Meridian Shiatsu

Meridian Based Shiatsu Therapy

What is Shiatsu? Over 5000 years ago, India and China placed emphasis on massage using hands for therapeutic purposes. Shiatsu is a Japanese “finger pressure” healing therapy based on ancient Chinese medical practices.

There are several styles of Shiatsu that arise from various founders of Shiatsu – one of whom is Shizuto Masunaga, who created meridian based shiatsu or also called Zen Shiatsu.

A man applying shiatsu thumb pressure massage

Characteristics of Meridian Shistsu

Relaxation **

Therapeutic ****

Intensity: Moderate – Strong

Lubrication: No

Undressing: No

Tip: Depends on facility

How to interpret the rating scale

Shiatsu Meridian Exercises

By Emily Crown-Robinson, RMT, Dipl.ST (Hon),

In the ancient oriental healing arts, ‘meridians’ are thought to be the pathways for the circulation of Qi (energy) which exist in everyone. The central concept in oriental medicine incorporates the belief that all physical problems are a result of an obstruction in Qi flow. Restoring circulation can ‘cure’ disease. Meridian exercises integrate the body and mind and are designed to strengthen Qi in their corresponding meridians. They also aid in creating body awareness. In doing these exercises one can learn to release tension and increase flexibility in order to increase Qi circulation, therefore, balancing basic body function. Shiatsu Master Shizuto Masunaga said, “The most important feature in life is not the external form but the internal dynamics which create and sustain the form.

A few things to keep in mind while doing these exercises:

1. The stretches are best done in a peaceful/ calm atmosphere.

2. The focus should be on the slow quiet out breath without effort (like air leaking out of a balloon).

3. When breathing in during a stretch be aware of the lines of tension that will occur along a meridian – detecting Qi flow obstruction.

Lung / Large Intestine = exchange and elimination

The Lungs take in the Qi of nature and the Large Intestine eliminates unnecessary substances. Meridian imbalances often start to occur during depression and grief. This deceased zest for life usually leads to lack of physical exercise that promotes insufficient Qi intake and elimination.

Decreased exercise often causes constipation, chilled limbs due to poor circulation, chills in the lower abdomen causing diarrhea, respiratory tract disease, excessive sighing, heaviness in the head, back and shoulder stiffness.

The Large Intestine meridian is supposed to clear Qi obstruction. Imbalances here often include: lack of motivation, with-holding emotions, difficulty in psychological release usually paired with shallow breathing. A release of gas can be a symbol of emotional release.

Lung / Large intestine meridian exercise:

Stand with feet one shoulders width apart (knees unlocked), and link your thumbs behind your back. Breathe deeply into your belly and as you stretch your fingers out – imagining your body filling with energy to your fingertips. Bend into the illustrated position as you exhale. Relax and keep the fingers stretched out. Focus on letting go of all tension and thoughts for another cycle of breath in this position. Feel your body letting go – the stretch will deepen naturally. As you breathe in once more deeply into your belly imagine your body taking in new energy, as you breathe out you ‘let go’ further. Once more, breathe in deeply again slowly coming to an upright position as you exhale.