The Golden Shiatsu

A Japanese Health-Keeping Method

I remember years ago hearing a story about a colleague who, while in Japan, visited a famous master of shiatsu (Japanese acupressure massage), who was around 80 years old at the time. After observing at the master’s clinic, the two of them went back to the master’s house, following his daily routine. There were three drinking establishments on the way back to the master’s house, and he would stop in at each of them. Each time he would stop, he would have a glass of water, a glass of beer, and a glass of sake.

The colleague was amazed at the old master’s stamina, working long hours doing shiatsu six days a week, imbibing six drinks in the evening, and getting up early the next morning to do it all over again.¬† What was his secret? The master replied that he did a practice called “Golden Shiatsu” every morning before rising and every night before sleeping.

Golden Shiatsu is also known as “No Shiatsu”, because the pattern resembles the Japanese syllable “No”, which looks like this:

It is done on the abdomen, lying on the back, with the legs straight (or only slightly bent). Begin in the center of your belly, about halfway between your navel and the bottom of your sternum, or breastbone. With the fingertips of both hands, gently and slowly press into your belly. Don’t press too hard that it gets uncomfortable, just start with very light pressure. Then move your fingertips down to just below your navel, and press in gently again. Then move your fingertips across to your right, about 4-6 inches, near the point of the front of your hipbone. Then go up just under your ribcage, then to just under your sternum, pressing with the same slow, gentle pressure each time. Move your fingertips underneath the left ribs, then down¬† near your left front hipbone, then finally end in the center, just above your pubic area. Then repeat the whole process 3 times, slightly increasing the pressure each time that you go through the cycle.

Remember, go slowly and gently, don’t press so hard that you cause pain. The focus is to gently encourage the digestive system to eliminate any stagnant material in your belly. Try it twice a day for a week or so and see if it doesn’t help improve your digestion and help you feel better overall.