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hand shiatsu
five elements


Our vital energy Ki, does not move so disorderly in our body,on the contrary, energy circulates through defined spaces or channels called meridians. There are 12 main meridians, 10 of them named after a specific organ and are to some extent responsible
for the function and health of this organ. The quality of vibration of Meridians goes beyond physical function. Collects and stores information as celullar memory which again reflects on the emotional, mental and spiritual levels.

The special and particular characteristic is that these lines react to touch. The Shiatsu therapist is trained to perceive fluctuations in the intensity of expansion and contraction of the vibration the meridians. Masunaga's Kyo / Jitsu concept, describes this difference as over-function or low-function. The combination of this reaction he defines therapist session topic.

Neutrality, depth, smoothness and rhythm of the contact in the Shiatsu come to balance the flow of energy in the body, our feelings cough and thoughts, in order to our wholeness as a person.


Traditional Chinese Medicine associates the emotions with the YIN organs:

Liver >>
Heart >> 

Spleen >>

Lung >>

Kidney >>

There are two organs that usually bear the brunt of the emotional difficulties

Heart - is associated with love, affection and relationship development.
Houses the Shen or spirit that governs our overall stability. Stress
affect emotional and Shen shock and can cause mental disturbances,
anxiety and / or unstable behavior.

Liver - Ki governs the flow and stores in the body and purifies
Blood. Repressed emotions of stress and frustration are stored in the
Liver. This affects the ability to distribute and can manifest Ki
pain, contraction, numbness and obstruction anywhere

Liver - Anger - Wood Element
  • It belongs to the wood element, which manifests itself in the flora.
  • The season is spring where everything is born, reborn and grows.
  • The force of nature can be displayed on a piece of grass
    pushing through the asphalt to receive sunlight and grow.
  • As in nature is spring, in humans is childhood. Here anger manifests (tantrums) as a tool for rebellion against repression and control of authority figures.
  • The sound is the cry.
  • The will to live and to express oneself does not support obstruction.
    If this expression of creativity is blocked, the energy rises and
    explodes like a volcano, will manifest itself in anger.
  • Long repressed emotions produce a stalemate in the flow of Ki, anger turns against itself and the person can become depressed.
    You can show patterns of "excessive," behavior to compensate
    anger and frustration numbing emotional pain. This affects the
    liver detoxification capacity and performance weakens.
    Physical - eg. excess alcohol, food, drugs, anorexia.
  • The Wood element loves the tranquility and relaxation, if the person
    reaches this state of harmony, Wood will manifest strong and flexible.

Examples of what can lead to a Wood imbalance:

  • All that influences Water, affects Wood. Water is the mother of Wood and refreshes the overheating property of Wood.
  • Explosive emotions of anger, resentment or repressng these.
  • Very spicy foods affect the liver, also, alcohol, drugs, medicines or foods / drinks on stimulants (coffee).

General problems (observations made by Dr. Shizuto Masunaga)

  • Suffering from muscle spasms
  • Indecision
  • Brittle nails
  • Dry or too watery eyes
  • Migraines
  • Joints weak
  • Talk screaming
  • Suffer from allergies in the spring
  • Aversion to sour foods and drinks
  • Difficulty digesting fats
  • Cholesterol Problems
  • Episodes of anger or repression of this

Heart - Joy / Harmony - Fire Element
  • It belongs to the Fire element, besides Water, is the most contradictory element as it is created, it protects and destroys.
  • Its capacity is rapid and irreversible transformation.
  • Its radiant shine is associated with the inner glow of the spirit or the inner divine flame
  • The comfort provides warm fire invites relaxation inducing a state of peace and inner harmony.
  • When the fire burns wildly, is expansive, uncontrolled, causes high excitement, rebellion and destruction.
  • A harmonious joy produces a quiet and peaceful contentment.
  • Extreme joy or excitement can manifest mental imbalances and compulsions, where the person is not well founded in the reality.
  • It manifests itself in laughter and speech problems such as stuttering.
  • When the heart is weakened and vulnerable, the body develops tension, an armor to protect it (tightness in the solar plexus by the abdominal muscles).

Examples of what can lead to Fire imbalance:

  • Lack of love and affection especially in childhood.
  • The overstimulation by drugs or substances such as coffee and tea
  • Excess concentration.
  • Too much salt in the diet.
  • Excitation constant lack of calm and harmony.

General problems (observations made by Dr. Shizuto Masunaga):

  • Pressure in the solar plexus
  • Poor memory
  • Hysterical laughter or laugh when nervous
  • Sweaty hands
  • Tendency to heart problems (eg, tachycardia, arrhythmia, nervousness)
  • Reddish complexion
  • Poor circulation
  • Speech difficulties
  • Talk too ... laughing or talking nonstop
  • Excessive sweat
  • Excessive thirst

Spleen - Anxiety - Earth Element
  • Associated with stability, support, fertility, receptivity and nutrition.
  • Its power is transformation, since land transforms everything dead into food for new life.
  • This power is manifested in the body, through the transformation of food and fluids and their distribution throughout the body to make Ki and blood.
  • Its ability is to give and receive, allows us to receive, process and give
    physical sustenance.
  • A balanced earth can give and receive equally. Here the imbalance manifests in giving too much and not be able to receive, or, a strong need of receiving.
  • Its capacity is the intellect, expressing abstract thoughts verbally.
  • When the basic sense of securityis missing, the person can hide in a sea of thoughts and get stuck, spinning none stop without releasing, digest or transform these, leading to anxiety.

Examples of what can lead to unbalance the Earth:

  • Mental exhaustion and over analizing can create mental fatigue.
  • Overuse of mind and lack of use of the body.
  • Eating too much food or feed a very very poorly.
  • Too much sweets can affectEarth and the kidneys.
  • Eating cold foods and / or raw for a long time, causes moisture and excess mucus
  • Common household removals.

General problems (observations made by Dr. Shizuto Masunaga):

  • Extreme thirst, water retention and urinary problems.
  • Swollen and numb
  • Poor appetite or "snack between meals" all the time
  • Desire for sweets
  • Eating too fast or not like about food
  • Varicose veins, poor circulation in the legs
  • Heartburn or flatulence
  • It focuses
  • Worries obsessively
  • Problems sugar
  • Speaks singing

Lung - Sadness - Metal Element
  • It belongs to the metal element, associated with the most pure and valuable of all, Gold, manifested through breathing and absorption of the universal Ki, the purest and most valuable in the outside world for body.
  • Sadness is part of our course through life, the pain of losing youth, loved ones, etc.
  • A healthy metal is flexible and can accept losses without hold to make room for the new.
  • As the metal that expands and contracts, the person can create barriers, rigid structures where control reduces the space for new concepts, or "melt" into chaos.
  • When the metal is weakened, it is very difficult to detach from the grief and loss
  • A very rigid education in childhood, can develop in sadness and low self-esteem,
    establishing strong barriers that separate us from the environment.
  • Denial of the feeling of shame is the other extreme which also disconnects and limits us .

Examples of what can lead to imbalance Metal:

  • Examples of what can lead to imbalance Metal:
  • Feeling of narrowness and disconnection.
  • Structures too strict (eg during growth) or lack of
  • Situations change hopeless despair.
  • Pain deep emotional loss / materials.
  • Environmental pollution / smoke.
  • Food / mucus enhancing substances in the body.

General problems (observations made by Dr. Shizuto Masunaga):

  • Have seasonal allergies and / or skin problems
  • Tightness in the shoulders, chest and upper back
  • It is too sensitive
  • Speak crying
  • Nose / airways too dry or too congested
  • Pain / compression in the upper back / chest
  • Inability to detach (detach the old)
  • Disposal problems / constipation
  • Asthma, Bronchitis,
  • Tendency to sadness, depression, dissatisfaction
  • Prefer spicy foods and beverages: (chillis, curry, ginger,
    cayenne, etc).

Kidney - Fear - Water Element

  • Water is the most contradictory elements as it contains opposite qualities and without contradiction that may be considered the basis of Yin and Yang in the body: deep / shallow, quiet / powerful, clear / cloudy, still / moving.
  • Water governs the deeper structures in the body, bones and medulla, like in nature, water levels drop to always deeper earth.
  • It governs the autonomic nervous system.
  • Water conveys the essence of life of our ancestors from generation to generation, to the kidneys.
  • Its ability is to purify the body and mind through movement avoiding stagnation.
  • Its capacity is the will to survive.
  • The continuous flow of water gives power and energy to the body and the will
    to the mind to move on.
  • His ability is to go with the flow of events following the fate clearly.
  • The emotion of fear is a normal reaction at a moment of danger, response of "fight or flight".
  • Calms and represents the life force of the individual, all other element and its organs depend on it.

Examples of what can lead to Metal imbalance:

  • Too much activity or too much physical and mental inactivity.
    (The kidneys prefer a bit of both, exchanging)
  • Eating too much sweet
  • Lack of joy in life
  • Continuous fears, especially if they are born in childhood stress and
    irregular life baseless
    (Eg many moves, oppressive control figures)
  • Overstimulating substances such as coffee, drugs
  • Excessive behavior, eating, sex, drinking

General problems (observations made by Dr. Shizuto Masunaga):

  • Back pain / chronic pain in the lower back (lumbar)
  • Problems with bladder / kidney
  • Trauma or shock
  • Chat with a guttural moan
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Very chilly, painful bones in the cold
  • Lack of will, lack of motivation and sense of exhaustion even in the simplest tasks.
  • Phobias, fears and obsessive neurotics
  • Hearing / hum? Tinnitus
  • Too much or too little urine colorless and dark

The information presented here is based on the following teachers and authors. There are by no means meant as a medical diagnostic. If you have any symptoms, pain or illness, consult your doctor before receiving a Shiatsu session.

Shiatsu Theory and Practice

Das Grosse Buch der Heilung durch Shiatsu 

Fünf Elemete und Zwölf Meridiane

Take Five 

The Seven Emotions 

Emotions and Shiatsu 

Shiatsu als Therapie 
Energiemuster als Charakterstrategie 
verstehen und behandeln

Carola Beresford-Cooke 

Dr. Shizuto Masunaga

Wilfred Rappenecker

Pamela Fergusson

Claude Carré/
Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallé

Eva V, Swenson, 2004

Peter Itin