How Shiatsu Could Enhance Your Current Massage Practice

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Relaxed use of body weight and connection to the Hara – Good for your body

shiatsu treatment table shoulders acupressureOften I find that massage practitioners come to me for shiatsu, tired and achy.  They give a lot!  Deep tissue, Swedish, Thai Yoga massage – that’s a lot of moving of heavy limbs and tight muscles.

Shiatsu, although it incorporates many elements of these practices it also have a unique aspect that will help take care of your own body and energy levels as a giver.  This is our awareness of and connection with the Hara, our Dan Tien.  This is our centre of gravity, situated just below the belly button, where our balance and true strength comes from in practices such as Tai Chi and the martial arts.  We also utilise this knowledge and strength in shiatsu.  By staying aware of our Hara and by moving our body weight from this central point we are able to effortlessly project our Qi (energy) and give ample pressure to satisfy even the biggest of clients.  Shiatsu can feel great without jeopardising your body.


Stationary Perpendicular Pressure – Tonification through Stillness

I love the stillness of shiatsu!  In a world where life is often on the go, where we are driven by a socially constructed sense of who we are and what we should be, where we are often in our heads and not our bodies, over stimulated by caffeine and TV, we are living so much of our lives in our sympathetic nervous system (SNS).  The stillness of shiatsu can bring about a blessed relief!  A stillness that can reintegrate mind and body, a stillness that can calm us back to our centre, back into our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS).

Movement is of course an integral and often much needed aspect of a shiatsu treatment, but if any weakness (Kyo) exists, which it almost invariably does, then a treatment that focuses solely on release and movement can often agitate an already over stimulated nervous system.   Without the stillness, without the pauses, without the chance to catch our breath, can true healing really begin?

As a therapist, to assist someone back into their PNS half your job is done!  It is where the body starts to naturally take time to repair and rebalance itself.  It is where we ‘rest and digest’ a state that cannot be accessed when we are in ‘fight or flight’ mode (SNS) – whether that sense of danger be real or just brought about by stress.  

Deep, still, stationery pressure on key areas and acupressure points of the body can be a beautiful way to allow someone to foster this much needed state     


A Clear Meditative Focus –Good for your mind

As a shiatsu practitioner it is also possible and indeed beneficial to tap into this stillness, to remain in the PSN, to remain meditatively present through an integration of mind, body and breath.  Your calmness conditions connection and will allow more easily for a settling of their nervous system and a better flow of their energy.  Which in turn can settle your own state further – A symbiotic relationship of reconnecting to our source.  Pretty special!  Over time you can come to hear the silence in those pauses, and the energy of all life is palpable.  You can drink it into your bones and be nourished by it like when a beautiful place brings you so clearly back to the present moment – A true meditation practice in itself.


Integrating Chinese medical knowledge into your diagnosis and treatment

At the European Shiatsu School Brighton we place a strong emphasis on understanding the Classical theories of Chinese medicine and their application to our shiatsu bodywork.  

Understanding this ancient take on our physiology can offer you a wealth of knowledge to integrate into your current practice, deepening your understanding of patient’s conditions, and enhancing your diagnosis, treatment and after care advice.

You will begin to understand the root causes of peoples presenting problems.  In doing so you will not only have a chance to alleviate their manifest symptoms in the short term but can begin to prevent their reoccurrence in the long-term by helping people to see their underlying cause.  Your advice could range from physical to mental emotional, from dietary to lifestyle advice.  


Utilizing the power of the Kyo

In reality, finding the root cause of a symptom often means finding an underlying weakness, an area of us that is not being feed, nourished, or is somehow being overlooked.  Whether that be from lack of exercise, from a lack of breath and consciousness (our QI!) being brought into a part of the body, or a repeating approach to life where we fail to rest sufficiently, undervalue our self, or have issues around boundaries – all of these could cause a physical weakness to manifest in a certain part of the body.  This undernourished aspect of ourselves is known as the KYO or deficiency.

Treating the Kyo directly can in itself allow use to stop holding tension in another part of our body.  Whereas continued massage and attempts to release the manifest symptom or JITSU (our held tension) will just lead to short term release if the underlying Kyo is not addressed.


Mother hand

In shiatsu we use physical support of the Kyo to facilitate release of the Jitsu.  A listening, accepting mother hand on a weaker area of the body can be all it takes to help that person let go of tension.  This 2 handed approach is unique to shiatsu and could be said to be where its real power lies.  It also allows a circuit of energy to be formed between giver and receiver, maximizing the potential for flow to be re-established, for accumulated energy to be redistributed to those areas that have been starved, often just of breath and awareness.  


A Strong Personal Practice – Good for the whole of you

Not surprisingly this keen awareness of the body and the cultivation of a calm meditative mind does not come without a strong personal practice.  Most shiatsu practitioners practice Qi Gong, meditation and often Yoga as a way to strengthen these aspects.  At the European Shiatsu School, Brighton, these practices will form an integral part of your training and will hopefully serve you well for your whole life.  Shiatsu itself in time will become a practice – good for the whole of YOU!   

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