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Philosophies and Background


A number of auras, or energy layers, surround the physical body that can be detected or appreciated. The first layer, the etheric body, is the most dense and is connected with the body and the way it works. The astral body is much wider, is affected by people's feelings and, if viewed by a clairvoyant or psychic, is said to change in color and shape depending on the feelings being experienced. The next aura is the mental body, which is involved with the thought processes and intelligence of a person. This can be viewed by a clairvoyant and is said to contain 'pictures' of ideas emanating from the person. (The aura can be photographed using Kirlian Photography technique.) These first three auras comprise the personality of a person. The last aura is known as the causal body, soul or higher self. This is concerned more with perceptive feelings and comprehension. People who believe in reincarnation suggest that the first three auras die with the body, but the causal body carries on in its process of development by adopting another personality. As a person grows in maturity and awareness, these different auras are used, and energy is passed from one layer to another. Thus, any alteration in the physical state will affect the other layers, and vice versa.

Seven Centers of energy, or chakras

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Another concept that is important in the practice of shiatsu is chakras. We have covered chakras in depth elsewhere. It is believed that there are seven main chakras situated along the sushumna, or spiritual channel, which runs from the crown of the head to the base of the trunk. Energy enters the channel from both ends. Since the flow is most efficient when the back is straight, this is the ideal posture for meditation or when powers of concentration are required. Each chakra has a component of each aura, and it comprises what is known as a center of consciousness. Each aura is activated as a person develops, and the same occurs with the chakras, beginning with the lowest (the base or root chakra) and progressing to the others with time. There is also a change of energy between the auras of each chakra.

Related Topic: Chakra Therapy in Holisticonline.com

Zang and fu organs: Energy storage and production

According to traditional oriental therapies, organs have two functions. One is the physical one. The other function is concerned with the use of energy and is sometimes called an 'energetic function'. The twelve organs mentioned in the traditional therapies are split into two groups known as zang and fu.

Zang organs store energy. The fu organs produce energy and control the removal of waste matter. The organs can be listed in pairs, each zang matched by a fu with a similar function. Although the pancreas is not specifically mentioned, it is usually included with the spleen. The same applies to the 'triple heater' or 'triple burner', which is connected with the solar plexus, lower abdomen and the thorax.
bulletThe lungs are a zang organ and are concerned with assimilation of energy from the air. It affects the mental alertness and positive attitude. This is paired with the fu organ of the large intestine, which takes sustenance from the small intestine, absorbs necessary liquids and excretes waste material via the feces. It is also concerned with self-confidence.
bulletThe spleen is a zang organ and changes the food into energy that is needed by the body. It is concerned with the mental functions of concentration, thinking and analyzing. This is paired with the fu organ of the stomach, which prepares food so that nutrients can be extracted and also any energy, or ki, can be taken. It also provides 'food for thought'.
bulletThe zang organ of the heart assists blood formation from ki and controls the flow of blood and the blood vessels. It is where the mind is housed and therefore affects awareness, belief, long-term memory and feelings. This is paired with the fu organ of the small intestine, which divides food into necessary and unnecessary parts, the latter passing to the large intestine. It is also concerned with the making of decisions.
bulletThe kidneys are a zang organ and they produce basic energy, or ki, for the other five paired organs and also for reproduction, birth, development and maturity. They sustain the skeleton and brain and provide willpower and 'get up and go'. Kidneys are paired with the fu organ of the bladder, which stores waste fluids until they are passed as urine. Bladder also gives strength or courage.
bulletThe zang organ of the 'heart governor' is concerned with the flow of blood throughout the body. It is a protector and help for the heart and has a bearing on relationships with other. This is paired with the 'triple heater' or 'burner', which passes ki around the body and allows an emotional exchange with others.
bulletThe liver is a zang organ that assists with a regular flow of ki to achieve the most favorable physiological effects and emotional calmness. Positive feelings, humor, planning and creativity are also connected with it. It is paired with the fu organ the gall bladder. This keeps bile from the liver and passes it to the intestines. It concerns decision-making and forward thinking.

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