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The ancient Japanese healing art of shiatsu offers a two-minute exercise for relieving pain and tension and boosting your energy. The secret of this form of shiatsu is to know where to massage for the particular kind of energy boost you need.
You can combine acupressure finger massage with facial exercises that keep you looking as good as you feel.

What is shiatsu? In everyday usage, the application of needles to specific points on the body to re-energize and fight disease is known as acupuncture. The application of gentle pressure, or finger massage, to the same points is known as acupressure. In Japanese, the term for finger massage literally is 指 shi 圧 atsu, the characters for "finger" and "massage," pronounced as one word, shiatsu.

At one time there were literally dozens of different kinds of hands-on healing therapies in Japan. About the year 1000, however, Japanese doctors began studying with Chinese master healers. They adapted the Chinese discipline of tuina to create a Japanese system known as shiatsu. This method of massage became the simplest way to add and subtract energy from the "meridians" through which Traditional Chinese Medicine believed it circulated around the body.

For the next 900 years, shiatsu was more or less identical to the Chinese massage method called tuina, but in the 1940's, Tokujiro Namikoshi found a way to integrate the traditional massage system with anatomy and physiology as it is taught in the rest of the modern world. Shiatsu, like many of the Japanese healing arts, offers the best of traditional and modern healing.

Namikoshi introduced shiatsu to the United States through the Palmer College of Chiropractic in the 1950's, but the method became famous, and widely accepted, after he treated American movie star Marilyn Monroe in 1956, after she fell gravely ill and failed to respond to conventional treatment.

The right massage for the right indications

In the theory energy medicine, most of the energy lines of the body pass by or over the eyes. This makes massaging the orbits of the eyes (although not the eyes themselves) a good way to restore balance throughout the entire body. Even the soles of the feet, the breasts, or the liver, for example, are thought to respond to massage above and below the left and right eyes, rebalancing energies at the left and right sides of the body.

Let's suppose you have a sinus infection or the flu. Using your index and middle fingers to press the sides of your nose, gently pressing against the nose higher and higher until you are massaging the bridge of your nose at eye level will relieve sinusitis and flu symptoms.

Or suppose you have a tension headache. Ancient Chinese and Japanese medicine taught that tension headaches were the result of built-up energy along the liver Meridians, the channels up and down the body through which "liver energy" flows. The liver processes emotions, the ancients thought, and anger upsets its ability to hold the emotional energies it processes. Anger causes these energies to rise up in Meridians across the nipples, along the front of the neck, squeezing the larynx, and over the center of the eyes.

You don't want to try to massage your eyeballs. However, you can use your thumb and index finger to give a gentle pinch to the skin over your eyebrow directly over the pupils of your eyes. If you massage this area for 1 to 2 minutes, any tension headache in the back and sides of your neck will hurt less.

Eyestrain - a nearly universal problem of knowledge workers

Eyestrain is a nearly universal problem of knowledge workers, especially as they get older and they need bifocal or multifocal corrective lenses to see a computer screen. If you have to squint over and over, eyestrain is inevitable. It's possible to avoid eyestrain ever occurring in the first place by getting good vision correction, but most of us don't get our eyeglasses changed often enough.

Another way to avoid eyestrain is to use aromatherapy, the scents of the essential oils of chamomile, jasmine, and lavender in potpourri or applied directly to the skin of the forehead. If you work in an office, however, it's almost certain you will have at least one coworker who will complain of allergies--but no coworker will complain if you use finger massage to help your eyes feel better.

Never, ever apply direct pressure to the eyeballs. To treat eyestrain you will want to give gentle stimulation to the levator palpebrae superioris muscles, the muscles you use when you raise your eyebrows, with your eyes closed. Pull up on the muscles, but do not pull hard. The effect you are looking for is like raising your eyebrows without using those muscles, rather using the gentle pressure of your thumb and index finger.

Using shiatsu to treat facial wrinkles

There's nothing wrong, of course, with using shiatsu to treat facial wrinkles. Here you can combine shiatsu with a Japanese version of the popular technique known as facercise (facial exercise, the American version perfected by Carole Maggio). To treat wrinkles with shiatsu and facial exercise, first perform the treatments for headache and eyestrain, plus, if you happen to have some kind of nasal congestion, the treatments for colds and flu. This will only take you four to six minutes.

Then complement your shiatsu facial massage by:

1. Tightening the sides of your mouth to pucker your lips into an "O" shape, then gently releasing and repeating, up to 20 times. Done consistently over days or weeks, this exercise slowly erases frown lines.

2. Raising your eyebrows up and down 20 times. This exercise will make your eyes look fuller and also erase crows' feet.

3. Closing your mouth, tilting your head up toward the ceiling, and jutting out your jaw. This exercise will help prevent double chins.

The cosmetic benefits of these three exercises may be noticeable in as little as seven days, but the relaxing effect on your face--and on your mind--is immediate. You don't have stress or strain for the exercises to work. In fact, if you find yourself getting too gung ho about exercising your facial muscles, try the shiatsu exercise for tension headaches! Using two-minute shiatsu eye exercises and your facial mini-workout will help you feel better, get over illness faster, and look great, all at zero expense and in just minutes per day.

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