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Shiatsu - more than a therapy it's a state of mind

colourful pipe cleaners image of head and thoughts

Did you know that going to a therapy can change your way of life? I didn't when I first started receiving cranial osteopathy over 30 years ago and then stepped into the world of shiatsu and Chinese medicine 20 years ago. A lot of people go for a monthly therapy whether a massage type or a physically corrective type and tune out and receive for that hour then leave; but are you getting the best out of your therapy if that's all you do? Firstly, it's fantastic if you are getting some body work every 4/6 weeks as you're ensuring that your joints and muscles are working well and this will benefit you greatly in the longterm. What though if there is way more you can get from your treatment and you just don't know it? This month's blog: Shiatsu -more than a therapy it's a state of mind will open your mind to the possibilities!

Shiatsu - more than a therapy it's a state of mind

When you first come along for a treatment you maybe thinking that shiatsu is a cross between a massage and acupuncture or a little bit like reiki or reflexology. It doesn't matter what you think it's going to be, I didn't have a clue what was going to happen at my first cranial osteo or shiatsu appointments. I went for my very first time because I had a problem with my lower back and then 12 years later for shiatsu I just knew by then I needed something to help me (emotionally).

Being open-minded is the first step to booking (and attending!) a therapy that is called alternative. I prefer the term holistic which means it deals with the whole and/or complementary as it sits perfectly alongside having anything done in terms of western medical.

The importance for attending these treatment styles is to be open-minded.

We're in a science-led world, this is the schooling we've had. We deal in logic and facts and it has to be seen to be believed. I remember in A level physics that our teacher Mr Herbert warned us about believing everything we were being taught, he said: science changes all the time. It's better to be open-minded and curious, to ask questions and observe.

I find regularly that clients lead with science-based and logic questions and this is the way my mind works too but I never lost the curiosity of what's out there?and what's going on in the bits we can't see or hear? Be curious about what treatments can do for you; you don't need the how they work as that's the practitioners job but don't be closed to it working in ways you don't yet understand; you can learn this.

places we store unprocessed emotions

Shiatsu - the link between unresolved emotion embedded in you physically

It may just all in my mind but it seems to have worked?!

I hear this a lot on the second or so treatment.

And here's the thing - your mind is incredibly powerful so don't rule it out as just your mind as what you're going to learn with regularly receiving treatments is that your mind and body are one.... in receiving this style of bodywork a feedback to your brain is a part of the process. Emotions, pains, thoughts and ailments are all linked; accept this - it's true! Frozen shoulders are a great example, especially if there was no physical accident to have caused the problem. If over time your arm/shoulder seizes up and you can't pin point the cause there isn't a quick set of exercises to resolve; the freezing is emotion led. This can be gently investigated during treatments and sympathetically resolved; when you understand and make the link as to what can have emotionally triggered this chain of events you're on the right course to relieving the pain and discomfort you've been experiencing and more importantly learning not to repeat these pain patterns.

Shiatsu helps you to start listening to your body

We're divorced from the neck down.

This was me too! I spent years disconnected from what my body needed. I remained in my head way too much; battling anxiety and leaving the physical ailments to hinder me. I feel grateful for being recommended to a cranial osteo as that really did help me physically and luckily I had a practitioner who was going on his own journey of discovery and allowed me to tag along!

One day I burst into tears and cried and cried; I didn't know why! He thought he'd broken me and I said through sobs: I'm not unhappy this feels good, it feels like some sort of release. He was only a few years into osteopathy and hadn't really gotten stuck into the mind/body connection of it all at the time but from that point on I knew I was receiving it as much for my head as my body; I didn't understand how it worked I just knew that it was incredibly beneficial.

It wasn't until a year after my dad's death when I was really questioning: what is the point of life and all those big questions when I woke up one day and thought: I need help but what help do I need?

We didn't have google then but I put therapeutic massage help into an old search engine and thank heavens it spit out shiatsu! So I went for my first treatment and it was life changing; but I can't really tell you how because I wasn't tuned into all this energetic stuff at that time I was just in the court of: it helps so I'll do it!

Shiatsu helps you to learn how to let go

This is one of the most powerful messages that on reflection I've taken away from training: Letting go.

I didn't understand it in year one of my course and I was only just trying to get my head around it in year 3! Now 20 years on I really get it and I try to help my clients get it too.

Here's why the art of letting go is so powerful for your health in mind and body:

Holding on to things makes you ill.

The additional problem is that you may not know you're holding onto things because they are so deeply embedded; but this is where I come in.

There is a wise saying:

Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die.

Graphic! But it gets the point over :)

Phrases that you say like: He's a pain in the neck. Will become a pain in your neck!

Have a think about what phrases you use and do you have issues there? Do situations give you a headache?

When I learnt that sore throats were a choking of communication and headaches were feeling out of control both cleared up when I'd been a regular sufferer of both. In my first year of shiatsu training I let go of these 2 draining symptoms AND life long knee problems.

Blue image of shiatsu bodyworks and quote

The power of shiatsu for understanding relationships

This can be ANY relationships from you and your own body to why your mother in law exacerbates you so much (had a lot of these from clients)! If you come for a shiatsu treatment because you know you're regularly tense and stressed then getting to the deeper root of what is causing this is where the magic happens. You may only have the treatment for one hour a month but what you can take away from the treatment can help you for the 30 days in between.

This doesn't mean to say that shiatsu is a full on coaching session it isn't, as one of the best things about shiatsu is that issues can be released in your body without you having to talk them through . The power is in the registering that there is an issue and that it requires mind and body (and a couple of deep breathes) together to resolve. I regularly receive shiatsu and when something weird appears as a pain in my body and though I can't always link it to a cause I'm always happy to let it go during my session... with a little help from my shiatsu practitioner!

Shiatsu is a another dimension to aid your optimal health

Shiatsu is the missing link for your understanding how your body is working and how your mind and emotions are affecting you physically and draining your energy. Once you learn the links you start to see life differently and do things differently, gain more energy and have less ailments; then you're open to learning more. Gaining a different perspective on life brings health and wellness into 3 dimensions.

Come along for your first shiatsu for a bad back or any joint problem and stay with shiatsu to understand and prevent major health issues from building up.

Your mind and body deserve more... You deserve Shiatsu

About  Andrea at  Shiatsu  Bodyworks Cheltenham

Andrea is a qualified zen shiatsu and Chinese medicine practitioner with over 20 years immersed in holistic therapies and the energetics of mind and body. Based in Cheltenham, UK she offers in house clinic and online shiatsu sessions to help people with midlife health issues and also offers online consultations for helping you resolve health issues and regain your vitality. She is a menopause specialist too, find out more at

unlock your qi andrea in a shiatsu session


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