Different Theories on How it Works
East Asian Medicine theory:
The basic theory behind all acupressure and shiatsu work involves the Chinese principle of chi, or life energy. Chi is constantly changing and moving throughout our system, circulating into areas of deficiency, draining from areas of overabundance. It is when the balance is disrupted for reasons of illness or trauma that blockages occur and stagnation, deficiency or excess cannot correct themselves. By applying pressure on acupoints or along the meridians (energy channels) through which chi is believed to flow, these conditions are
altered, and balance can reoccur.
Western neurological theory:
The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems work together in responding to stress or illness. The sympathetic part of the autonomic nervous system stimulates the body. The parasympathetic helps it return to a sense of calm and relaxation. As pressure to acupoints or meridians is applied, the skins surface immediately triggers a response in the nervous system. By using quiet and gentle movements a practitioner can encourage a parasympathetic response in order to relax the system, while more active and vigorous movements can be used to elicit a sympathetic response that stimulates it.
Western neuromuscular theory:
According to practitioners of Namikoshi shiatsu, shiatsu has an effect on all the bodys systems. They believe that applying pressure helps to release trapped toxins within the cells, bringing a rebound of fresh arterial blood which enhances function and extends cell life. Digital compression and stretching help lengthen and relax muscles and tendons, balance muscle tone, and eliminate restrictions in joint movements. Gentle stretches also affect the movement of cerebrospinal fluid, removing waste and replenishing nutrients to the spine and the brain.