Judith Stone went to a shiatsu teacher, where she found herself face-to-face with the Pillars of Heaven, the Palace of Anxiety, and—grab your umbrellas—the Gushing Spring. Sound weird? It was pure bliss.
I'm being taken on a tour of my body's key pressure points, each of which has a delightfully poetic traditional name. My guide, Marianne Turner Fuenmayor, is a teacher of shiatsu, a form of bodywork developed in Japan according to the principles of ancient Chinese medicine. Its practitioners aim to reduce tension and encourage healing by pressing and kneading the body at crucial spots so that energy can flow unfettered through channels called meridians, charted thousands of years ago by Chinese physicians. You could think of it as acupuncture using finger pressure—that's what the word shiatsu means in Japanese—instead of needles.
Fuenmayor recommends four shiatsu exercises that you can perform solo and one to try with a friend:
For more about shiatsu, visit the Motherhand Society Online, www.geocities.com/motherhandsociety