Massage Therapy Ithaca: Shiatsu & Summer Season Tips

Prefer to read? Here’s the Video Transcript:


Lets explore how to maintain your health with shiatsu massage and simple tips to maintain health in summer.  In TCM, traditional Chinese medicine, (the same root as acupuncture,) summer is correlated with the element of fire. These correspondences categorize everything in the world like food, herbs etc, and is a way to know how to create balance. In our time it is harder to maintain balance, we live a life more divorced from natural world.  But more acute is the speed of life, effects of toxins, such as light, sound and even media that we interact with daily.

Even if we are in a urban environment we are still influenced by the natural world around us, we are still within and ecosystem.

And frankly many health issues are caused by lifestyle choices.  If not caused by then strongly impacted by our choices. This is where basic lifestyle habits and regular shiatsu bodywork can help.

Summer is maximum activity, heat, out-goingness- and governs heart, mind and spirit. Those are areas we can run into trouble.

Imbalanced Fire:

Deficient fire: Lack of joy, depression, feeling sad.  Or excess fire- is “excess joy” meaning manic, hyperactive-especially shown in lots of talking.

Balanced Fire:  energy, drive, joyful in a balanced way.

Foods to Balance:

This is stuff we intuitively know if we are listening!  Best foods in summer are cooling, high in water content, juicy foods like:

  • lettuce, cucumbers, watercress
  • most veggies and fruits, so a balanced mix will be fine (no need to memorize a list)
  • fish rather than heavier meats

Heavy foods according to TCM create heat in the body.  If you don’t believe it try keeping a notebook for a few days, of what you eat and then how you feel a few hours later AND the next day.  Avoid:

  • dairy foods, hard to digest
  • heavy greasy foods, like anything fried
  • alcohol-even in Western medicine long abuse of alcohol leads to liver damage (which TCM calls heat)

Those foods to avoid, can lead to developing some symptoms that you don’t want and you will feel more uncomfortable in the summer.

Here’s a hydrating summer drink:

1 tsp. lime juice

1/2 tsp sugar

pinch rock salt

dissolve into water. It will taste like a bland limeade-and like a flavor of Gatorade.  It has helped folks especially a friend who has leg cramping very often and he finds this helps a lot.

Shiatsu can help us balance the the season.  Based on what things are happening for you, that helps me to know what meridians in the body need support. There may be excess or deficiency of the flow. We are working with the electrical (prana, chi) level of the body.  It’s very profound, helpful and targeted.  It works below the level of muscles and impacts them and all the levels above.

An analogy for what shiatsu massage is, is traffic. If you were in a helicopter looking down at highways- some roads are empty wide open, few cars-that’s a deficient meridian.  In another area you notice a traffic jam-lots of cars but all backed up no movement happening. Perhaps an accident happened (a trauma if we shift to the body.) The latter is an example of a excess/blocked meridian flow.

This is typical in our bodies, too much energy (chi, prana) in one place and not enough in another, for a variety of reasons.  Trauma or illness or long-term habits affect the meridian flow to the organs.

Shiatsu is not a spa massage: meaning it’s not a luxury to just feel good temporarily.  Now regular Swedish/Western massage is great and gives certain benefits, but shiatsu works at deeper level and it’s impact is longer lasting.  A series of treatments is recommended to see benefit.

Why I say shiatsu isn’t a “spa massage” is this:

These techniques developed in China and Japan- it was for the average person who needed to function. It is more about maintaining health-being able to work, farm, have children and not get sick.  It is a modality for maintaining and enhancing your health.  It developed out of the beautiful holistic Taoist systems of creating harmony within by harmonizing with all of life. Stay cool this summer.

If you’d like to book an appointment in Ithaca or have questions.


Massage Ithaca, Massage Therapy. East State Street. Office 5 minutes from downtown, Ithaca Commons, Ithaca, NY. 14850/14853
[box] IMG_0724Vivinne (Kala) Williams, Yogini, Mystic, Educator. Certified yoga teacher since 1994, teacher of mindfulness meditation. Over 1,000 hrs. somatic training. Graduate of Spirit Rock Mindfulness Yoga & Meditation Training. Studied with Burmese meditation teachers in multiple 6 week long, silent meditation retreats. Full bio here. [/box]

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