Shiatsu healing -using the meridians

When looking at the aspects of reality that are revealed to us by successful healing, the oriental based natural healing methods are of particular interest. This is because of what they reveal about the true nature of the human body, in particular the energy pathways through it, which they call meridians. It is along these pathways, which are said to be invisibly embedded within the physical body, that the life force, called qi or chi is said to flow. Blockages and imbalances within the chi, are said to cause ill health. There are several ways of addressing this. Acupuncture seeks to release these blockages and imbalances by inserting thin needles into nodal points on the meridians. Acupressure seeks to do the same by just pressing the acupuncture points. Practitioners use finger and palm pressure on access points to the energetic pathways, to improve the flow of qi. This, as in acupuncture, then allows the body to re-balance and heal itself.

Other oriental healing disciplines also use the energy meridians. The one I found most interesting is Shiatsu. This does uses the meridians, and their nodal points, to balance the qi, but also, at least for some practitioners, uses much much more. To explain exactly what I mean, what follows is a report from a very successful and experienced practitioner.

Jilly’s words
I have practiced shiatsu for many years. I seek to treat the whole person and look at many layers. Looking, listening, smelling and sensing the quality of a person’s body, psyche and energetic field take years of instruction and practice. The ability to home in on what is at the root cause of someone’s disease, whether it be physical pain, mental anguish, psychological disturbance or spiritual disharmony takes a degree of intelligence, both intellectual and intuitive.

I use intuition, centered from the heart, when diagnosing how to treat with shiatsu. To fully intuit from the heart, one first has to listen through the hara/Tandien (2nd Chakra). I listen by placing my hands on the hara, ( the nodal energetic point which connects to the universal flow of energy) of the client, emptying my mind as though in meditation. I thus allow the client’s energy to speak to my heart through my hands. At this stage, before I have started treating the client I usually see their aura (a light around their body) and assess its quality,  (i.e the colour, whether it appears damaged or weak anywhere), simultaneously I may receive a clear sense of pain in their body which can be transmitted to me, as either a colour, or sensation in my heart. I may also sense unshed tears and grief, anger, confusion, despair and many other areas of conflict of which the client is not aware. All this happens in a trice after having placed my hands on the client’s hara. Other sensations which transmit themselves to me are heat and cold, upward or downward movement of energy through meridians in the physical body which I am touching.

Once I have received all these messages, I allow my hands to start treating. Using the Oriental Medicine meridians and tsubo (pressure points) a treatment flows rather like a river, sometimes slowly, sometimes rapidly from one meridian to another, combining certain pressure points, manipulating the energy through the client’s meridians to restore balance and harmony which brings relief from all kinds of pain and distress. All the while I am treating, I continue to listen through my hands, hara and heart, just allowing my empty mind to follow where my hands want to go.

My own experience while treating someone with shiatsu can be as varied as the client’s reaction. Generally I feel peaceful, and at times a great sense of power flows through me which is transferred to the client. Physically I can experience blockages to their meridians shifting, I can feel the meridians that are empty of qi/energy filling up, rather like when you pump air into a tyre. Sometimes I feel resistance which is something like putting your hands on a squirming mass, but with patience and gentle intent the squirming will cease, and often at that point the client will let out a big sigh, or even burst into tears. Another time, if I have been working with a cold condition I will become physically cold myself, in fact once I was working on someone with a cold damp condition, and by the time I had relieved that person of their cold damp, I felt as though I was kneeling in a puddle of iced water.

My wonder at the power and efficacy of shiatsu never varies. I am constantly amazed and humbled by the beauty, subtlety and simplicity of this ancient Oriental healing art, overawed by the complexities of human frailties which can be touched, altered and corrected by the unconditional laying on of hands. I hope to continue to practice shiatsu for many more years.

Energy bodies

Reading Jilly’s testimony, it becomes obvious that she is working with much more than the energy meridians, she is also taping into the spirit or energy body of the patient. Emotions, along with all thoughts, are themselves just bio energy that can be stored in the body and released. All distress that is unreleased can travel across to the physical body and cause problems. I have personal experience of this. Once, when I was receiving a treatment from her, a wave of sorrow, which I was not aware was still there, almost overwhelmed me. This concerned an event of several years ago. Once released, I dealt with it, and felt much better.

What does science say?

There does seem to be some sort of acceptance, among sections of the mainstream medical fraternity, that acupuncture at least, has a role in controlling of pain and nausea. Experiments have shown acupuncture to be somehow affecting, and turning down, the pain control mechanism in the brain. Certainly in China it is sometimes used as a substitute anesthetic, for minor operations at least.

Another, semi science, explanation is that these procedures just calm an overactive sympathetic nervous system. This then improves circulation, relieves stiff muscles, and alleviates stress, thus allowing the body to heal itself. Could this be all there is to it?

Interestingly enough though, several studies have shown that simulated acupuncture appears to work just as well as real acupuncture. There also is evidence that acupuncture works best in people who expect it to work. Experienced and skilled practitioners would say that should not be the case in theory, it works whatever your expectations. Can the fact that it works better if you believe it will,  be another example of the mind triggering our body’s natural healing mechanisms?

Aspects of reality

Whatever the complete explanation of their working, I know personally how effective these procedures are. That they do work, may prove the existence of the internal energy flow system, thus energy meridians, within the body. It also reinforces the case for the existence of a spirit body, working along side the physical body to maintain optimum heath. Jilly also refers to a person’s aura .This is the electrical field which many people detect or feel around every living thing. Some say the condition and colours in the aura are said to reflect the state of physical and mental health. Whatever the truth of these matters, our physical reality is certainly more complex than mainstream science and medicine would allow.

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