Frequently Asked Questions about Shiatsu
What happens in a Shiatsu session?
A session usually lasts about an hour and begins with a short discussion about your health and anything you wish to say about your life. This may include describing specific symptoms or problems and how you would like them to change. We may also talk about your work, family, exercise, eating and sleeping habits. This normally takes longer during your first session than on subsequent visits and I offer this extra time for free. In each appointment, you have the opportunity to ask me questions. The hands-on treatment usually lasts about 45-50 minutes and then we can briefly swop feedback about the session and discuss any recommendations I have for you such as certain exercises you can practice at home.
What does Shiatsu feel like?
A treatment usually involves still holding, gentle rocking, slow stretches, careful rotations of joints and massage techniques. The carefully applied pressure aims to be pleasurable and comforting. It can be calm and relaxing or more dynamic and invigorating, depending on your needs and wishes. You are always in control and can say if you would like more or less pressure or alter how a technique is being done.
What conditions can Shiatsu help?
Shiatsu is a safe and gentle therapy which can relieve with most conditions as it strengthens your body's natural ability to balance and heal itself. Regular treatments can increase your awareness of your body, thoughts and feelings and help you breathe more effectively, which can dramatically improve your immune system and help treat and prevent illness. Sometimes Shiatsu works directly on conditions and symptoms, and other times it offers support, time and space for you to learn more about how best to cope with and manage any problems you may face.
How will I feel after a treatment?
Most people feel very relaxed after Shiatsu, with a deep feeling of well-being and contentment. You may also feel a bit sleepy, so leave some time after the treatment before starting a long drive, doing strenuous activities such as sport or any-thing that needs you to be wide awake. Shiatsu can also leave you feeling intensely alive and reenergised. Each person and every treatment is different. Sometimes emotional feelings or particular thoughts surface, either during or after a treatment. Its a good idea to give yourself some time and space to let everything settle.
Do I have to be ill to receive Shiatsu?
No. People can receive Shiatsu purely for relaxation and enjoyment. Many buy gift vouchers for friends and family. Regular treatments help to keep the body in harmony and prevent ill-health.
Can I always have Shiatsu?
Shiatsu is a very safe therapy, but it should be avoided if you:
- have an infectious disease
- are suffering from any acute, feverish illness
- have internal bleeding or blood clots
- have had a major operation during the last 3 months
Please inform me of any condition that has been diagnosed by a doctor.
Also, please note that at least 24 hours notice is needed to change or cancel an appointment or the full fee will be charged. I am usually full for at least a week or two at a time so operate a waiting list and with enough notice, can contact those listed to offer new appointments. Thank-you.
I’m pregnant. Can I still have Shiatsu?
Yes. Shiatsu can provide important help both during and after pregnancy. It can also offer pain relief and support while you are giving birth. Certain exercise classes are also highly beneficial when you are pregnant and to help you feel happy and healthy after giving birth. See Mindful Yoga and Chi Flow for more details.
Can I receive Shiatsu whilst on medication?
Yes. I will ask whether you are currently taking medication and take details of any medical conditions you have. Shiatsu will not negatively interfere with your medication. It will often complement conventional medical treatment by giving an overall strengthening effect and improving the circulation of blood and lymph and reducing stress. If you are receiving medical treatment for a particular condition, then I recommend that you to inform or consult your doctor prior to having a Shiatsu treatment.
Can I have Shiatsu if I am having other therapies?
Yes, although it is generally best to leave at least a few days between different treatments to get the most out of each one. If you have any concerns about mixing treatments, simply mention it when we next meet.
Is Shiatsu complementary or alternative?
I practice Shiatsu in a complementary way to mainstream western medicine, not as an alternative to it. Treatment will be given according to Oriental diagnosis, though it is always important that the medical western diagnosis is also considered. Both Shiatsu and western medicine have important roles to play. I gave shiatsu for free for six months to patients in an inner-city general practice and saw for myself how complementary Shiatsu and health care from GPs and Nurses can be. Many health care professionals come for Shiatsu themselves.
Shiatsu has some features in common with European-style massage and other forms of bodywork in that the use of physical pressure and stretches serves to reduce muscular tension and loosen stiff joints. However, unlike massage, the receiver remains clothed during the treatment and the principal aim of Shiatsu is not to work on localised muscles and joints, but on the overall energy system of the client. A Shiatsu practitioner working on a shoulder joint, for example, will not just be focusing on the joint but on the pattern of energy throughout that joint and the rest of the client's body. Shiatsu also differs from acupuncture and acupressure in that it is more usual to work on the meridian as a whole rather than isolated points.
I can't lie on the floor. Can I still have Shiatsu?
Can Shiatsu help with ongoing or incurable conditions?
Yes. Shiatsu helps your body’s energy to rebalance itself. If the problem is long-standing, then the body’s energy patterns will have become accustomed to being out of balance. Usually, the longer a condition has been present, the longer it will take to heal. However, this is not always the case, and sometimes change is very fast. Everyone is different!
Shiatsu can offer valuable support and can help to moderate or manage symptoms even if the problem will never really go away. An increased sense of well-being due to Shiatsu may boost tolerance levels, helping you deal with the symptoms of the illness or its treatments more easily. I have experience with Shiatsu and clients with cancer; during treatment, in remission and also as palliative support after terminal diagnoses. Shiatsu has also enabled me to help carers of loved ones suffering serious illnesses and provide support during times of grief.
In the oriental tradition the world is described in terms of energy. All things are considered to be manifestations of a vital universal force, called Qi' in Chinese or 'Ki' in Japanese (pronounced as Key or Chi). Qi flows throughout the body like a system of rivers and canals. Many things in our lives can upset the smooth flow of Qi, causing blockages or dams in some areas, and weaknesses or stagnant pools in others. These blockages or weaknesses may lead to physical, psychological or emotional disturbances, or simply to a general feeling that your not as happy and healthy as you would like to be. Shiatsu aims to treat imbalance to encourage the free flow of your Qi so you can feel at your best.
What are Meridians?
Qi moves throughout the whole body but in certain pathways it flows in a more concentrated manner. These pathways are known as meridians, along which many specific points lie, where the Qi is most readily contactable. Each meridian is named after a physical organ, for example, the Heart or Lung meridian but the psychological and emotional aspect of the meridian is equally important. Very often, the energy along one or more meridians is blocked, such that there is an excess of energy at some points (manifested as tension, tightness or fullness) and a depletion at others (weakness or emptiness). I work with the energy in these meridians and points to try to rebalance it.
Please read the testimonials for descriptions of Shiatsu from clients.
The best way to see if Shiatsu can be of use to you is to come and try it yourself!