physical or emotional stress occurs internally, it also manifests
itself externally, in skin and muscle tissue. As a result, specific
points or regions can become painful, tense, sensitive, indented, etc.
Oriental medicine succeeded in developing a system of therapy that uses
these points not only for diagnosis, but also treatment. Acupuncture and
shiatsu affect the body's internal condition by manipulating the
peripheral or external tissues. The treatment results acupuncture and
shiatsu achieve have been explained by oriental medicine for centuries
while modern medicine is just beginning to propose explanations for
Ancient oriental physicians recognized that vital energy; known as "Ki" in Japanese or "Qi" in Chinese, is what circulates throughout a web of channels or meridians that link all of the body's parts and functions. Acupuncture points or (in Japanese) “tsubo” points, function like an electrical outlet along a wall, helping the practitioner plug-in and access the body’s meridian energy. Ki (energy) maintains and nurtures our physical body as well as our mind, keeping it warm, circulating with energy and vital fluids. When a person is feeling healthy, Ki flows smoothly through the channels, but if for some reason, the flow is blocked, weak, or excessive, then symptoms and illness can occur.
In treatment, the aim of the therapist is to correct the flow of Ki by applying pressure, stretch, and/or heat to specific points along the channels. By so doing, a shift in a part or function of the body is initiated. Transformations in Ki/energy precede physical change, so shiatsu can act as preventive medicine, rectifying or correcting energy flow before a serious illness occurs. If physical change has already occurred, it can be reversed by adjusting the flow of Ki.