Shiatsu is an innovative form of bodywork and massage that originated in Japan and is continually evolving to encompass oriental and western models of health. Shiatsu means ‘finger pressure’ – although the practitioner will use hands, knees, elbows and feet to stimulate the flow of the ‘Ki’ life force in the bodies meridian system. People often describe Shiatsu as a cross between the effects of acupuncture (but without the pain!) and the wellbeing experienced after a yoga class or a massage. In the ancient system of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Shiatsu is the earth aspect, using touch to assist the bodymind in finding balance.
In Shiatsu and energy medicine the body is an expression of energy. During a Shiatsu session it is possible to experience this reality, to get out of the head and discover the heart and the hara as the home for which we search. Shiatsu pays particular attention to tonifying the hara (abdomen area) which is the centre of gravity in the body. The hara is the instinct mind and the roots to the earth, the part of us which knows how to stay healthy.
When we are ‘in hara’ we feel centred, grounded despite the chaos and changing nature of life, there is a trust which enables a letting go, a deep relaxation. When we are not ‘in hara’ we feel stressed, anxious, depressed, ungrounded and like we are missing something, eternally hungry for something outside of ourselves. Modern life and the ever increasing pressure, pace and denial of desires and impulses highly distorts the ability to live from our authentic centre.
Reflexology is a holistic treatment which stimulates pressure points on the feet to promote holistic healing. It is useful for detoxifying, relaxation, grounding and is a powerful form of meditation where it is possible to deepen into the Self and connection to the inner world.
Shiatsu is an effective treatment for a wide variety of conditions. I believe that many symptoms which manifest physically have their roots in other levels and require a holistic approach. Some conditions I have experienced good responses with include:
Physical: Muscular tension and joint pain, stiffness, headaches, back pain and sciatica, Digestive complaints including IBS, chronic fatigue, asthma.
Psychological: Stress, anxiety, depression, feeling of being stuck, lack of direction, recovery from abuse, shock and insomnia.
Spiritual: The underworld journey and spiritual emergence. It is also supportive during life transitions such as menopause, puberty, pregnancy and coping with bereavement.
“THERE IS ONLY ONE TEMPLE IN THE WORLD, AND THAT IS THE HUMAN BODY. NOTHING IS HOLIER THAN THIS HIGHEST FORM. ONE TOUCHES HEAVEN WHEN TOUCHING THE HUMAN BODY’ Walt Whitman
“Drop out, create space in your body, fill it up then live in it and feel what it’s like to be there” Angela Farmer