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
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 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 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
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.
Treatment There are four means to make a diagnose: These are:
listening to the sound of the voice and smelling the body and breath
asking question about the history of the disease, habits and
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
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
Shiatsu Stretch 3:
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Coughing and Congestion
Pressing the acupoints located below
your collarbone and alongside your breastbone relieves coughing, chest
congestion and breathing difficulties.
To control coughs, press the point
located at the bottom of your biceps and slightly to the outside of your
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
To relieve the pain of tennis elbow,
press the outside of your knuckle on the pinkie finger of your opposite
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.
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.