what is shiatsu
Shiatsu is based on the idea that we have a subtle flow of electro magnetic energy flowing around our bodies. This can be photographed using a process called Kirilian photography. There is also scientific evidence to show that cells pass a subtle charge of electromagnetic energy from one to another.
In humans this energy, called chi in China or Ki in Japan, is highly influenced by our emotions. We feed our cells with our emotions through this flow of emotional energy. Chi tends to flow along major pathways, called meridians, before spreading out into smaller passages reaching every cell. Along these meridians are points, tsubos, where the flow of chi can be changed more easily. A shiatsu practitioner will seek to improve the chi flow in a way that resolves physical problems and help a person feel better.
how is macrobiotic shiatsu different
Macrobiotic shiatsu introduces the idea that foods have a living energy or chi of their own and that when eaten this will change the way chi flows in a person. For example eating lots of vegetables that grow upwards, such as Chinese cabbage, spring onions and leeks, will encourage your own energy to flow up more strongly.
Therefore when giving a shiatsu it is possible to reinforce the aim to move energy in certain way by suggesting foods for the person to eat between treatments. Someone who has a lot of tension in his or her shoulders may have a constrained chi flow there. It is as though there is too much chi but nowhere for it to go. This can be alleviated by stretching, kneading and pounding the effected muscles but there is a risk it will return in a few days.
A macrobiotic shiatsu practitioner will also be able to recommend foods that will reduce the risk of chi building up in the shoulders again. In this case lots of vegetables that grow up and out, broccoli, cauliflower, parsley, whilst avoiding heavy, sticky, salty foods that encourage chi to congest.
For me shiatsu is a powerful diagnosis tool. The beauty of giving shiatsu is that as a practitioner I can feel another person’s chi and know from direct experience how it moves. This can give important clues as to why she or he has the problems they came to shiatsu with.
Getting to know someone’s chi through a shiatsu treatment can for example show whether headaches are caused by too much chi in the head, neck, shoulders or intestines. Simply by relaxing and giving a shiatsu I will gain interesting insights into my shiatsu patient and out of that be able to offer better advice on foods and life style.
chi in foods
A macrobiotic diet is predominantly made up of whole living foods. All the whole grains, dried beans, seeds and nuts will sprout and grow if left on a damp cloth in dark cupboard, or even soaked too long. The vegetables and fruits are also still alive. Because of this the ingredients typically used in macrobiotics have a strong chi that is easy work with.
Dead foods such as pasta, biscuits or rice cakes still have chi but it is often muted and blurred making it much harder to predict its effect on the body. The easiest way to think of the chi in foods is to consider which way it grows. For example root vegetables grow down into the ground and therefore help move chi downwards in the body.
I might therefore recommend lots of root vegetables for someone who had an intestinal problem resulting from a deficiency of energy there. Foods that grow up encourage chi to flow upwards, so I would advise a person with problems resulting from slower chi in the lungs to eat more leafy green vegetables.
Foods that grow out such as onions or garlic can help bring ki out to the surface, simultaneously reducing congestion deep inside the body. Not only the ingredients but also the way they are prepared will change the chi flow. For example steaming helps the chi in the food move up more strongly, stewing brings the chi flow down and pressure cooking encourages the chi to flow inward.
healing from the inside and out
To me the combination of shiatsu and macrobiotic foods works so well because the two are complementary. A shiatsu treatment has an immediate influence whereas macrobiotic foods change chi slowly over a period of time but are potentially more sustainable. A shiatsu treatment works on ki from outside the body whilst macrobiotic food changes chi from deep inside. Inevitably the more any of us can heal ourselves with food the more self-sufficient we become. With the right macrobiotic advice it is possible that anyone combining shiatsu treatments with changes to his or her diet will experience more profound and longer lasting improvements.
Call 07543663227 or email to book a shiatsu with Simon in Shoreditch, London, E2 For more information go to shiatsu treatments.