"Look, and it can't be seen.
Listen, and it can't be heard.
Reach, and it can't be grasped.
Above, it isn't bright.
Below, it isn't dark.
it returns to the realm of nothing.
Form that includes all forms,
image without an image,
subtle, beyond all conception.
Approach it and there is no beginning;
follow it and there is no end.
You can't know it, but you can be it,
at ease in your own life.
Just realize where you come from:
this is the essence of wisdom."
Tao Te Ching
(translation by Stephen Mitchell, 1995)
The Key to Understanding Qi
Qi embraces all manifestations of energy, from the most material to the most immaterial aspects (light, movement, heat, nerve impulses, thought, and emotion).
Qi is a universal force behind all forms of life. It is in a state of continuous flux, transforming endlessly from one aspect of Qi into another. It is neither created nor is it ever destroyed; it simply changes in its manifestation.
Life is a gathering of Qi. A healthy (and happy) human being is a dynamic but harmonious mixture of all the aspects of Qi that make up who we are.
Qi in Shiatsu
Shiatsu originated in Japan from traditional Chinese medicine, with infuences from more recent Western therapies. Shiatsu means “finger pressure“ in Japanese. It is a physical therapy based on the Oriental way of understanding the world and the human body, which comprehends matter and the immaterial as a whole.
The fundamental concept of Shiatsu therapy is allowing Qi to flow freely through the body. The aim is to restore balance by helping the body to unblock any obstructions and to replenish any deficiencies. The practitioner draws knowledge from Traditional Chinese Medicine, working through the energetic channels in the body.
According to the Oriental view, the Qi flowing in each of the meridians has different qualities and functions. Health and wellbeing can be positively affected by working with these different energies. The Shiatsu practitioner is able to tune-in and resonate his/her own energy field and to offer, at a sub-conscious level, some possibilities for change - both physical and emotional.
Apart from applying finger pressure along the meridians, the therapist also uses a variety of manipulation and mobilisation techniques to release tensions. Like other forms of Western massage, it uses pressure, stretches, holding, joint mobilizations and rocking to affect the physical structures of the body.