Contemporary Shiatsu has emerged from a centuries-long development of Japanese healing arts in dealing with Western medicine. In the imagination and perception of modern shiatsu, traditional concepts such as “Ki”, ”Yin and Yang” or the “Five Element Theory” can still be found. Shiatsu uses modern methods from physical therapy and psychotherapy, but does not lose sight of its roots.
The Five Element Theory, is a philosophical idea to describe interactions and relationships between things. The time of origin is around 300 BC. The effects of the five elements are assigned certain natural phenomena, such as spring (wood), summer (fire), late summer (earth), autumn (metal) and winter (water), which mutually produce and influence each other, dynamic processes of becoming, changing and offense.
The five elements wood, fire, earth, metal and water are natural elements that are represented in this system with their characteristics and associations. They are interactively related to each other and are presented in a circular pentagram form.
In Shiatsu, the system of the five elements is used to qualify the energetic states of the meridians and serves to explain deficiency states and disharmonies. For example, an element that is deficient can be addressed by strengthening the previous element.
Yin and Yang are polarities that have their origin in Asian thinking. They represent an essential model of perception in Eastern philosophy. The terms describe opposing phenomena in interacting relationships, which are mutually dependent.
The terms are linked dynamically, such as up and down, light and shadow, empty and full. Everything in the world is subject to the fate of flowing becoming, changing and passing away.
Yin and Yang can be found in the idea of the energy states of meridians, which are interconnected in the circulatory system. According to this traditional theory, Ki, the life energy, flows once through all meridians within 24 hours.
- Metal: Lung Meridian (Yin), Big intestine Meridian (Yang)
- Earth: Stomach meridian (Yang), Spleen Meridian (Yin)
- Heart Meridian (Yin), Small intestine Meridian (Yang)
- Water: Bladder Meridian (Yang), Kidney Meridian (Yin)
- Fire: Pericardial Meridian (Yin), Triple Warmer Meridian (Yang)
- Wood: Gallbladder Meridian (Yang), Liver Meridian (Yin)