Bodywork from Asian traditions is based on the fundamental concept that health depends on the unobstructed flow of life force through the body. Life force is also known by other terms such as energy, chi, ki, and prana. Techniques clear blockages and reestablish a clear flow of energy. These techniques vary from deep pressure on points along energy lines, to stretches, to transmissions of energy when touch is either gently on the body or on the surrounding energy filed. In traditional Oriental techniques, the client remains fully clothed, except for the feet, and lies on a mat on the floor. This option is available at AMI. Clients are asked to wear or bring very loose, comfortable clothing. However, many of the techniques are adaptable to the customary massage table and can be mixed with Western modalities using oil. Oriental Techniques are equally effective for relief of pain or stress and for relaxation and enhancement of well-being.
Shiatsu is a Japanese term meaning finger pressure. This technique is also called acupressure. In addition to pressure on points along the lines, called meridians where energy flows, Shiatsu usually includes stretches and movement of joints. It is based on the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, the same theory that underlies acupuncture. However, in shiatsu fingers replace needles.
QiGong Therapy derives from Chinese theory and techniques. Like shiatsu is also involves using pressure on points, stretching and moving joints in a circular fashion. It is rapidly effective, clearing the body from head to feet in half an hour. Qi transmission, often combined with prolonged gentle stretching, directly sends energy via the practitioner’s hands through the client’s body, down to the deepest level. It can be profoundly relaxing and healing.
Thai Massage varies from the Chinese theory in the location of energy lines and points, but again involves pressure on points along these lines, stretches and movement of joints. It emphasizes work on the legs and feet, can include work done while the client is sitting cross-legged, and is considered a type of passive yoga as the practitioner places the client’s body into Yoga positions. The origins of Thai massage are not clearly known. However, it is associated with Indian traditions and has been handed down through Buddhist temples. It is now being taught and practiced in the West.
Therapists with training in Oriental Bodywork: Rita Offer