What is Shiatsu?


Shiatsu, is a physical therapy that originated in Japan, that can enable the client’s vitality and sense of connectedness. There are many styles of Shiatsu: in the west, most are based on ancient Classical Chinese Medicine and incorporate and utilise the Meridian system used in Qigong, Acupuncture and forms of Massage common to . Shiatsu is a holistic therapy which originated in Japan and developed from Anma a touch therapy often performed by blind practitioners who because of their heightened senses, would work to alleviate discomfort and disease.

Classical Chinese Medicine draws on Daoist philosophy and practice that has developed over millennia and is based on a continuous process of critical thinking, extensive observation and empirical evidence. In Chinese Medicine, the body, mind and spirit are considered inseparable, and are treated as such. The philosophical concepts of Yin-Yang and Five Elements, provide further ways of interpreting and understanding patterns of health and well-being.

One of the great qualities of Shiatsu is its emphasis on self-discovery. Through learning how to work with others, we learn about ourselves. It is a journey of self-awareness through direct contact with the body.


Movement Shiatsu

Movement Shiatsu was founded and developed by Bill Palmer, www.seed.org

Movement Shiatsu is client centred and focuses on what is possible now, in the present, and assists clients to develop motor and sensory awareness of themselves. The practice of Inner Qigong can enhance this and clients’ sense of autonomy.

Bill Palmer’s research over three decades of work with babies and children with ‘disability’ revealed how the energetics of Chinese Medicine were explained by the way in which babies develop both mind and body through movement. He found that babies’ development followed the meridians which form learning pathways that teach us how to inhabit the body. Through embodying our strengths and inner resources we can develop the resolve to face our ‘shadow’ selves that often we find more difficult to own and explore.

One of the strengths of Movement Shiatsu is that it is not reliant on looking for a quick fix. Short term (acute) problems can often be addressed successfully with postural adjustment where appropriate.

Where there are deep seated, ‘stuck’ issues, which become our habits, we may encourage the client, to participate more actively. By exploring guided movement together, the client becomes aware of a ‘stuck’ pattern and receives direct feedback for themselves. Exploring alternative options  enables the possibility for change. Genuine change occurs when the client recognises that often the old pattern is no longer useful and that they can choose a new path.

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