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 Shiatsu  Holistic-online.com

Exercises and the three main centers

The body is divided into three main centers:
bulletThe Head: The head center controls mental activities, such as imagination and intellectual thought processes, and is concerned with the brow chakra.
bulletThe Heart: The heart center is concerned with interactions among people and to the world in general, including the natural world. It is related to the chakra of the throat and heart.
bulletThe Abdominal Centers: The abdominal center is related to the base, sacral and solar plexus chakras and is concerned with the practical aspects of life and physical activity.

Ideally, energy should be divided equally among the three centers. Factors, such as activity, education, diet, culture, etc, prevents this from happening so. In shiatsu, more importance is attached to the abdominal center, known as the hara.

Many exercises are available to help hara. We recommend that you do the deep breathing exercises described under the yoga breathing exercises. Once this technique is mastered, use a visualization to improve the effectiveness. While inhaling, imagine that ki is being inhaled down into the hara. Inhale slowly via the nose and imagine the ki descending. (It may aid concentration if the eyes are closed.) The breath should be held for about four seconds and concentration should be centered on the ki. Then exhale gradually through the mouth and repeat the process for a few minutes. Thus, while breathing, not only is oxygen inhaled but also ki (or prana) is taken into the hara where it increases a person's vitality. Once the technique is mastered, it can be practiced virtually anywhere and will restore composure and calmness.

Centered Movement:

This is an exercise that helps you to control the movement of the ki. To begin the exercise, assume a position on the floor with your body supported on your hands and knees (a body width apart). You should be relaxed and comfortable with no tension. This position is the basis for other movements that are practiced on others. While the position is maintained, begin to move the body backwards and forwards so that you are conscious of the transfer of weight, either on to the hands or knees. The body should then be moved slowly in a circular way, again being aware of the shift of weight from the hands, to hands and knees, to knees, etc, returning to the original position. As the whole body is moved, the abdomen is its center of gravity. Practice maintaining a position for about five seconds, registering the increase in weight on the hands when you move forwards and the reduction when you rock backwards. Then return to the original position. It is important that the body weight is always used at right angles to the receiver as this will have the maximum effect on the flow of ki. The reason for holding a particular position is that this has the effect of making the person's ki move.

The centered movement can be practiced on a partner in exactly the same way, following the same rules. The right hand should be placed on the sacrum, which is between the hips, and the left hand midway between the shoulder blades. As before, you should rock forwards and hold the position for about five seconds and then repeat after rocking backwards on to the knees. This basic procedure can be repeated about twelve times, and if you are not sure whether too much or too little pressure is being used, check with your partner. You will eventually acquire the skill of knowing what amount is right for a particular person.

Make use of body weight and not muscular strength; without utilizing any effort. Be calm and relaxed at all times. The weight of the body should be at right angles in relation to the receiver's body. The person's whole body should be moved when altering weight on to the receiver, maintaining the hara as the center. Any weight or pressure held should be for a short time only and both hands should be used equally. Maintain a regular pattern of movement while giving shiatsu. Always keep in physical contact with the receiver by keeping a hand on him or her throughout the therapy.

Shiatsu on the face and head

There are a large number of different exercises and techniques available to the practitioner. We will give one such exercise here.

  1. Hold the recipient's head firmly in one hand and, using the thumb of the other hand, press upwards in a straight line between the eyebrows towards the hairline. Each movement should be quite small, about 0.5 inch (12 millimeters).
  2. Place the fingers on each side of the head. Use the thumbs to press from the inner end of the eyebrows towards the hairline.
  3. Holding the hands at each side of the head, the thumbs should then be used to press from the start of the eyebrows across the brow to the outside.
  4. With the fingers in place at each side of the face, work the thumbs across the bone below the eyes, moving approximately 0.25 inches (6 mm) at a time.
  5. Commencing with the thumbs a little to one side of each nostril, press across the face below the cheekbones.
  6. Press one thumb in the area between the top lip and nose.
  7. Press with both the thumbs outwards over the upper jaw.
  8. Next, press one thumb in the hollow below the lower lip and then press outwards with both thumbs over the lower part of the jaw.
  9. The giver then puts all fingers of the hands beneath the lower jaw and then leans backwards so that pressure is exerted.

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Acupoints on the Head and Face

Related Topic: 

Yoga Breathing or Pranayama

Guided Imagery

Acupuncture

Next Topic: Beginner's Shiatsu

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