Shiatsu literally means finger pressure. Natural body weight is used when pressure is applied on special points on the body. Through this pressure the energy flowing in the meridians is influenced. This energy is called chi.
Chi by itself is invisible, but the way chi works can be seen in the body. When a wound is healing 'just by itself' it is the work of chi. Traditionally everything was seen as an expression of chi. Chi is the origin, the power of live. When chi stagnates, the body becomes ill.
Meridians are channels of chi. Sometimes they follow the same line as muscles or blood-vessels. The functions of the meridians is:
control the movement in the body (blood, gas, air, water)
connect the arms, legs and head with the trunk
communication from inside to the outside of the body (and from the outside to the inside) and from up to down (and from down to up)
control the regulation of the organs.
There are twelve main meridians. Each meridian corresponds with an organ and is named after that specific organ. Triple heater however is an exception. This meridian corresponds with the relationship between a few organs.
The meridian is not only connected to the organ, but also to the eastern concept of the function of that organ. Large intestine for example takes care of secretion. Emotionally it is related with lost, parting e.g. A collector can have problems like constipation. Spending a lot of money also can effect the large intestine.
There are for means to make a diagnose: These are:
setsu-shin: touch, massage
bun-shin: listening to the sound of the voice and smelling the body and breath
mon-shin: asking question about the history of the disease, habits and preferences
bo-shin: looking to the shape and color of the body.
Setsu-shin is the most important one. Reflection zones on the hara and back, pulse, tongue, special tsubo's and manipulations of the joints are used. Often diagnose and treatment is the same. During the massage the therapist gets information which he uses for diagnose. The diagnose will change by time because the energy is changing. The information the therapist gets, he can use immediately for his treatment. This is a big difference with acupuncture.
An other important difference with acupuncture is the physical contact. The patient experiences the deep and intense support. If he feels safe enough he will show problems that are normally hidden. This is very important, because behind every 'pain' that asks to be cured, there is an other 'pain' hidden. Giving attention to this vulnerable problem is the beginning of recovering.