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History of Shiatsu

Shiatsu originates from ancient Chinese/Japanese techniques, Do-In (self massage) and anmo or mo massage (or anma in Japan). (Modern Chinese massage is called Tui Na). It is based on traditional Oriental medicine with all its depth of analysis and focus on the energy system of a person as a sign of their condition.

The modern development of Shiatsu in the form recognizably practiced today began during the early part of the 20th century in Japan. The term 'Shiatsu' was first used by Tamai Tempaku in an attempt to provide some scientific credibility and to distinguish Shiatsu from other forms of oriental bodywork. After Tampaku, Shiatsu developed in two directions. One of Tampaku's students was Namikoshi, who had also studied western medicine. He westernized Shiatsu by using nero-muscular terminology and removing references to oriental medicine. Namikoshi Shiatsu is still popular in the U.S. today.

Shizuto Masunaga (1925-1976), who had a background in psychology, developed Zen Shiatsu, the main style of Shiatsu practiced in the UK and Europe today. In Zen Shiatsu the attitude of mind, awareness and focus of the practitioner is an important factor in treatment. Masunaga also introduced the idea of support and connection through the use of both hands, a supportive 'mother hand' and an active working hand.

Since the death of Namikoshi and Masunaga, Shiatsu has continued to develop. Over the past few years leading practitioners have developed their own styles based on the understandings and insights they have gained through their own experience. This has brought about Ohashiatsu, Tao Shiatsu and Quantum Shiatsu. However, these more recent developments continue to be based on the theories and practices of Masunaga or Namikoshi.

The theory behind diagnosis and treatment in Shiatsu relate directly to the ancient philosophical concepts regarding the nature of existence, which have formed the basis for science, art, politics and religion in China for over two thousand years. The cycles of the seasons, the influence of the Heavenly bodies on the Earth, and ultimately the intricate relationship between all natural events and their influence on human life within the human body and mind were observed and studied.

History of Acupuncture

Acupuncture was first discussed in the ancient Chinese medical text "Huang Di Nei Jing" (The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine), originating more than 2000 years ago.

During the 6th Century, improved transportation and communications within the Asian Continent led to the introduction of Chinese medicine to Japan, and along with Buddhism came in the form of religious medicine.

In the 17th century, Waichi Sugiyama, in search of a simple, painless and speedy insertion method, developed the insertion tube, a small cylindrical tube through which the needle is inserted. This insertion method is still used today by practitioners worldwide, and in Japan by over 90% of the acupuncturists.

Japanese acupuncture has been well established as the primary form of health care for over a thousand years. An acupuncturist's role was comparable to that of a modern physician. When Dutch and German medicine was introduced in the 19th century, the Western modality of medicine quickly became the dominant medical practice.

Today in Japan, acupuncture remains an integral part of the health care system, offered in conjunction with medicine. In North America, acupuncture has grown into what is now a common form of pain management therapy in many clinics and hospitals. The Washington Post reported in 1994 that an estimated 15 million Americans, or roughly 6% of the American population has visited an acupuncturist and has tried acupuncture for a variety of symptoms including chronic pain, fatigue, nausea, arthritis, and digestive problems.

In 1995, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified acupuncture needles as medical instruments and assured their safety and effectiveness.

The medical community for the most part now accepts acupuncture and a growing number of medical schools, such as UCLA, include acupuncture training in their curriculum.

In 1997, the US National Institute of Health issued a report titled: "Acupuncture: The NIH Consensus Statement". It stated that acupuncture is a very useful method for treating many conditions. It acknowledges the side effects of acupuncture are considerably less adverse than when compared to other medical procedures such as surgery or pharmaceuticals. In addition, the NIH made the recommendation to U.S. insurance companies to provide full coverage of acupuncture treatment for certain conditions. This momentous advancement in the status of acupuncture in the United States has certainly influenced its status elsewhere in the world, including in Canada.

In 1997, the Ontario Medical Association officially recognized acupuncture as a 'complimentary medicine', acknowledging its broad success in treatment. As acupuncture becomes increasingly accessible to more Canadians, Doctors recommend it more and more as an effective relief for many medical conditions.

Acupuncture treatment is included in many Insurance plans. It is a sure sign of acupuncture's acceptance into the mainstream. It is also an indicator of its success.

History of Cupping

The earliest use of cupping that is recorded is from the famous Taoist alchemist and herbalist, Ge Hong (281–341 A.D.). The method was described in his book A Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies, in which the cups were actually animal horns, used for draining pustules. As a result of using horns, cupping has been known as jiaofa, or the horn technique. In a Tang Dynasty book, Necessities of a Frontier Official, cupping was prescribed for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis (or a similar disorder). More recently, Zhao Xuemin, during the Qing Dynasty, wrote Supplement to Outline of Materia Medica, including an entire chapter on “fire jar qi” (huoquan qi). In it, he emphasized the value of this treatment, using cups made of bamboo or pottery, in alleviating headache of wind-cold type, bi syndrome of wind origin, dizziness, and abdominal pain. The cups could be placed over acupuncture needles for these treatments. One of the traditional indications for cupping is dispelling cold in the channels. This indication is partly the result of applying hot cups. For example, bamboo cups would be boiled in an herbal decoction just prior to applying to the skin (this is one type of shuiguanfa, or liquid cupping, so-called because a liquid is incorporated into the treatment). Both liquid cupping and cupping over an acupuncture needle are favored for treatment of arthralgia. Cupping also is thought to dispel cold by virtue of its ability to release external pathogenic factors, including invasion of wind, damp, and cold.

During the 20th century, new glass cups were developed. Common drinking glasses have been used for this purpose, but thick glass cupping devices have also been produced and are preferred. The introduction of glass cups helped greatly, since the pottery cups broke very easily and the bamboo cups would deteriorate with repeated heating. Glass cups were easier to make than the brass or iron cups that were sometimes used as sturdy substitutes for the others; further, one could see the skin within the cup and evaluate the degree of response.

The glass cups are depressurized by providing some fire in the cup to heat up the air within just prior to placement. For example, hold a cotton ball dipped in alcohol with a pincer, ignite it, hold it in the cup, then rapidly apply to the skin; this is called shanhuofa. Sometimes, a small amount alcohol is put in the cup and lit; this method is called dijiufa (alcohol-fire cupping).

At the end of the 20th century, another method of suction was developed in which a valve was constructed at the top of the jar and a small hand-operated pump is attached so that the practitioner could suction out air without relying on fire (thus avoiding some hazards and having greater control over the amount of suction). Both glass and plastic cups were developed, though the plastic ones are not very well suited to moving along the skin once in place, as the edges are not entirely smooth and the strength of the cups is limited. The modern name for cupping is baguanfa (suction cup therapy).

In order to allow easy movement of the glass cups along the skin, some oil is applied. Medicated massage oils (with extracts of herbs) are particularly useful for this purpose. Since the cups are applied at room temperature, the indication of removing cold from the channels is no longer as applicable, at least to stationary cups. There is some friction generated with moving cups, so that there is a small but significant amount of heat applied by that method, especially if a warming oil is used as lubricant.

Generally, the cup is left in place for about 10 minutes (typical range is 5–15 minutes). The skin becomes reddened due to the congestion of blood flow. The cup is removed by pressing the skin along side it to allow some outside air to leak into it, thus equalizing the pressure and releasing it. Some bruising along the site of the rim of the cup is expected.

Today, cupping is mainly recommended for the treatment of pain, gastro-intestinal disorders, lung diseases (especially chronic cough and asthma), and paralysis, though it can be used for other disorders as well. The areas of the body that are fleshy are preferred sites for cupping.

Movement of the cups is limited to fleshy areas: the movement should not cross bony ridges, such as the spine.

History of Moxibustion

A traditional Chinese medicine that involves burning a "Moxa", or cone of dried wormwood leaves, close to the skin to relive pain. When used with acupuncture, the cone is placed on top of the needle at an acupuncture point and burned. Moxa is used to warm meridians and expel cold, to induce the smooth flow of qi and blood, to strengthen yang from collapse and to prevent diseases and maintain health.

History of Chinese Herbs

Herbology is traditionally one of the more important modalities utilized in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Each herbal medicine prescription is a cocktail of many herbs tailored to the individual patient. One batch of herbs is typically decocted twice over the course of one hour. The practitioner usually designs a remedy using one or two main ingredients that target the illness. Then the practitioner adds many other ingredients to adjust the formula to the patient's yin/yang conditions. Sometimes, ingredients are needed to cancel out toxicity or side-effects of the main ingredients. Some herbs require the use of other ingredients as catalyst or else the brew is ineffective. The latter steps require great experience and knowledge, and make the difference between a good Chinese herbal doctor and an amateur. Unlike western medications, the balance and interaction of all the ingredients are considered more important than the effect of individual ingredients. A key to success in TCM is the treatment of each patient as an individual.

Chinese herbs have been used for centuries. The first herbalist in Chinese tradition is Shennong, a mythical personage, who is said to have tasted hundreds of herbs and imparted his knowledge of medicinal and poisonous plants to the agricultural people. The first Chinese manual on pharmacology, the Shennong Bencao Jing (Shennong Emperor's Classic of Materia Medica), lists some 365 medicines of which 252 of them are herbs, and dates back somewhere in the 1st century C.E. Han dynasty. Earlier literature included lists of prescriptions for specific ailments, exemplified by a manuscript "Recipes for 52 Ailments", found in the MaWangDui tomb, sealed in 168 B.C.E.

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