighs.) Inhale and straighten up. Repeat this stretch three to five times, each time holding the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, while continuously relaxing and breathing slowly and deeply.

Lower Back Pain

Pressing two points located two inches from each side of your spine, on your lower back, can help relieve lower-back pain caused from sitting for too long or from menstrual cramps. If you have a weak back, these points may be tender, so see your doctor before trying acupressure on your lower back.


Disk and Hip Pain

Using your index and middle fingers of each hand, press on either side of your tailbone, about where the crease in your buttocks begins. These points can relieve sciatica, resulting from inflammation of the sciatic nerve that runs from the buttocks through the leg, or from a slipped or herniated disk. These points also ease hip pain.

Headache--Between the Eyes

Pressing a point called the Third Eye, located at the bridge of your nose between the eyebrows, balances the pituitary gland and relieves hay fever, headaches, indigestion, ulcer pain and eyestrain.

Headache--Sides of Forehead

Pressing the index finger of your left hand to your left temple and the index finger of your right hand to your right temple can treat headaches.

Menstrual Discomforts

Pressing a point called the Sea of Energy, located two finger-widths below your belly button, aids premenstrual syndrome, menstrual cramps, irregular vaginal discharge, irregular periods and constipation. Use your index and middle fingers.

Menstrual Pain

To help combat menstrual cramps, press your index and middle fingertips to the point outside your knee, about three finger-widths below your kneecap.

Leg and Back Pain

Pressing both thumbs at a point called the Supporting Mountain, located in the center of the base of your calf, eases leg cramps in your calf and can help fight knee pain, lower-back pain and swellinf in the feet

Insomnia and Anxiety

Applying acupressure to the Spirit Gate point, located on the outside of your wrist, below the first crease and in line with your pinkie finger, relieves anxiety, cold sweats and insomnia brought on by being overexcited.

Insomnia and Pain

To ease arthritis, headaches and neck pain that can cause insomnia, press your left index finger against your hairline about one-half inch to the left of your spine and your right index finger against your hairline about one-half inch to the right of your spine.

Coughing and Congestion

Pressing the acupoints located below your collarbone and alongside your breastbone relieves coughing, chest congestion and breathing difficulties.

Out-of-Control Coughing

To control coughs, press the point located at the bottom of your biceps and slightly to the outside of your arm.


Pressing the point called Heaven Rushing Out, in the hollow at the base of your throat, eases hiccups, bronchitis, throat spasms, sore throats, chest congestion and heartburn.

Toothache and TMJ Pain

To relieve jaw pain and spasms, toothaches or temporomandibular disorders, press this point, called the Jaw Chariot, located above the end of your jaw, on the side of your face that hurts.

Tennis Elbow

To relieve the pain of tennis elbow, press the outside of your knuckle on the pinkie finger of your opposite hand.


An alternate way to relieve tennis elbow is to locate the point of greatest pain near your elbow, then press the same point but on the opposite elbow.


Hamstring Pain

Some people find that they can relieve hamstring pain by pressing the point midway between the back of the knee and the bottom of the buttocks, on the leg opposite the one that hurts.



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