Shiatsu workout straightens out back & Chi

Back talk. Anyone experiencing pain might know where I’m headed. My back is talking loud and clear, and no matter what I do, I can’t shut it up.  

Been that way for some 20 years now, but more serious in the past 10, when I sought treatment by a chiropractor and more recently in acupuncture. Swimming exercises helped. But, not when you’ve put on so much weight, the bones, muscles and sinews have to work overtime to compensate for the extra load upfront. In the belly area. Around the waist.  

Last night, the back quieted down as a new procedure was introduced: shiatsu. It’s a Japanese massage that works on something called meridian points, that “unclog” the free flow of energy into or with something called the Chi. Practitioners don’t “heal” anything, but apply pressure to areas of the body usually “deprived” of exercise, proper blood circulation or a host of other causes and conditions giving rise to pain.  

Melissa, an accupuncture student, applied the technique to my back. She’s attending the WON Institute, Glenside, PA, where I have received acupuncture treatments for PTSD (post traumatic stress — [let’s drop the ‘disorder’ business, OK?] ). Got a few treatments with needles for my back, but the chief instructor, Ed Cunningham, suggested this other complimentary approach.  

God bless him!  

Loosening Up is Freeing You Up


Went into a separate room with Melissa. (You keep all the clothes on, by the way.) Lied down with my stomach on a massage  “table,” as she rubbed my back starting gently at first and then firmly, making  her way from the neck to the base of the spine. I felt several bones “crack” during the 10 to 15-minute “rub down.” My legs also got massaged and I felt an “loosening” of my shoulders, neck and finally, the back.  

It was so soothing, I became speechless. Could hardly say a word, and if you know me, you know how difficult it can be to get my jaws to stop a-flapping.  

A pain still lingered, but not a “striking” or “jabbing” one that demanded my full attention. I moved around, sat up and asked Melissa, a former paramedic with a northern New Jersey ambulance squad, what I could do to help the back.  

She described two exercises, and I refused to get off the table until insuring I got them right. One she called the “pointer,” where I kneeled with hands flat on the surface. I extended my right hand and left leg, trying to “point” like a dog with both extremities. Holding the pose a few seconds, I lowered arm and leg, then extend the opposite arm and leg holding the pose again.  

I exercised this way at home a little while ago, and felt a “cracking,” one of the good kinds that are healthy. Did 10 of  ’em and noticed an immediate difference. The first was my sinuses. They opened up! Then I sat on my haunches “searching” for any difference and felt my back loosening.  

The second exercise is similar. Lie on the floor face down and extend the arm and leg in the same “pointing” position while slightly raising your shoulders and thighs from the floor while balancing with the other arm and leg.  

It took me a while to figure out which arm went with which leg. I’m not kidding! Felt uncoordinated, particularly with the one set involving the left leg, the side where most pain shoots down from the back. I held my pose slightly longer to help that spot.  

It’s supposed to help with balance, and I feel more “squared away” than I have felt in a long time. Cured? No. But feeling a whole lot better.

8 comments on “Shiatsu workout straightens out back & Chi

  1. Helen T says:

    I’ve heard of it but never practiced. It’s interesting. Thanks.


    • contoveros says:

      Helen T,

      It’s like inviting your back to enjoy the Peace and calm the rest of you feel while meditating.

      Sans pain, the nagging irritation and the constant reminder that you are getting old.

      Take it easy, Back. Relax. Try some Shiatsu. You’ll enjoy Life more.

      michael j


  2. opoetoo says:

    What an interesting article.
    I wish I didn’t need to be interested in such things but I am.
    I go to a chiropractor every 3 weeks and I am very pleased with his work but this sounds pretty cool.
    Thanks for sharing.

    I do not have PTSD but I think it is cool that you dropped the disorder part.


    • contoveros says:

      After all these years, I might be on the right track with only the PTS part of PTSD.

      Heck, I’d use this treatment if I never faced any traumatic “stressors.” We get enough of the regular stessors each and every day, Opoetoo, and it might just add to some of the back problems faced in our world.

      michael j


  3. Shiatsu workout straightens out back & Chi « Contoveros…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…


    • contoveros says:

      This is a site for “working out” which appears legitimate. It offers information on exercising, which my back has been “crying out” for in recent weeks, months and years.

      michael j


  4. This type of treatment is available to Veterans and their family members every Thursday at 6pm and 7pm at The Won Institute
    Glenside, Pa.


    • contoveros says:

      I forgot perhaps the most important information. The treatment is for veterans and their families.

      Not just those of us from the Vietnam era. There was a young woman who recently served overseas who shared some of her stories about Iraq and Afghanastan while receiving acupuncture with us Thursday.

      I told her I hoped her “suffering” wasn’t too bad, and felt assured she’d get excellent treatment here at WON. Thanks again for suggesting Shiatsu, Ed,

      michael j


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