Click here to watch me performing a short Shiatsu sequence for a client in Plymouth
Shiatsu is a Japanese word meaning “finger pressure.” Shiatsu aims to balance the body’s energy system by using gentle pressure on meridians and relevant acupuncture points. Unlike other forms of massage, Shiatsu is the most effective way to achieve balance and prevent illness. If you are in pain, suffering from poor sleep, or just need to relax, Shiatsu can help.
What happens when we get stressed or anxious?
Long ago, when sabre-toothed tigers were predators, stress was useful – the adrenaline triggered our fight-or-flight response and would have saved our lives. Nowadays, stress typically describes a condition that occurs when the pressure exceeds our ability to cope.
If the stress cannot be released physically, we feel out of control and the impact on mental and physical well-being can be profound. Stress in the workplace during 2003 accounted for more days off than the common cold, a total of 178 million days, costing the country £13 billion.
Anxiety is a state of inner turmoil, often accompanied by over-thinking and nervous behaviour and can manifest in the body. It can be a sense of dread about something unlikely to happen, such as imminent death.
Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, and uneasiness, usually generalised and unfocused. It is often accompanied by restlessness, fatigue, problems in concentration, and muscular tension.
How can Shiatsu help with feeling stressed?
Shiatsu offers supportive, attentive touch, essential for healthy human development and especially helpful in stress-related conditions. Breathing exercises allow physical and emotional stresses and tension to be released. Gentle holding and stretching techniques allow muscles to relax, and the heart beat to slow down. Anxiety is often then reduced, and your mood can lift.
Often the stresses are not going to go away but Shiatsu can help you to look at situations differently, and guide you towards attitudinal or lifestyle changes, focusing on what can realistically be changed.
Shiatsu can be very supportive in situations of stress and anxiety. It provides a safe space to be deeply listened to, and the opportunity for peacefulness and quiet. It supports physical calming and relaxation of the nervous system – without any side effects.
Shiatsu treatments promote clarity of thought and creativity which can help in decision making, especially important in times of stress or transition.
How Shiatsu has helped some individuals
Annie and Ella both received Shiatsu treatments:
“I think I had forgotten to let my body relax properly. The session reminded me to settle and pay some attention to how it feels.” Annie
“It was a really wonderful experience. Very gentle but reached all the spots that needed it. Most relaxed I have been in ages.” Ella
Text taken from ‘Shiatsu and feeling stressed and anxious’ leaflet, produced by The Shiatsu Society. Visit www.shiatsusociety.org.
Do you ever suffer from a dull, constant ache in your lower back?
Or do you have burning tension in your upper back or neck?
Does a sudden, sharp pain make it hard to move?
Back pain is the main cause of long-term sickness in the UK, responsible for more than 15 million lost workdays in 2013. The most common causes are:
- Strained muscles or ligaments
- Wear and tear
- Bad posture
Shiatsu can be very helpful in these situations, as it can relax and “re-educate” muscles, and release the physical or emotional blockages that are contributing to the pain.
Typical reasons for booking a Shiatsu treatment include:
- For deep relaxation
- To reduce stress
- To gain relief from symptoms
- For emotional support
How can Shiatsu support back pain?
Using touch, Shiatsu harmonises and stabilises the back so that it can let go of tension and the consequent pain. Treatment will revive and revitalise the area, reintegrating weak zones and improving the connection between different areas of the back.
You might be give a simple exercise to do at home. Where it is not possible to alleviate all the symptoms Shiatsu can help you tap into the emotional resources needed to cope with the situation.
How has Shiatsu helped some individuals?
Whilst you may be much helped by Shiatsu, each person will respond in different ways to the treatment.
Stephen Wilberg spent seven years crippled by back pain. “I think the cause was just wear and tear. I’ve always been in the bike trade and I think continually lifting heavy bikes had just taken its toll. It was really bad – I used to walk around hunched up. Anti-inflammatory drugs and osteopathy only even provided temporary solutions.”
Stephen visited a Shiatsu practitioner once a month for four months and was astounded by the results. “It’s not like other therapies, which just treat the damaged area. It goes from head to toe. The first time I went, I felt I could jump over a car when I came out, I felt that good. I’ve now been off painkillers for a long time.”
After two treatments and undertaking some recommended stretching exercises, his back pain had gone. He still attends monthly treatments for health maintenance and for what he calls top-ups.
Stephen Wilberg, South Shields.
The text for this article is taken from ‘Shiatsu and Back Pain’ leaflet produced by The Shiatsu Society – www.shiatsusociety.org
Why is sleep important?
Do you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow – and then wake feeling refreshed, having slept for as long as you want? Would you like to? Or are you amongst the third of people in the UK who have episodes of insomnia?
Insomnia, having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, can affect anyone. But it is more common in women and more likely to occur as we get older. Your lifestyle, environment and diet all play a part in influencing the amount of sleep you need.
Sleep deprivation lowers you pain threshold. It also affects your health, giving an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease or traffic accidents.
Shiatsu can play a positive role in managing insomnia, improving the quality of your sleep and addressing the reasons behind it.
How can shiatsu help us sleep better?
Insomnia may be linked to pain and tension caused by excessive periods working on-screen or driving. Using touch, Shiatsu can help release tension in your shoulders and neck. Working in partnership can allow you to access the causes of tension and contact your potential for self-healing.
Shiatsu can also focus on your needs and where you want to go with your life. It can offer dietary or lifestyle advice, or give some simple massage techniques that can be carried out at home to help relax your mind and body before going to sleep.
How has Shiatsu helped improve some individuals’ sleep patterns?
During her pregnancy, Emma received treatments from Sarah:
“I was having problems with various aches and pains and with insomnia, and both the Shiatsu and the advice that Sarah gave me really helped.” Sarah Oldfield MRSS, Yorkshire
The text in this article was published in a leaflet ‘Shiatsu and Sleep’, produced by the Shiatsu Society – visit www.shiatsusociety.org
Receive 10% off a course therapy treatments when you pay for 6 treatments in advance. Choose from Shiatsu, Indian Head Massage, or Reiki.
- Client consultation (30 minutes)
- x 1 initial treatment
- x 5 follow-up treatments (60 minutes) £270
Indian Head Massage Advance:
- Client consultation (15 minutes)
- x 1 initial treatment (45 minutes)
- x 5 follow-up treatments (45-60 minutes) £216
- Client consultation (15 minutes)
- x 1 initial treatment (45-60 minutes)
- 5 follow-up treatments (45-60 minutes) £216
Terms and conditions:
This offer is exclusive to Shiatsu Frances at The Haven Health Clinic, 24 West Street, Ashburton, TQ13 7DU. http://www.ashburtonhaven.co.uk/. Fees must be paid for in advance. If you need to change the time and date of any pre-paid Shiatsu, Indian Head Massage, or Reiki treatment please contact The Haven on 01362 654 954. Cancellations made for any pre-paid treatment with less 48 hours notice will incur a fee of £10. Cancelled pre-paid treatments are non-refundable.
General Guidelines for Giving Shiatsu
The following guidelines are important to understand prior to giving shiatsu. They create a condition or mind-set for the practitioner that encourages an optimum environment in which to produce maximum results.
1. Empty Stomach
It is best to be empty inside when giving shiatsu. This makes the nervous system highly charged and you become more sensitive to vibrations. On the other hand, if the stomach is full, energy is diverted to the digestive vessels an your sensitivity is reduced.
2. Empty Mind
‘Empty mind’ is another classic attitude of ancient, spiritually orientated peoples. It means that we approach each situation and the multiple factors involved as unique. We must drop all our pretensions and concepts so that we can receive the real picture in any given situation. This holds true when giving treatment in that if our minds are full of what meridian is imbalanced, what points need stimulation, or what the receiver’s problem is related to, we can be blocked from seeing the condition that is really there. If our mind is still and we allow the hara to guide us, we will know what needs to be done and how to do it.
To give strong shiatsu, we need three things:
- A simple, broad context
- To work from hara
- An empty mind
3. Never Use Force – Support Only
When we try to force things in life it create the opposite of what we seeks to achieve. For instance, if you coerce someone into eating healthy foods they will eventually go to junk food. If you try to force someone intro a spiritual path they will become more materialistic than before. The unconscious body works by the same mechanism. If we force it in a direction that it does not want to go in, with the intention of stimulating energy or of making it more flexible, we actually produce more tension and constriction.
The body opens up and energy flows when the client becomes relaxed. IN order to do this we must make them feel supported at all levels of our interchange. IN treatment, always position or move the body in a way which allows it to relax and be comfortable. Pressure, stretching and rotating actions should be applied in a gradual, gentle, and firm way. Allow the body to adapt to each procedure according to its own capacity and not to a preconceived idea that you have of how flexible or resilient it should be.
The receiver has generally come for shiatsu because they sense something is imbalanced or stuck in their body, mind and life, Knowing this, it is not necessary to immediately bring attention to the weakness or imbalances that you see. This approach will put the person on guard, making them protective and closed, along with creating difficulty for them in opening up, relaxing, trusting, and letting go. These conditions, although they may be unconscious, then carry over into and inhibit the treatment.
The movement of shiatsu should flow from one stage to the next, creating the treatment as a whole. Continuity in the application of our technique gives the receiver a sense of trust and unification with the practitioner. It allows them to confidently open up and relax. If the practitioner jumps around from one technique to another or from one body area or position to another, the receiver becomes suspicious of their ability. Fragmentation in treatments makes separation and closes off the exchange of energy between the giver and receiver.
5. Use Two Hands
Develop a ‘two hand consciousness’ and apply it as often as possible. This means our attention is directed to the response being felt by each hand at the same time. This approach effects a deep unification of the receiver’s energy system.
6. Natural Environment
Natural cotton clothing allows a smooth interchange of energy between the practitioner and the client. Documented research now shows that unnatural fabrics decrease the capacity of our biological functions, particularly those related to the nervous system. Using natural materials in the environment where you are giving shiatsu encourages maximum movement of energy. Unnatural lighting and artificial articles, along with electrically operated devices, create an environment of move (+) positively charged ions therefore interrupting, blocking or stagnating the normal current of energy flow.
7. Sincere Desire and Clear Intention
This is the most important point of all. If our desire and intention are clear we need very little technical training in order to develop our practice.
Intention is the way in which we internally direct our Ki energy, and desire is what we seek to create. Always remember that the purpose of giving shiatsu is the benefit to the receiver. Our benefit and reward is automatically built in to the opportunity to serve and grow. We should always seek to make the people we work with feel better, lighter, and more relaxed by helping them to create a condition of balance.
Our goal is to strike empathy and compassion for the receiver and all that they feel and experience. Our touch and support is similar to the comfort we give a friend who is feeling low. Just by putting our arm around their shoulder they automatically feel better and lighten up. This support also resembles the touch a mother gives to a crying baby. Just through rocking and holding,the child is soothed and relaxed.
If we give this feeling in shiatsu, the results will be very strong and powerful. We should always strive to make this our basic orientation in treatment as well as in our day-to-day life.
Taken from chapter 6 The Basic Frame Outline in Saul Goodman’s The Book Of Shiatsu: The Healing Art of Finger Pressure, Avery Publishing Group, pages 71-74.
Shiatsu uses perpendicular pressure to stimulate acupressure points and help bring the body into balance. Receiving Shiatsu is a deeply relaxing experience that encourages your body to let go and completely relax. It does this by stimulating the parasympathetic division of the Autonomic Nervous System, leading to a state of calmness and tranquility.
Are you in pain? Stressed? Sleepless? Need to take time out from your busy schedule and relax?
Feel deeply relaxed in just 15 minutes!
If you are in pain, stressed, sleepless, and need to relax, Shiatsu can help you feel deeply relaxed in just 15 minutes.
A full 60 minute session will show you what relaxation really means. Relaxation is the key to helping your body to do what it does best – heal itself.
Relieve aches and pains
Reduce anxiety, worry and stress
Enjoy better sleep
Improve your health and well-being
Complementary Therapies with Shiatsu Frances:
Shiatsu: A Japanese massage system, performed through clothing, involving pressure from fingers, palms, elbows, feet and knees.
Reiki: A Japanese healing approach involving the transfer of healing energy.
Indian Head Massage: A technique of manipulating soft tissues in the shoulders, neck, face and scalp.
These complementary therapies are complete systems of healing which can help a wide range of conditions including:
Long and short term back pain
Muscular tension and stiffness
Headaches and migraines
IBS and digestive problems
PMS and menstrual difficulties
COPD and asthma
Depression and anxiety
I love referrals!
If you recommend my services to someone and they come for treatment, both you and the person recommended will receive a 20% discount.
Shiatsu is a form of therapeutic bodywork that supports individuals in moving towards greater health and well-being. It is a unique Japanese healing art that uses the power of touch to enable each one of us to heal at the deepest part of our being. Gentle pressure applied across the body induces deep relaxation and promotes a sense of well-being, peace and tranquility.
Shiatsu was developed in the 1950’s alongside other forms of therapy such as Reflexology and Reiki. Whilst the actual creation of Shiatsu is relatively recent, the philosophy behind it is thousands of years old.
Like acupuncture and other oriental therapies, Shiatsu works upon the body’s energetic system through the network of meridians (energy pathways) that relate to the functioning of the internal organs as well as our emotional, psychological and spiritual states. The concept of the body as an “energetic” organism comes from ancient Chinese thought. By stimulating the acupuncture point and meridians, Shiatsu helps to harmonize the body’s vital energies and bring them back into balance.
Energy (or ki) flows through the body like a system of rivers and canals. Things can happen to upset the smooth flow of energy and cause blockages. These blockages may lead to physical symptoms, psychological or emotional disturbances, or simply to a feeling that things are just not quite right.
The oriental theory of Chinese Medicine provides the Shiatsu practitioner with a framework which allows him or her to assess the body’s energetic states and needs. It also helps to explain why the body holds tension in certain areas and feels weak in others.
Receiving Shiatsu is deeply relaxing and yet invigorating, leaving the receiver with a feeling or tranquility and a sense of being in touch with every part of their body.
Giving shiatsu can be like performing a moving meditation. It leaves the practitioner feeling just as balanced and energised as the receiver.
The Power Of Touch
The techniques used in shiatsu are both simple and profound. We are all familiar with the healing power of touch. Other forms of bodywork and massage can fulfill the need for touch, but Shiatsu is particularly effective.