during a treatment
I have done Shiatsu massages with clients who have a wide range of issues and ailments. If you are interested in Shiatsu, but want to talk it through with me before committing to a session, please get in touch by email or telephone and we can discuss whether or not it is right for you. I want you to be completely happy that you know as much as possible before coming to see me.
When doing a Shiatsu massage, I take all of your symptoms into consideration and will make my diagnosis according to Oriental medicine guidelines. Remember though, that it is vital that you give me any western medicine diagnosis or information you have on your condition. If you have an illness that I’ve not heard of, then I will ask you to tell me about it and, more importantly, how it affects your life. If you come to me with a problem that I think needs more attention, or that I think shiatsu is not right for, I will advise you to seek help from either your GP, another medical professional or possibly another complementary medicine practitioner. I firmly believe that both Shiatsu and western medicine have important roles to play in keeping you as healthy as possible.
Shiatsu is suitable for all ages – I have done sessions with children and adults who had a variety of conditions. After you have completed a course of massages, you may find it beneficial to continue with regular sessions in order to maintain your health and well-being.
It’s important to remember that I’m not taking responsibility for your health and, by coming to me for Shiatsu, you are actually taking responsibility for meeting your own health care needs. You are in charge. Shiatsu can help us to cope on a physical, mental and emotional level, so encouraging us to heal and maintain health in all areas of our lives. The least that you will get from a treatment is having a relaxing hour spent where you are the focus of attention, not a bad thing!
Please remember, however, that for acute, localised problems such as appendicitis, broken bones or a suspected or actual heart attack, etc., you should call an ambulance, not me! Afterwards, by all means, come and see me for Shiatsu to help you deal with the shock and to add to your general well-being.
What happens during a treatment
When you come for a Shiatsu massage I ask you to wear loose, comfortable clothing, such as a cotton t-shirt or top and tracksuit bottoms. You can usually expect to lie flat on a futon so that your muscles relax as much as possible. However, don’t worry if it would be difficult for you to get down to floor level as Shiatsu massage can also be done seated or on a massage table – whatever is appropriate and easy for you.
Be prepared to tell me what you would like worked on, for example, if you have frequent headaches, where exactly on your head does it hurt, is there a time of day that they happen or that they are worse – maybe in the morning or at bedtime or after spending time on a computer, perhaps it’s after eating spicy food, reading for a long time, or maybe even after taking vigorous exercise. Also make sure to tell me about any western medical treatment you are receiving.
Shiatsu works best if you are as relaxed and comfortable as possible, so during the physical treatment you should close your eyes, relax your muscles as much as possible (I will do all the work for you if movement is needed!) and try not to speak unless it’s really necessary. But you must let me know if you feel any discomfort at all or your body may start to tense and the benefit of the session will be reduced.
A Shiatsu session usually lasts for about an hour, with a first treatment being up to 15 minutes longer to allow for taking a fairly detailed medical history and list of all your symptoms.
I start to make a Shiatsu diagnosis through first talking to you and also taking notice of any other clues, for example, your complexion, voice, posture and so on. This helps me start to assess where your ki is flowing healthily and where it may be a bit blocked or weaker. I usually start off the treatment by working a little on your abdomen area, this also is part of the diagnosis.
Based on the initial diagnosis (and on physical and visual feedback I get from your body during the session), I will try to encourage your body to even out energy imbalances through applying pressure using my thumbs, fingers, knuckles, palms, and occasionally knees or elbows along the meridians, often alongside other techniques such as rocking, stretches or joint rotations.
As with diagnosis, Shiatsu is holistic, so I work on your whole body rather than necessarily focusing just on the area where symptoms are most obvious. Every body and every situation is unique, so no two treatments either on different people or separate treatments on the same person will be identical.
Here are some guidelines for your shiatsu massage.
wear loose comfortable clothing, like a t-shirt, polo shirt and jogging bottom trousers, or bring these to change into;
think in advance about what you would like to achieve from your Shiatsu massage;
be prepared to tell me as much as you can about your symptoms;
try to relax during the treatment, this comes with experience and with trust in both me, as your practitioner, and the Shiatsu massage itself;
don’t eat a big meal less than 1 hour before coming for your treatment, or for at least 1 hour afterwards;
avoid alcohol the day of your treatment or any caffeine for the rest of the day after the treatment.
If you are interested in finding out more about Shiatsu or training in Shiatsu, here are some links you should find helpful:
The Shiatsu College, Hastings and The Shiatsu College in Bristol now offer a 2-year part-time Qigong Teacher Training programme. Contact for information is: