Equipoise Shiatsu & Acupuncture 

Background Information about Shiatsu & Acupuncture

The roots of Acupuncture stem back to about 5,000 years ago from the Ayurvedic Medicine which evolved in the Himalayas and is now the predominant form of alternative medicine in India.  Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) evolved from ancient Chinese folk medicine and was first documented in the Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine (Huang Di Nei Jing) in 100BC. Evidence of early types of acupuncture needles, made from stone and bamboo, were found from the Shang dynasty (ca 1000BC), showing the roots went back even earlier.  Chinese Medicine was introduced to Japan in the 6th Century AD and became incorporated within their own traditional massage practice of Anma - Shiatsu was born. The first professional Shiatsu Therapists Association was formed in Japan in 1925.  In the 1970's a Japanese Professor, Shizuto Masunaga took Shiatsu to the USA and was instrumental to teaching an eagerly awaiting American audience.

Equine Shiatsu was founded by Pamela Hannay, an early student of Masunaga in the States.  She brought her teachings to the UK in the 1980's running several workshops.  Many of her students then, are now key figures practicing and teaching Equine Shiatsu in the UK today.  Sadly she died in her early 50's in 2001, but her books live on, inspiring others such as myself.

Shiatsu is a hands-on therapy and is often (but in my opinion mistakenly) called Shiatsu Massage.  The aim of the Therapist is to balance the Qi (energy) within the Meridian System.  There are a number of diagnostic techniques available to enable the therapist to identify where the Qi flow is most empty or deficient and where it is most congested.  These techniques include visual diagnosis (body shape and/or tongue); sound of the voice; palpation of the back, belly, meridians and points.  The meridian most empty is 'tonified' using holding techniques to encourage Qi flow in it and the meridian most congested is 'sedated' using dispersal techniques such asmassage, stretches and rotations to encourage the stagnant Qi to move from it.

Meridians are the super-highways linking all the structures of the body.  Physically they are lines of collagen within the fascial network that physically holds all the organs, bones, muscles etc of the body together.  Collagen is a protein, which when isolated is crystalline in structure, but in the body it is hydrated and acts like a liquid crystal.  The layer of water surrounding the collagen is super-conductive and operates like a DC (direct current) circuit so information can be passed much faster than by the neural pathways which act more like an AC (alternating current) due to the synapses (gaps between the nerve endings).  In common with liquid crystals, when pressed a small electric charge is produced, which can then move very quickly - Qi is moved.


Acupuncture is the use of fine, disposible needles to access the Qi of the meridians more directly.  The specific locations used are called acupoints and each one has a range of actions.  It is still widely used therapeutically in China alongside Western Medicine in Hospitals.

Points may be used locally to where there is pain, or distally (away) from the source of the pain so that the bodies' Qi may be moved and a deeper harmony achieved, which will have a much longer lasting effect as the cause of the pain can then be treated.  Acupuncture is also very good for treating 'emotional conditions' because in TCM the body is considered holistically, this means Lung points may be used for depression and Spleen points for worry, for example.  Unresolved emotions may become trapped in the body and cause longer term 'dis-ease' or ailments.