Updated: Oct 14, 2019
Looking for pain relief? Hoping for a good night's rest? Noticing repetitive, cycling thought patterns that render you unsatisfied and agitated?
Zen Shiatsu can probably help address these issues, amongst a myriad of other symptoms.
I am fortunate to have received treatment, and been able to engage in comprehensive study and training at Zen Shiatsu Chicago. It has utterly transformed my relationship to conceptualizing wellness, and the process of pursuing balance in my life, and I thought to acknowledge my training ground, in this blog post.
What is Zen Shiatsu?
(Description taken directly from Zen Shiatsu Chicago's website, http://www.zenshiatsuchicago.org/clinic/shiatsu/)
" Zen Shiatsu is a unique form of bodywork that provides the satisfaction of touch along with a profound energy-balancing experience. It is based on thousands of years of Eastern philosophy and methods of healing. Shiatsu directly treats the meridian pathways within the body that channel Ki energy … our life essence. We experience this energy in the form of movement, communication, respiration, digestion, thoughts, feelings and spirituality. Any blockage or stagnation of energy within the meridians can result in physical, psychological and emotional disease. Zen Shiatsu helps you balance your energy on all levels, while experiencing a profoundly relaxing and clinically therapeutic musculoskeletal treatment.
When part of the body is energy-deficient, and not pulling its weight, other areas of the body must overexert to pick up the slack. The treatment goal of shiatsu is to energize these deficiencies, thus allowing the symptoms of overactivity to melt away.
A Zen Shiatsu treatment is as deep or as gentle as a receiver requires. The practitioner contacts the receiver’s energy level at an appropriate depth and with great sensitivity. Zen Shiatsu practitioners use both hands. One hand is used to listen, and sound out the responses of the receiver. When the other hand reaches an appropriate depth, an energetic connection passes between the hands of the giver. The receiver’s body tells the giver when the pressure is right. An energetic circuit is created between the hands of the giver, catalyzing change and movement in the body of the receiver.
Full-body stretches are also used to release areas of chronic stagnation and blockage. These stretches amplify and isolate the areas of stagnation, and receivers are encouraged to breathe deeply into their lines of tension. A rhythmic dance develops in the receiver’s body between expansive stretching and deep compression.
Zen Shiatsu is appropriate for all ages and body types. It is performed fully clothed, with the receiver usually lying on a futon on the floor. For receivers who have difficulty lying on the floor, the work is easily adapted to a chair. Treatments last one hour. Zen Shiatsu is very effective in conditions where emotional disturbance or stress is an underlying factor. While this could be said to include all ailments, the following are the conditions most widely regarded as stress-related:
* Insomnia * Anxiety and Depression * Muscular Tension * Headaches * Digestive Disturbances * Menstrual Dysfunction * Low Resistance to Infection
Zen Shiatsu is also an effective treatment for the musculoskeletal system. It works directly on the tissues involved, stimulating healing and relaxation responses. It is therefore effective in the treatment of:
* Backache * Synovitis * Sprains and Strains * Neck and Shoulder Stiffness * Joint Pain
The localized physical effects of Zen Shiatsu also relieve:
* Sinus Congestion * Retention of Fluid in Tissues * Poor Circulation
What can I expect during a session?
When you arrive at our clinic, we will ask you to fill out a brief intake form. This will help your practitioner get a better picture of your overall health. She/he may spend some time discussing any goals or specific issues you would like to address in the session. She/he may also have some questions regarding your medical history or the specific nature of any issues you may be experiencing.
During your shiatsu session you will wear soft, loose-fitting, clothing such as sweats or yoga clothes. The practitioner will ask you to lie down on a futon, or cotton mat, that has been prepared for your arrival. Depending on your specific situation, the practitioner will ask you to lie on your back, on your stomach, or in some cases on your side. If it is uncomfortable for you to lie flat, pillows and bolsters may be used to support sensitive areas such as the knees or ankles.
Once you are comfortable, the practitioner will use diagnostic methods to determine the current state of the energy in your body. Usually the practitioner will begin and end the session with hara (abdominal) diagnosis. All of the twelve meridians pass through the abdomen providing an ideal place to assess the energy of the whole body. Using both hands, the practitioner will gently touch the hara to get a sense of the meridians that are most kyo (deficient) and most jitsu (excessive). With this information, the practitioner can provide a treatment that is best suited for your needs.
The practitioner may use palms, fingers, or thumbs to treat the meridians. She/he will use leverage and her/his body weight rather than muscle strength to control the amount of pressure. This is safer for both the receiver and the practitioner and allows for a range of pressure from very light to very deep based on the receiver's needs and preferences. The practitioner may check in with you to make sure that the amount of pressure feels right. During the session, feel free to let the practitioner know if you would prefer more or less pressure.
A treatment will address the whole body, with extra emphasis on resolving your primary complaint.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I wear?
Please come wearing or bring soft, loose-fitting clothing. Full-length pants such as sweatpants, yoga pants, or even pajama pants are ideal. Jeans and similar pants do not work well for shiatsu because they restrict range of motion and have zippers, buttons and snaps that can be uncomfortable while lying on your stomach. For a shirt, t-shirts, short or long sleeve work well. If you tend to get cold easily, wear an extra layer, as the body temperature can drop while lying down.
What if I forget to bring clothing appropriate for shiatsu?
Loaner shirts and pants are available if you forget to bring your clothes or don't have time to stop at home.
What is your cancellation policy?
To reschedule or cancel an appointment, please call by 5pm on the last business day before the appointment. Exceptions can be made only in the case of extreme emergency. Thank you for your consideration!
How is Zen Shiatsu different from massage therapy?
Typically performed on a futon on the floor, receiver wearing soft clothing
Treats the acupoint and meridian system, providing the same benefits as acupuncture
Moves the receiver through stretches with the same benefits as yoga poses Applied for relaxation, musculoskeletal therapeutic aims, or to benefit internal conditions or emotional rebalancing in the same way as acupuncture.
Performed on a massage table, received disrobed with draping, utilizing oils Treats muscle and connective tissue using gliding and kneading strokes
Applied for general relaxation or for musculoskeletal therapeutic aims