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Asian bodywork uses gentle hand and finger pressure along the body's energy channels. The objective is to restore and balance the flow of energy throughout the body. There are many forms of Asian bodywork, some well known (Shiatsu), some obscure (Seiki Soho). What they have in common is their foundation in Chinese Medicine. They differ in their use of specific techniques to balance energy. Below you'll find brief descriptions of styles:


The history of amma, traditional Japanese massage, dates back 5,000 years to the northern regions of China and the beginning of Chinese medical philosophy. In the United States today, amma continues to grow and evolve as a versatile and effective contemporary style of massage.


Shiatsu is a style of Asian bodywork known for its use of rhythmic compression along energy channels. Like Tui Na, it makes extensive use of muscle stretching and movement of the joints. A Shiatsu practitioner often emphasizes the importance of her/his state of mind: S/he establishes contact with the client through touch and maintains a focused, meditative state throughout the session. This is not unique to Shiatsu, but is a characteristic of an individual practitioner's style. It is essential to all the styles of Asian bodywork that I practice (as well as being at the very heart of Rosen Method*).

* Rosen Method Bodywork uses gentle touch to contact areas of muscle tension and restricted breathing. The practitioner provides feedback on the subtle bodily changes that occur when muscles relax. The combination of touch and verbal interaction deepens the client's physical and emotional awareness. Initially clients may feel that sessions are simply relaxing. Over time what happens can be profoundly transforming.


In Acupressure therapy, the practitioner uses a variety of tools (pulse and tongue diagnosis, questioning, looking, listening) to assess the relative strength of the twelve organ meridians. S/he then addresses specific physical complaints and their corresponding energy imbalances by working on individual energy channels. An acupressure treatment is very relaxing and eases you into a healing, meditative state.

Five Elements Acupressure

The Five Elements or Five Phases theory of acupressure is a way of organizing and analyzing a vast array of information about the human condition. The ancient Taoists observed patterns in Nature and grouped them into the five categories: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. Since human beings are a microcosm of Nature, we can find these same patterns in ourselves.

In Five Elements acupressure, the practitioner uses all available information to determine how the Elements are interacting with each other in the client's body. Balance is restored using points on the energy channels that correspond to the Five Elements. For clients, an important part of ongoing sessions is an increased understanding of the Element that corresponds to their fundamental nature. We find balance by living in harmony with our Five Element type.

Tui Na

In a Tui Na session, the practitioner uses standard Chinese Medicine assessment skills, but also uses extensive hands-on touch to locate areas of the body that are out of balance. Imbalances are addressed using soft tissue massage, joint mobilization, and gentle pressure on energy points.

This is a fairly active form of Asian bodywork -- the practitioner remains in motion during the session and there is always something new happening. If you like conventional Swedish massage, you will undoubtedly enjoy Tui Na. It leaves you feeling both relaxed and invigorated.

Jin Shin Jyutsu

Jin Shin Jyutsu is a highly developed form of acupressure therapy. Due to its gentleness and effectiveness, it is increasingly used in hospitals and outpatient settings as a complement to conventional healing methods. My sense of the practitioners I've met is that many have recovered from serious health conditions. They were inspired to become practitioners after experiencing the benefits of Jin Shin Jyutsu.

Unfortunately, people often learn of this work only after they become ill. It's an excellent way to maintain one's health, both through regular sessions and the use of an extensive array of easily applied self-help techniques. Jin Shin Jyutsu is especially rich in self-help techniques.


Qigong (chi kung or "Energy-Cultivation"), is an aspect of Chinese medicine involving the coordination of different breathing patterns with various physical postures and motions of the body. Qigong is mostly taught for health maintenance purposes, but there are also some who teach it as a therapeutic intervention. Various forms of traditional qigong are also widely taught in conjunction with Chinese martial arts, and are especially prevalent in the advanced training of what are known as the Neijia (nei chia), or internal martial arts. There are currently more than 3,300 different styles and schools of qigong.[citation needed] Qigong relies on the traditional Chinese belief that the body has an energy field generated and maintained by the natural respiration of the body, known as qi (this is analogous to Prana and Pranayama in Yoga). Qi means breath or gas in Mandarin Chinese, and, by extension, the energy produced by breathing that keeps us alive; gong means work or technique. Qigong is then "breath work" or the art of managing the breath to achieve and maintain good health, and especially in the martial arts, to enhance the energy mobilization and stamina of the body in coordination with the physical process of respiration.

Attitudes toward the basis of qigong vary markedly. Most Western medical practitioners, many practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, as well as the Chinese government view qigong as a set of breathing and movement exercises, with possible benefits to health through stress reduction and exercise. Others see qigong in more metaphysical terms, claiming that breathing and movement exercises can influence the fundamental forces of the universe. Today millions of people in China and around the world regularly practice qigong as a health maintenance exercise. Qigong and related disciplines are still associated with the martial arts and meditation routines trained by Taoist and Buddhist monks, professional martial artists and their students. Formerly much more closely guarded, in the modern era such practices have become widely available to the general public both in China and around the world.


Qigong and its intimate relation to the Chinese martial arts are often connected with spirituality. They have thereby been considered the province of religious practitioners in the popular imagination for many centuries. This link is much stronger than with other techniques in traditional Chinese medicine. Qigong was historically practiced extensively in Taoist and Buddhist monasteries as an adjunct of martial arts training, and the claimed benefits of martial qigong practice are widely known in East Asian martial traditions and popular culture. It is claimed by some that the level of an individual's qigong accomplishment is fundamentally dependent upon the level of their virtue. Therefore in qigong, the practitioner's focus on virtue is an extremely important technical requirement, especially in the advanced levels. Without such continuous cultivation of virtue, one will not be able to achieve a highly relaxed and tranquil mind/body state.



Bindegewebsmassage (bindegewebsmassage system, connective tissue massage): Form of bodywork developed in Germany in the 1930s by Elisabeth Dicke. Its theory resembles that of traditional acupuncture, positing a powerful association between particular areas of connective tissue (e.g., cartilage) and specific paths of the nervous system and internal organs.

This technique is based on the theory that any disruption or imbalance in any portion of the body affects the entire system, specifically the autonomic, central nervous, and hormonal systems. Any disruption in any of the body systems will affect the entire organism, both physiologically and psychologically.

Bindegewebsmassage is a specific, advanced technique intended to assist in the rehabilitation of pathologic conditions. The theory of this technique extends to the belief that certain areas on the body’s surface correlate to specific internal organs manifesting the disruptions with an increased sensitivity of certain skin areas called points.

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