The significance of the Tao is very important in understanding the philosophy behind Shiatsu. Tao and Shiatsu follow the same principles. Tao means “the way” or “natural order of the universe” in east Asian philosophy and religion. It is believed that the universe has its own order and is in constant flow. In order to be in balance with the universe, we need to discern it through our intuition and be one with the flow of life.
Accepting What Is
Shiatsu follows the principles of the Tao in that it accepts what is. There is no going against the flow of things as they are in the natural world. In Shiatsu, we try to feel and perceive what the current situation is and just accompany the person along his/her way without wanting to necessarily change anything. Shiatsu helps the energy to flow more freely and to be more concurrent with the universe.
Tao and Shiatsu and the principle of Yin and Yang
There is the eternal flow of energy bringing about the dark and the light, the cold and the warm, the deep and the shallow and so forth. This concept, we can also define as the Yin and Yang energies that are in eternal movement bringing about change and life. This is the Tao.
As in the universe, Shiatsu also follows certain patterns that have to do with energy. The 5-element system that derives from Traditional Chinese Medicine is a great example. There are different elements that correspond to different meridians (energy pathways) in the body. Each having their own characteristics and each having a certain purpose.
In Shiatsu, we try to balance these energy pathways and help the body acquire a balanced state so that illness can be prevented. Accepting what is and accepting that life and the universe are in constant movement and that change is a necessary and a normal state of life, is a wonderful enlightenment. Shiatsu helps to keep the flow of energy moving in the microcosm just as it moves in the macrocosm, bringing about a harmonious state within ourselves and the universe.