Shiatsu as the Art of Placement
Feng Shui: "Wind-Water".
Originally a means of determining the most auspicious placement for a gravesite, because pleasing one's ancestors was imperative to ensure health, peace, and good fortune in the lives of the living; and today, cliched as a trendy means of interior decorating.
So, what does feng shui have to do with shiatsu?
I had read somewhere recently that acupuncture was to the body what feng shui was to the home. I've pondered this for some time, and I found it to be a wonderful analogy, not only for acupuncture, but for what I do as well.
The underlying principle of feng shui is to position the home and its interior contents in the most beneficial alignment to its environment, thereby making the best use of the positive elements: sunlight, wind currents, water features, pleasant views, etc., while downplaying the negative attributes. This allows for better chi flow throughout the home, and a greater feeling of well-being for the occupants. Superstitious associations aside, it can hardly be disputed that we feel better in houses and rooms in which the elements within create a feeling of flow and movement.
In shiatsu, as well as acupuncture and other Asian healing arts, the picture of 'health' is not static, particularly because Eastern medicine does not view humans as separate from our environment. Good health is determined by one's ability to thrive under a variety of conditions, and is maintained through awareness of one's constitution, inherent strengths and weaknesses, and conscious, appropriate application of diet, herbs, exercise and massage in accordance with the above factors, plus the seasons and climate. What might be effective medicinally for a young girl of ten living in a warm southern city would probably not be appropriate for an older fisherman stationed by a northern ocean.
The intention behind Asian medicine, including shiatsu, is to align each unique, individual body in the most harmonious way to his or her environment, much in the way that feng shui does, and with as much attention to detail.
This, for me, calls to mind a cultivation of adaptability and flexibility, an ability to move in rhythm with the changing environment....qualities that any species has ever needed for survival, and no more so than now.