masunaga meridian chart

Matthew Ferin - Bristol Shiatsu Practitioner

What is Shiatsu?

Shiatsu is a powerful Japanese form of bodywork. Whilst often compared to Acupuncture and massage, neither comparison is really correct.

Shiatsu uses the same pressure points or tsubos that acupuncture does but Shiatsu also works directly with the line that connects them (called the meridian). Shiatsu is a physical discipline and simple human touch can be extremely healing. Massage also utilises this principle yet it doesn't work with the energy generated by the body (or 'Chi'). The energetic connection between people is particularly important to my style of practice.

Meridians are like the veins and arteries of the energetic circulatory system and the Tsubos are areas where these pathways are particularly accessible. There are 12 major meridians and they are classified by the main organ they run through for instance 'Heart' or 'Liver'.

These 12 divisions will encompass the whole of a person, so a specific meridian will deal with physical areas of the body, particular emotions and thought processes. For example the 'Gall Bladder' meridian will encompass seemingly unconnected areas including anger, decision making, headaches, neck/shoulder tension, digestion and internal distribution.

Shiatsu can be performed in any position, usually it is best face up or down on a specialist matt or futon. No disrobing is required and loose clothes that are fully covering are best (i.e. long sleeves and trousers). No oils or other agents are applied. Sessions last one hour and will include a short discussion at either end. Contact is not painful or difficult and the aim is not to be forceful in any way. Whilst receiving Shiatsu I recommend that you simply relax, Letting go is all that is required of you.


How can Shiatsu Help me?

Shiatsu can be used to help with many different conditions. It works well physically, with things like back pain and stiffness but also with issues that are emotional or mental in origin. Often disparate symptoms can be traced to a common cause or disharmony and this is what we endeavour to rebalance by accessing the relevant points on the body. Something like back pain can be linked to a bigger picture of pushing yourself too hard, so whilst we would work on the painful area alleviating the symptoms, we would also discuss and deal with the cause (in this case perhaps doing too much).

Many common complaints can be very effectively treated by using Shiatsu. People have found my work helpful with issues like:

Stress, back issues, limited mobility, over thinking, worry, difficulty sleeping, nausea, anxiety, headaches and depression.

By viewing these symptoms as a way in or signpost, one can often find other underlying issues that cause them. By treating the root cause the chance of recurrence is lessened, hopefully freeing you from the symptoms permanently.