Shiatsu is a form of acupressure massage, developed in Japan. The word “shiatsu” in Japanese in fact means “finger pressure.” Founded in the philosophies of Traditional Chinese Medicine, it works with our innate ability to heal ourselves through the energy pathways in the body called meridians.
Shiatsu massage is typically performed on the floor mat (futon) but can be adapted to a or even a chair. The client but remains fully clothed (less their shoes) giving a strong sense of protection and comfort. The shiatsu therapist uses their body and energy to work with the muscles and joints through pressure and mobilisation and stretching techniques, to stimulate acupressure points and the flow of energy to leave clients balanced and energised.
Zen Shiatsu is a particular style that focuses on the entire meridian pathway rather than specific points with routines and diagnostic skills to help treat each client appropriately with measurable treatment outcomes.
Zen Shiatsu is founded both in science and philosophy. This bodywork technique combines modern massage therapy, traditional Chinese medicinal practices, and oriental/eastern holistic healing philosophies to rejuvenate clients with vital balanced energy, and for stress and pain relief.
Zen Shiatsu also emphasises the linkage between the Five Elements and the free flow of qi (energy) through the meridians in your body. Zen Shiatsu seeks to remedy obstructions in qi flow or balance of yin and yang energy in a meridian through therapeutic bodywork and physical manipulation ‒ a truly holistic method of healing, and why the theory of the Five Elements is at the core of all our courses and workshops at COTY.
Since the same elemental energies that correspond to the body meridians are linked to the seasons of the year, we also teach students to recognise which meridian dominate the individual, the present season, and its corresponding element.
Explore the Five Elements below and learn more about health, happiness, how our bodies work in balance with the world around us.
When your Earth element is balanced, you are able to draw what you need from life – to nurture not only yourself, but others in return. The Earth element is our like our mother giving us what we need when we need it, including some tough love now and again. The Earth element coordinates cyclic patterns in the body, such as breathing and eating, so that you are able to transform the foods you eat and the air you breathe into energy, immunity, warmth, and even creativity.
We look to balance the Earth element through the Spleen and Stomache meridians. The Stomach controls your intake and habits, and the Spleen your capacity for desire, which keeps us seeking out what we need to be well. This, in turn, ensures a healthy blood quality that nurtures the mind, body, and spirit.
Think Earth, think nurturing, loving Mum.
They say you should not let your heart rule your head, but according to Chinese Medicine, the Fire element – through your Heart and Small Intestine meridians- represents how you feel about yourself and others. It gives you the ability to love and share feelings of contentment with the world around you. The rising energy of Fire helps you decide who you want to be close with when you want to be warm and open with others, and how to extract what is vital to life from the foods you eat.
If your Fire element is in harmony, it’s okay to let your Heart be the Emperor of your body, keeping your lifeforce healthy through good circulation, good digestion, laughter, and happiness.
There are two more meridians that form the Fire element, referred to as Fire II. These are the Triple Heater and the Heart Constrictor (or Pericardium) meridians. These govern our ability to protect yourself when you need it and open your heart to others when the time is right.
The Metal element is about contracting energy that gives you the ability to choose what to keep and what you can get rid of. Metal, with the help of the Lung and Large Intestine meridians, controls what your body decides to keep or excrete from the foods you eat. It also helps you choose what emotions and thoughts will keep your mind and body vital and decisive, making smart choices to keep you in balance.
A balanced Metal element will show in the glow of your skin and hair reflecting a happy, healthy, and strong you.
Metal – “If in doubt, breathe out.”
Your Water element gives you the ability to walk tall, hold your head up, and have a backbone (or spine) thanks to the Bladder meridian, which controls the strength of your entire back body. Its partner meridian, the Kidney, is the keeper of the qi that you are born with – energy known as Jing in Chinese medicine. This is a finite amount of lifeforce energy that cannot be replenished, so keeping your water element balanced is really important.
One of the biggest enemies of your life force is stress, and the Kidney happens to control your ‘fight and flight’ stress response with your adrenals. In yoga therapy, we look for optimal use of our energy to keep the Water element balanced by using only the energy we need to get things done.
Effortless action for long, calm healthy lives – that’s what the Water element is all about.
Let your imagination run wild. The Wood element governs how flexible you are, but this means more than touching your toes or being able to do that big binding pose. When your Liver and Gallbladder meridians are balanced, you are not only flexible in the body, but in the mind as well. The Liver meridian feeds your imagination, whilst the Gallbladder meridian helps you put all those great ideas into action.
The Wood element helps you solve problems with a clear vision and determination for success. With clear insight, you will develop a free-flowing mind and body allowing your spirit will soar.
Twist your way to a happy Wood element.