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The concepts of Meridians (Channels) and Tsubos

Once life is created, constant flow of Qi accompanies it until life ends. Qi flows through the body through an invisible network of lines, or channels. These channels, lines, meridians, whatever the name used, can not be found by dissecting the body, or during a surgery. The meridians are born to a new life form, and disappear without a trace upon death. The concept of meridians or channels has never been scientifically proved, however, just like herbal medicine, which is not manufactured in a scientific lab, it may be many times more effective than conventional, scientifically manufactured drugs. Meridians can be defined as invisible channels conducting life's magnetic energy (Qi) through the body. These channels are mostly associated with our internal organs, and their functioning. If we shall momentarily go back to the history of Shiatsu, we shall be reminded of the Anma and the Do-In approaches which were used for the treating of disease by MANUALLY stimulating points on the skin, that were connected to the functioning of internal organs. These points were eventually connected to document a form of network. This network became systemized, along with the pressure points (Tsubos), by Acupuncture. It is widely believed, that it was the MANUAL MANIPULATION and not the "needlework" that was the first one to use this network. Tsubos, or pressure points are those points, along the meridians, where the flow of Qi, can be influenced by applied pressure, plain touch, heat, or the insertion of an acupuncture needle.

Although acupuncture charts show the Tsubos as connected by straight lines, an experienced Zen-Shiatsu practitioner is able to sense that Tsubos are connected with other Tsubos by wider channels than those systemized by acupuncture (and referred to as "fixed Tsubos"). These wider, not necessarily straight meridians cover the whole body, and actually "double" the number of the meridians. These pressure points, or Tsubos, are magnetic/energetic connections between the major meridians and the skin, where the constant flow of QI can be felt on the skin's surface. But many other tsubos, which are not "systemized", or not "fixed" are detected on the surface of the skin, along the additional meridians defined by Masunaga.

Some ancient sources claim that there are about 2000 pressure points (Tsubos) on the human body; acupuncture teaches about 361. Due to the use of the wider, "double" meridian network in Zen-Shiatsu, only 60-90 Tsubos are used as major ones, yet many more are manipulated through the wider (thumbs, fingers, palms, arms, etc.) contact with the patient's skin.

In classical Oriental medicine fourteen major meridians are recognized and used. In Shiatsu, due to the fact that it is a hands-on approach we cover through manual manipulation wider areas. For example we may apply simultaneous pressure to two, three or more meridians. Zen-Shiatsu uses 12 meridians in the arms, and 12 in the legs. These "extra" meridians, (sometimes named "extensions" of the major ones), allow for more effective treatment.

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