Thursday, March 20, 2014

TAOISM and Shiatsu Anma Therapy: YIN/YANG

Upon the divine ground of “Emptiness” a life is being created by first creating the dualistic concept of life/death (Yang/Yin).

Yin and Yang are related to the two complementary aspects of every living phenomenon on earth, such as day and night, negative & positive, active & passive etc.

The Yin and Yang exists together and cannot exist without each other, like “two sides of the same coin”!

The concept of “Yin/Yang” relates to the dynamic dualism and mutual relationship that composes everything in nature. None of them is superior to the other in an absolute way for the both depend on each other. The Yin/Yang concept begins in the creation of Yang power as the artist draws his first draw with red ink at the bottom part of the circle (“WU CHI”) in an upward motion, so the Yang power is born and the ground for it becomes the Yin. From that we may suggest that the Yin was the “nothing” that passively became “something” as a concept, due to the creation of Yang. Thus the Yin has a more “passive” and “nourishing” nature compared to the “active” and “using” nature of the Yang.

Also it is right to conclude that since the Yang is “moving” (drawing motion) than it brings “heat” and its “warm” in nature compared to the Yin that is static and therefore “cold” in nature.

As it may be understood, the Yin and the Yang should never be defined in an absolute way, but only in relation to each other. For example: It is accustomed to consider the female as YIN and the Male as YANG, but not always true in life. It was done in the past because it reflected the general population at that time & location… but nowadays we may see a lot of examples for an “active Female” or “passive Male”. So when we define something it should always be related to a specific reality. The night may always be considered as YIN in relation to the day, but some nights may be more “active” than days, for example, with people who work in the night, or with some animal predators who seeks their prey during the night time. So it is a very dynamic consideration…

The drawing of the Yang power in the symbol of “Tao” and the relation between the two “poles” reveals a flowing motion that has an everlasting & cyclic nature and is named: “Qi” (Chinese) or “KI” (Japanese). It will be discussed in the next article and is my favorite concept regarding the “TAO”. As we can see there are two “dots” at the peak of each element symbolizing the continuous and complementary nature of Yin/Yang, so at the very “end” of each one of them lays the “beginning” of the other. An example of that is the belief the death (Yin) brings the beginning of a new life (Yang) and vise-versa. Life and death serves in an endless cycle giving birth to each other. Death means simply rest and storage towards the next life…

The Yin and Yang can greatly contribute to our understanding of the nature of our bodywork in every case by properly characterizing any problem and therefore “matching” the right techniques needed to correct it. For example: a severe inflammation may be characterized as a “hot” condition (excessive “Yang”) due to an increased blood flow into the damaged area and may suggest a steady gentle pressure that is characterized as moderate Yin technique (static calm pressure) as if to resolve the stagnant energy and draw it further into the Yin phase.

Here are a few manifestations of Yin and Yang relevant examples to Shiatsu Anma bodywork:

Pressure (Shiatsu)
Massage (Anma)
Gentle work
Stimulate, quick, strong work
Inside parts of the body (organs, viscera etc.)
Outside parts of the body (Musculoskeletal)
Para-sympathetic nerves (ANS)
Sympathetic nerves (ANS)
“Sluggish” point (week, deficient)
Excessive point, hypersensitive, tender to pressure
Rest, nourishment, calmness
Activity, control, movement
Exhaling (breathing out)
Air intake (breathing in)
Aerobic energy
Muscle power
Abdomen (breath power)
Head & back (nerve control)

Of course there is a lot more to discuss on this issue and further material will be given in the future. Here I cover the basics only.

TAOISM and Shiatsu Anma Therapy: Emptiness

The first stage in the drawing the Tao is the empty circle named “The great Abyss” (Chinese: “Wu Chi”, Japanese: “Mukyoku”). By drawing the universal creation the artist started by drawing an “empty” (or dark) circle. Next that circle was filled with black paint (YIN). This symbolizes the emptiness that precedes creation. This void is the actual divine spirit that embraces all living things. We all strive to go back to emptiness in order to feel complete. 

A very common example for emptiness is being in the toilette room and “emptying ourselves”. It feels so great! So wonderful after we actually get reed of all waste we do not need… Another good example is cleaning our home very thoroughly, getting reed of old stuff we no longer need. After the hard work we feel “fresh” or “renewed”.

Perhaps the best and most relevant example I could mention is the breathing cycle. While most untrained people are “holding” their breath as a form of fear of losing it (and thus causing all sorts of problems such as pain, tightness, etc.) it actually feels better releasing it totally. Our body feels warmer and lighter when we exhale in full. At this level we may feel “united” with the space around us. This principle is well taught in martial arts and other modalities dealing with mind-body balancing.

In fact being able to fully exhale increases the power of the body and activates out full “aerobic” energetic potential. In Meditation when we exhale we can experience a”divine” warm feeling that embraces our body and unify it with the universe around us. Of course, soon after a natural period of time we instinctively start to inhale (otherwise we may die). This is the first step in creating the life cycle (creation of YANG). And will be discussed in the next chapter.

In Shiatsu-Anma bodywork (and, in fact, any modality that deals with energy) we listen to the patient’s body condition by stimulating pressure and expecting a “full breathing exhalation” that will express an ideal “empty” state. Meaning the stimulated point/area is fully energetic and completed. The patient, when “emptied” may feel deep relaxation, warmth (blood circulation) and detoxification (release) from pain, tiredness, negative emotions or any other form of toxins previously locked inside. In case emptiness cannot be achieved, blockage may be suggested and we must strive to find its source. Searching for emptiness is the ideal principle of healing modalities such as Shiatsu and Anma.

The empty cycle serves as a ground for the next stage when life is created by: Yin & Yang. This will be covered in the next chapter.

TAOISM and Shiatsu Anma Therapy: Introduction

Taoism is the traditional religion of the Chinese people but also the core Philosophy that has guided Chinese culture, development and Medicine for centuries. In this booklet I discuss its basic concepts in my own understanding. 

“Tao” in Chinese means: way. It refers to the way of nature. The way things are. The way nature works. The great sages of Tao looked upon Mother Nature in all living things and all life phenomena. The essence of Oriental healing, as well, is to harmonize the patient with the nature of his/her body. The goal is to promote what already exists in the body: the natural healing power, so recovery occurs and any damaged tissues/cells can be replenished. If man is in harmony with his body and with the universe around him than functioning is optimized and there will be no misery. The root of misery, sickness and disability lies in lack of harmony and balance and leads to abusage and friction (even between cells, tissues or organs). 

The Philosophy of the Tao was shaped over China’s history mainly by a few noted legendary figures such as the great “Lao Tsu” who was concerned with cosmic/universal order and Confucius (“Cong tsu”) who was mainly responsible of shaping the ideal order of the Human society under moral characteristics. 

The formal way to draw the symbol of Tao was done by artists and describes the creation of the universe: At first there was a big empty circle that is filled with dark color (YIN). Than the artist starts filling the red color (YANG) that symbolizes life from the bottom point, throughout the left side up to the top part, where life is at maximum occurrence, living a small “empty” dot in it, as the “seed” for fading stage of life. This drawing emphasizes the dynamic and ever-lasting interaction between two poles of life (YIN & YANG) and will be explained throughout the following chapters of this article. 

The contribution of this amazing & simple Philosophy to Asian bodywork medicinal practice and to Mankind in general is in its simplicity & sophistication. It helps us look at the “big picture” around all phenomena and not isolate objectives for analysis as in modern thinking (a more complicate thinking). Taoist understanding can help “connecting dots” and grasps everything as it is so one does not miss a fraction! 

“If you know the Tao you know everything that is needed to be known!”.

The following chapter will cover the understanding of the first element in the “TAO”: The empty circle that symbolizes Emptiness.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A case of tooth-pain migrating to the head:

A few days ago I treated my regular patient for maintenance (middle aged female) and after session she was exhausted (too tired and works hard). Anyway she had a headache that was caused by an toothache (migrating pain to the temporal region).

She told me she had a cleanup at the dentistry a few days ago and it did not help at all... I volunteered myself to help and after 1-2 minutes of stimulating her left (same side) LI4 point ("Go-Koku") she was surprised to be fully recovered from the headache!

The next day I called her to check up and there was NO PAIN!