Goudhi, Athens, March 28, 1986
I wish to thank Mr. Rossis and Mr. Karavis for their explanations upon the topic of Acupuncture. There is no better introduction for what I wish to talk to you this evening. Because above all, Shiatsu is a technique that is grounded on Acupuncture, which –as you already heard- aims at the reestablishment of balance of the human energy.
The word Shiatsu derives from the synthesis of two Japanese words: SHI, which means finger, and ATSU which means pressure. That is, pressure upon specific points on the human body, using the tips of the fingers, especially thumbs.
Primarily, the most important points of the acupressure meridians are pressed. However, we are not pressing only these important points. We also apply pressure on specific points which have specific effects upon muscles, bones, nerves, blood and lymphatic vessels, glands of internal secretion. This methodic pressure upon the whole body, with simple, deep, slow movements, lasts about an hour.
What is the effect of Shiatsu? First of all, it is deep relaxation and, at the same time, a sensation of well-being and euphoria. It is easy for someone to understand the importance of this, at this era, where most of our problems are created by stress – a time in which we are dealing constantly with psychosomatic disease. As a preventive therapeutic method, Shiatsu can offer a great assistance for the preservation of psychological and bodily balance, during stressful and hard times – an assistance that can prevent illness and, before that, the fatigue. Because, according to Eastern Medicine, the first symptom of all illness is fatigue. This indication of the very first disorder of the energy balance, which gradually exhausts the whole organism, attenuates its response and defenses and opens the gates to illness.
With Shiatsu, we can reduce the effects of fatigue on a healthy organism, allowing the body to use its own natural energy sources, in order to maintain the energy balance. Often we have spectacular therapeutic results, especially in psychosomatic disease, such as headaches, nervous depression, insomnia, constipation, indigestion and many more. Over and above, Shiatsu facilitates the blood and lymphatic flow, reduces muscular, rheumatic and visceral pain and has a beneficial effect upon the endocrine functions.
We can observe now that Shiatsu can of course be used as a supplementary therapeutic tool. However, it remains primarily a preventive therapeutic method, with main purpose to reinforce the energy balance inside the body, making it easier to defend naturally against disease.
As a mere technique, Shiatsu is easy to learn. However, it is not enough to simply learn the technique, recognize by memory every point, and start to press them in due order. Perhaps, this sounds strange to you, but the technique alone, even if performed in brilliant accuracy, cannot guarantee a good result. Why this?
Here we reach the most important element of Shiatsu.
Talking about finger pressure, we refer first of all to a superficial (epidermal) contact, since we actually touch the other person’s body.
Right here, I would like to reflect for a while on the word contact. What exactly do we mean with this word, generally? This evening we are together, I am talking to you, I can see you. You can see me too and you can hear me. All this establishes a contact between us. How important is this contact between human beings is something we all understand. In reality, what else is life, if not a never ending contact? The whole day we are in touch with each other, whether this contact is good or unpleasant. Certainly, without this contact, we would have difficulty to recognize that we are alive. Otherwise, we should be created to live our lives as hermits and monks, in a situation of constant spiritual exaltation, so that our contact with the Divine and only, would be enough. But such examples are rare, as we all know.
Yet, what exactly is this that makes contact so indispensable for a human being? And how is it that a certain contact can fill our hearts with joy or make us feel bad? And still, how is it possible that the lack of contact, that is loneliness and isolation, can make us sick? What is this contact that has so many powers? It is simply and only an energy exchange. In a simple meeting with another human being, one transfers everything that is inside him/her to the other person and viceversa, often without being conscious about it. This energy exchange happens through our presence, our voice, or simply with our glance only. It is not only a manner of speaking, when we say that the eyes are the mirror of one’s soul. The eye contact can be succeeded even in silence – through the power of thought. Under this light, we can see why some people’s presence is pleasant or unpleasant. And why an insincere smile is not going to save us.
Making a contact, gives us two opportunities:
A) Transfer a positive energy to the other person, keeping positive thoughts, of love and kindness, which will help create harmony to the other person and to us as well.
Or, on the contrary,
B) Transfer a negative energy to the other, by keeping ugly thoughts, creating disharmony to the other person and us as well.
This disharmony can result destructive in long and sometimes in short-term for the most vulnerable. The human being is a very complicated mechanism, consisted by material, psychological and spiritual energetic elements. The interdependence between them is absolute. Everything that can disturb their harmonious relationship can actually lead to the destruction of the whole mechanism, exactly as it happens in motor engines. Take for example the automobile. When a gear is in disharmony, it can destroy the regular function of the whole engine.
The disharmony created by the transferring of negative energy means that we are destroying something. And this something is just as invisible as the destructive thought.
Thus, we can finally understand that we need to have love and kindness inside us, if we wish this superficial shiatsu contact to become beneficial – especially because this epidermal contact has the power to multiply energetic exchange. The power and penetrative ability of human touch can affect considerably the other person’s energy.
Resting our hand upon another person’s body, we are given the possibility to: a) get in touch with his/her energetic qualities, reaching the very core of his/her existence, b) transfer inside him/her the substance of our existence and c) receive, possibly, the substance of his/her existence.
In this way, we have an energy exchange, a contact, a fusion in which one can no longer perceive who is giving and who receives. This fusion is what guarantees the therapeutic effect of shiatsu.
And this is the fundamental principle of every good massage. Of course, we could also state that the energetic exchange that happens through Love is the fundamental principle of every good therapy.
When the doctor or therapist does not really care, or has no kindness for his patient, how could he ever create a pleasant reunion, a positive and creative contact and atmosphere, how could he inspire trust? Cure is very difficult without love and trust. I could say that in some cases, love is the only cure. As to my personal experience, it has happened –at the most unexpected moments- to be cured, that is to feel immediately relieved with a single ray of love, which I had the ability to perceive at the given moment.
As it is widely known, the most competent and effective acupuncturists of the ancient times had the ability to cure you using only one needle. However, even they used to wonder: “even this one needle, why should I use it?”
Of course, you will say to me then that if Love is the only cure, why do you come here, talking about a technique? And you will be right. That’s what I’ve been asking myself too.
That is why we should stop here.