Each body has an intelligence, an innate knowing, that naturally moves it towards, balance, alignment, homeostasis, & well-being. As a practitioner, I may recognize pathology or problems, but I don’t focus there to direct the treatment, rather I listen to the body to find what it is already in the process of doing to move itself toward balance and I support that. I work from a perspective of awe and respect for the intelligence of the human body. This allows me to step out of the role of a “fixer” and into the role of a facilitator, where my work facilitates each body’s inherent intelligence and helps the body tap into its own ability to heal itself. This is a shift in orientation from “healer as fixer” to “healer as facilitator.” In my experience, this is a much more powerful and impactful way of working. No two treatments are ever the same, each treatment is adjusted to each individual, inside the moment they are in.
FIVE ELEMENT SHIATSU
The Asian tradition describes the world in terms of energy or Chi / Ki.
Movement is one definition of Chi. Chi or Ki is not a noun or a subject but more of a process or a sequence of events all done in relationship to each other in the right timing, like breathing.
We experience this energy in the form of movement, communication, respiration, digestion, thoughts, feelings and spirituality. Any blockage or stagnation of energy within the meridians can result in physical, psychological and emotional disease. To stay healthy, a person must continually adapt to the changes going on within and outside the body. If these adaptations do not take place, illness or disharmony can manifest.
Shiatsu creates harmony of our inner energies with that of the universe by directly treating the meridian pathways within the body that channel Ki energy … our life essence. Shiatsu helps you balance your energy on the physical, emotional and spiritual level, while experiencing a profoundly relaxing and clinically therapeutic musculoskeletal treatment.
Shiatsu is a Japanese form of bodywork therapy based on thousands of years of Eastern philosophy and methods of healing. It’s roots come from Five Element Philosophy and Chinese Medicine. It has the same range of benefits as Acupuncture, but is achieved entirely through touch. The word “shiatsu” translates literally to mean “finger pressure,” but we use palms, elbows, fingers, knees, forearms and more.
Learn more by listening to my podcast on 5 element shiatsu-
Shiatsu works on four levels of the body:
- The muscles and tendons
- The internal organs
- The emotional landscape
- Spiritual integration
What to expect
A treatment is a full body, personalized and individualized experience; it directly responds to what is going on physically, emotionally, and spiritually for the person in that moment. Clients come as they are, whether they have an injury that needs attention, some emotions to process, big changes going on, or simply wish to nourish themselves.
WHAT TO WEAR:
During your shiatsu session you will wear soft, loose-fitting, clothing such as sweats or yoga clothes. Wear clothing that allows your body to move through it’s full range of motion and is not restrictive in any way. Full-length pants such as sweatpants, yoga pants, or even pajama pants are ideal. Jeans and similar pants do not work well for shiatsu because they restrict range of motion and have zippers, buttons and snaps that can be uncomfortable while lying on your stomach. For a shirt, t-shirts, short or long sleeve work well. If you tend to get cold easily, wear an extra layer, as the body temperature can drop while lying down.
LENGTH OF SESSION:
Sessions are 1.5 – 2 hours
BEGIN WITH A CHECK-IN:
We start with a check-in. We spend anywhere from 0 – 30 minutes talking about what is going on in life. We may spend some time discussing any goals or specific issues you would like to address in the session. I may also ask some questions regarding your medical history or the specific nature of any issues you may be experiencing. Then, I use a 5 Element Philosophy / Chinese Medicine lens to reflect back what I am hearing. Re-framing our experiences within the 5 Element Philosophy perspective can be profoundly useful and clarifying both for processing what has been happening up until this point and for integrating the treatment into life.
Client’s lay fully dressed on a futon with supportive cushioning to promote relaxation and deep restoration. Depending on your specific situation, I may ask you to lie on your back, on your stomach, or on your side. If it is uncomfortable for you to lie flat, pillows and bolsters may be used to support you.
Once you are comfortable, I will use a diagnostic method called “hara” or abdominal diagnosis to determine the current state of the energy in your body. All of the twelve meridians pass through the abdomen providing an ideal place to assess the energy of the whole body. Using both hands, I will gently touch the hara to get a sense of the meridians that are most kyo (empty) and most jitsu (full / excessive). With this information, we can create a treatment that supports the body to bring the entire system back into a state of freedom, alignment and balance. (muscle, organs, fascia, emotions, nervous system etc…) The harmony of Qi within the human body is considered essential to health and is the aim of Shiatsu.
A treatment will continue to unfold within the receiver as they move through life and often a recipient will continue to notice changes for multiple days and even weeks after a treatment.
Depth of Touch
In a shiatsu session, I may use palms, fingers, thumbs, elbows or knees to treat the meridians. I’ll use bodyweight and alignment rather than muscle strength to control the amount of pressure. This is safer for both the receiver and the practitioner and allows for a range of pressure from very light to very deep based on the receiver’s needs and preferences. Here I can operate from a place of listening and intuitive touch, rather than directive and aggressive massage/manipulation. Different pressures reach different layers of the body. This way of listening through touch allows me to contact the energy level at an appropriate depth and with great sensitivity. I will check in with you to make sure that the amount of pressure feels right.
A Shiatsu treatment is as deep or as gentle as a receiver requires. Shiatsu practitioners use two points of contact. One hand is used to listen, and sound out the responses of the receiver. When the other hand reaches an appropriate depth, an energetic connection passes between the hands of the giver. The receiver’s body tells the giver when the pressure is right. An energetic circuit is created between the hands of the giver, catalyzing change and movement in the body of the receiver.
This unique form of touch, a “mother hand” and a “messenger hand” brings the nervous system into a place of homeostasis and from that place the body begins to heal and the door of possibility opens.
Why Have Shiatsu
Shiatsu is very effective in conditions where emotional disturbance or stress is an underlying factor. While this could be said to include all ailments, the following are the conditions most widely regarded as stress-related:
* Anxiety and Depression
* Muscular Tension
* Digestive Disturbances
* Menstrual Dysfunction
* Low Resistance to Infection
Shiatsu is also an effective treatment for the musculoskeletal system. It works directly on the tissues involved, stimulating healing and relaxation responses. It is effective in the treatment of:
* Sprains and Strains
* Neck and Shoulder Stiffness
* Joint Pain
OTHER COOL REASONS:
The localized physical effects Shiatsu also relieve:
* Sinus Congestion
* Retention of Fluid in Tissues
* Poor Circulation
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