Balancing Body, Mind & Spirit
There is a fundamental thought in Oriental Medicine, 天人合一 (ten jin gou itsu in Japanese), which means the heavens (= Nature, macrocosm) and human beings (= microcosm) exist as one life unit, closely related to each other, and that as long as we are following the natural law of Heaven and Earth we can keep healthy and live out our allotted span of life.
Heavens Ki/Qi/Chi (energy force) comes from the sunlight and oxygen in the atmosphere; it promotes our metabolism and the excretion of body wastes. Earth Ki comes from food and water from the Mother Earth, and is absorbed as essential nutrition for our body; it lubricates circulation of the internal body fluids. Heavens Ki and Earth Ki mix in our body to create the source of our vital energy.
Our health is maintained by these Ki. Deficiency in either of these Ki will cause an imbalance of our internal Ki, and can lead to illness if the state of imbalance continues for long. The causes of diseases are considered to be the Internal Climates (Fear, Anger, Grief, Overjoying, Thinking too much, Worry, and Shock), the External Climates (Wind, Cold, Heat, Dampness, Dryness, and Summer Heat), and Miscellaneous Causes (overwork, too much sex, poor or inappropriate diet, physical and psychological trauma, poisoning including pollution, visible or invisible parasites, and wrong treatment).
Shiatsu aims to help balance Ki and bring out the body's natural ability of self-healing, 自然治癒力（shizen chiyu ryoku in Japanese). At the same time, it is essential to support one's health through physical and mental "energy work" and a balanced everyday diet.
Physical & Mental Energy Work
Qigong 気功（ki kou in Japanese）is Ki exercises that maintain our physical and mental state in a good condition. Its history as a method of maintaining health can be traced back 3,000 - 4,000 years.
The term Qigong started to be used widely in the late 1950's, although its many different roots were systematized about 2,000 years ago in China. There are various types of Qigong, but they can be divided roughly into two kinds. One is Martial Arts such as Tai Chi Chun, Kung Fu, Karate and Aikido. The other is “healing Qigong”, practiced for health and spiritual purposes.
Inward “healing Qigong” consists of physical exercises that focus on relaxed movement and breathing, usually combined with meditation and sometimes incorporating self-massage. It coordinates mind and breath and promotes smooth flow of Ki in the meridians (energy channels that run along the body).
Qigong can aid the prevention and treatment of diseases, the maintenance and recovery of health, and the stability of mind and spirit, and even bring "a fresh lease of life".
薬食同源 (yaku shoku dou gen in Japanese) is a proverb which means the source of medicine and food is the same, so if you eat good food for the body daily, you can keep healthy and there should be no need of medicines.
Imbalanced dietary habits can damage one's health. For example, too much intake of sweet, fatty, and strong flavoured food may decrease digestive function. Too much hot and spicy food may cause dry mouth and constipation, while cold and raw food cool the abdominal area and may bring stomach-ache or diarrhoea.
Although nowadays we can get all sorts of food imported from all over the world, seasonal and local vegetables and fruits, even meats and seafood, should be considered the most appropriate to consume. In Oriental Medicine, human beings are considered to be a part of Nature. So, taking account of changes in the weather and the climate when you choose food is essential in order to balance one's internal and external environment.
Some food is considered to have active efficacy to improve one's physical condition and to prevent illness. For that, it is important to become aware of the nature of food and to balance nutrition from various foods without inclining to over-use of particular ingredients or methods of cooking.
Book Recommendation: "Helping Ourselves - A Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics" by Daverick Leggett / Meridian Press
Japanese Food Shops in Central London
Rice Wine Shop
Japanese Food Recipes