What is Shiatsu?
Shiatsu is a therapeutic bodywork modality, rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and developed in Japan mid-last century. Using hands, fingers, forearms, elbows, feet and knees, a practitioner will activate points along energetic pathways (meridians) to harmonise the flow of energy (qi) in your body. Shiatsu incorporates gentle to firm pressure on acupoints and along meridian pathways, stretches to activate meridians and specific exercises or body movements to open channels and move qi. The aim is to restore harmonious flow of qi throughout the body to grow health and support wellbeing. That’s the technical/mechanical explanation of Shiatsu.
But Shiatsu is more than that. It works directly with Qi, that electric pulse that courses our bodies and responds to our emotions, our sleep patterns, food intake, environment, the weather we expose ourselves to, our actions within relationships, work environments, home environments, family environments. Shiatsu seeks to feel, to connect with your Qi and to harmonise the flow of Qi throughout your body, to bring your wellbeing, and health, back into balance. When you are ready, it can help tap into a deeper sense of self, a deeper awareness of emotional states and needs, a spirituality of being. The work of Shiatsu is to deepen your resilience and inner strength, to support you when you face those things that cause stress, anxiety, disruption in your emotional, mental and physical life.
The power of Shiatsu derives from authentic human exchange where you are seen and heard, and as support for you to tap into deeper connection with yourself, to know and understand yourself.
What can you expect during a treatment?
You will be fully clothed in loose, comfortable clothes, and lying on a futon mat on the floor. Yep, on the floor! This allows me to move easily around you to perform stretches , and to move your body to open the flow of qi, stretch and open meridians. Being on the floor is also very grounding – you will feel secure and supported.
During the session, I will work meridians on your arms, legs, hands, feet, back, torso and head with my hands, forearms, feet, and I will hold acupoints with my fingers, elbows and feet. Sometimes I will hold points on your forearms and feet , or head and chest, at the same time for deeper qi flow.
You will likely feel deeply relaxed. You may enter a more meditative, sleepy state. This is a beautiful healing state to be in and you will feel refreshed by spending time in this state. You may feel qi moving as a tingling, rushing sensation, a buzzing or warmth. Your stomach may start gurgling away, as qi circulates around your body.
Depending on any issues you may have, I may use moxabustion (burning processed mugwort), gua sha (scraping the skin with a ceramic Chinese spoon) or hot cupping with glass cups or cold cupping with silicone cups. Each of these methods has a specific purpose, and helps support your body to return to a state of healthy balance. If you would benefit from any of these techniques, I will discuss each method with you, so you are fully aware of what to expect.
What can you expect after a treatment?
You may feel refreshed, energised, taller even from the stretches, more vitalised. Sometimes you may feel a little spacey or “not quite here yet”, but this readily passes before you leave. Your body will be processing the work received over the next few days, so you may experience deeper sleep at night, more energy, or perhaps a need for more sleep. Often clients tell me they crave cleaner lighter food, and a desire for gentle rest and peaceful quiet.
I will recommend plenty of water, rest and calm immediately after your session – no heavy exercise, big meals, partying afterwards! Be gentle with yourself and honour the work your body is now doing to restore its balance.