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The 60-Second Shiatsu

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Martial Arts of Japan

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by Robert Wolfe

    Shiatsu is a Japanese system of physical therapy based on the application of pressure to acupuncture points. The term “shiatsu” literally means “finger pressure,” but the art also makes use of the palms, the elbows and knees, and even the feet to manipulate the appropriate points, which are known as tsubo.
In theory, administration of shiatsu promotes balance of the energy field of the human body and enhances overall health by regulating the flow of ki along the acupuncture meridians. While development of the knowledge and skill needed to practice shiatsu as a comprehensive regimen is beyond the means of most of us, there is a greatly simplified form of shiatsu that is easy to learn, safe to apply, and which feels incredibly good after a hard workout.
    To perform the 60-second shiatsu, direct your partner to lie on her back, in a relaxed manner, on the floor.

Standing by your partner’s head, grasp her wrists and lift, arching her back until she starts to slide toward you. Lower her gently to the floor and shake her arms for a moment.

Kneel by your partner’s head. Using the middle finger of each hand, reach under your partner’s head at the junction of the skull and spine. Limiting contact to just your middle fingers, lift until your partner’s head is clear of the floor. Slowly spread your hands to allow her head to slip gently between your fingers and come to rest on the floor.

Using the pads of your thumb and middle finger, tap lightly 10 times on the surface of your partner’s eyelids.

Direct your partner to roll onto her front, with her feet resting on the insteps. Using the outside edge of your foot, press until your partner “taps out.” Press at the 1) junction of the buttocks and thigh, 2) mid-point of the thigh, 3) lower thigh, 4) upper calf, 5) mid-calf, and 6) lower calf. Keep your toes curled up to harden the outside edge of your foot. Use your left foot to apply pressure to your partner’s left leg, and your right foot to press on his right leg. Do not press directly on the knee joint, or on the Achilles tendon.

Place the sole of your right foot on the arch of your partner’s left foot and press. Repeat with your left foot to her right foot.

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