Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine and a key component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in which thin needles are inserted into the body to various depths. TMC explains that health is the result of a harmonious balance of the complementary extremes of “yin” and “yang” of the life force known as “qi,” pronounced “chi.” Illness is said to be the consequence of an imbalance of the forces. Qi is said to flow through meridians, or pathways, in the human body. Inserting needles into these points with appropriate combinations is said to bring the energy flow back into proper balance.
Shiatsu is a form of bodywork performed with thumbs, fingers, palms, elbows, feet and knees. Pressure is applied to all areas of the body along specific pathways called Meridian-line which is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for acupuncture. It is understood that this technique stimulates the natural healing power of the body.
The focus of Shiatsu massage is to treat an entire meridian which is just like a highway of the qi-energy on the surface of the body. This is based on the theory that the imbalances to be addressed are based in the meridians, which require a free flow of qi-energy throughout. Thus Shiatsu can become an important aspect of preventive health care as well as treatment for existing symptoms.
Perpendicular penetration without side-to-side motion, unlike many massage techniques where movement across the surface is emphasized, Shiatsu uses penetration at each point, perpendicular to the body surface, to active the spot (“tsubo”) on the meridians.