Posts Tagged ‘Shiatsu’

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Shiatsu is a form of Japanese Acupressure which runs Chi and energy (light) through the client’s meridians leading to relaxation, harmonious energy flow and greater vitality. The pressure used is more firm than traditional acupressure (which primarily works with light touch focusing more on the Chi transfer than the pressure).

I learned Shiatsu in massage school – as I went to a very Chinese Medicine focused massage training program in the sacred Sangre de Christo mountains of Colorado – the Crestone Healing Arts Center. It was interesting though – in massage school Shiatsu was my least favorite modality.

It requires a sharp mind, mindful focus and focused energy work. In Shiatsu we are pushing little spheres of light into the client’s meridian system, which is what leads to such incredible relaxation and in some cases, enhanced chi sensations (more on this later). And Shiatsu is very rhythmic – inhale, shift hand / acu-point positions, exhale, firm pressure in, find a still point, count one-one-thousand, inhale, shift… etc. And we do this for 50 mins or more straight! Running all the 12 Principle Meridians!

So let’s just say in massage school I got nervous and I had trouble maintaining that pace and rhythm for more than 5 or 10 minutes. If the mind of the practitioner starts to drift off, the rhythm changes and the client will probably notice (unless they are in a healing trance which happens quite often these days).

When I got back to Virginia over a year ago, I wasn’t sure if or how much I would use Shiatsu at all, especially considering my cantankerous relationship with it in school. Then I started experimenting with muscle testing my clients to see which modality would be most beneficial for them in that session (consider I offer about eight or nine modalities, this created a quick easy method for assessing what might serve them most). And if I wasn’t sure what modality they would need that day, it invariably nearly always came up as Shiatsu!

So now I offer Shiatsu at least once or twice a week. And it is not my specialty! I would say working with the Vagus Nerve – the Polyvagal System – the Autonomic Nervous System settling and resourcing is my specialty. Along with offering Craniosacral Therapy. Plus I offer Deep Tissue and Hot Stones massages. And if you are regular reader, you would know I have been doing astrology for years (since 2004). So Shiatsu is a little bit lower on the pecking order, and yet I find it to be the most settling, integrating and harmonizing of everything I offer.

If I do a deeper session with someone in the Vagus work, then I usually do one or two sessions without emotional process involved, meaning I will do a pure Craniosacral session (less talking involved) or I will muscle check them to see if Shiatsu or Acupressure would be ideal.

In other words, if someone needs to calm down, I offer Shiatsu. If someone is feeling stressed and anxious, I definitely consider offering Shiatsu. If someone has just gotten back from a long journey and they are jet-lagged, I offer Shiatsu… You get the picture!

Recently, with a few clients, when I do Shiatsu, toward the end of the session, I am sending positive well-wishing toward their pituitary and pineal glands (in the brain). And this means I am imagining light streaming from my hands down into their endocrine glands. And with a couple of clients in particular, who have done a lot of their own personal growth work, something amazing happened!

With one, who has done a ton of yoga and energy work, when I did this, their pituitary gland lit up like a prism and it cascaded the light I was sending to it down in a rainbow colored shower throughout their body! It was incredible! Definitely first time I witnessed that! They commented later that it was the most amazing Shiatsu they had ever received…

And another person, with whom I did a similar type of technique toward the end of the session, I was aware that their Brahma aperture was opening. Afterward I actually commented saying, “You know at the end there, when I was sending light and Chi into your endocrine system, it felt like your skylight was opening. The crown chakra was opening.” And they said, “Yes, that was a weird sensation. I’m glad you mentioned it, it wasn’t just me imagining things.” !!!

Pretty incredible for a modality I almost abandoned! I love Chinese Medicine, in school we had to memorize more than 120 acu-points and I use most of those during a Shiatsu session. First we do the head (face down), then the back, arms, hips, legs – including all the 12 Principle Meridians there (the Lung meridian, the Heart, the Kidney meridian, the Spleen, Stomach, Liver, etc etc). There is even an abdominal portion called Masunaga (named after the creator of it). This can be very powerful as well because most of us sweep uncomfortable emotions under the carpet… and it turns out the abdomen is where those unexpressed emotions end up! Better to shine some light on those shadowy areas than to let them fester and ferment behind walls of repressive psychic energy… (in my humble opinion).

So give Shiatsu a try sometime! It is an amazing modality with therapeutic results. At worst you will be more relaxed. At best, the sky is the limit as far as what you might experience!

Thank you for reading!


P.S. Not to brag too much… You may not get all of these benefits above from all practitioners of Shiatsu… I bring a daily meditation practice, a weekly Qigong session and years of doing personal growth work – cleaning and clearing my meridians and energy channels, allowing a powerful circuit for Chi life-force energy to flow to my clients.


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I just completed a weekend of working with a medicine woman here at Massage School. We started chatting about what I offer… and the list started growing long (not to brag or boast – I have been learning bodywork since 2003 – simply what is).

She has taken several levels of BodyTalk – a modality where we muscle test to see what is the priority for the client. It is a comprehensive and complex modality. I have only taken the first level – BodyTalk Access which was insightful and where I learned some beneficial techniques! Plus I have been fortunate enough to receive at least several dozen BodyTalk sessions from exchanging with a friend who has taken all the Advanced Courses in it. Therefore I feel like I have some knowledge of the protocol and the muscle testing for what is a priority.

I mention all that because I am now working on a protocol for a Kirby’s Modality BodyTalk style protocol. It is pretty crazy all that I can offer – especially with the half dozen or more modalities I am learning here in Massage School!

Oh – and I told the medicine woman about my conversation with my Tibetan Lama, Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen – a clairvoyant and exceptionally clear and lucid spiritual teacher. When my main bodywork teacher, Janet Evergreen, asked him about what she should call all that she does, he didn’t miss a beat saying, “Process Buddhism.” Now I pretty much offer most of what Janet does (having studied with her since 2005), so the medicine woman here said that I better add “Process Buddhism” to my protocol! 🙂

In case you are wondering, here is my list so far of what I offer: 5-Elements (Chinese Medicine basics), Craniosacral Therapy, Polyvagal Work, Pre- and Perinatal Therapy (and Education), Visceral Manipulation, other Process-oriented Bodywork, BodyTalk Access techniques, Zapchen Somatics, Kundalini Yoga Kriya, Chi Kung advice, Tai Chi basics, Acupressure, Swedish Massage, Hot Stones Integrated Treatment, Herbal Wrap, Shiatsu, Reflexology, Working with Essential Oils, Buddha-Dharma teachings (I am only able to share the basics but this is enough for most clients), Spiritual Astrology, Medical Astrology, Non-Violent Communication, Conflict Resolution Techniques, Process Buddhism would  fall under several other categories.

It looks like I definitely need to narrow this down! Or at least find an efficient way to muscle test and get a category pretty quickly. I might need to delete several items off my list.. time will tell!

I will keep working on this when I have time (we have 3 tests this week and we are preparing to teach Kundalini Yoga – not as a yoga teacher, just as a check mark to make certain we understand K. Yoga).

Thank you for reading!

Have a beautiful Spring day / evening,



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This post was written and submitted by Melanie Bowen.

Those who are undergoing cancer treatment often have to deal with overwhelming side-effects. For this reason, both patients and doctors are looking for alternative treatments to manage difficult symptoms. One approach that is being taken is the use of massage therapy. Recent studies have found that massage therapy can ease pain and improve a patient’s emotional welfare.

Massage therapy is a process that involves rhythmically kneading the body’s muscles and tissues.  There are many different types of massages that are used across the world. The Swedish massage is the most common in the United States. During this massage, the therapist uses long and smooth strokes to rub the muscles. However, mesothelioma treatment requires a much lighter therapy session since this type of cancer is extremely serious.

These movements happen in a deep circular motion. Other popular types include the Thai massage, Oriental massage and the Shiatsu. Massages are given in a warm environment and last anywhere from twenty minutes to one hour. Soothing music is usually played in the background. Along with that, aromatic oils are used to enhance the experience.

According to the American Cancer Society, massage therapy provides many benefits for cancer patients. For instance, massage therapy helps patients by increasing blood flow and stimulating the lymphatic system. Patients often feel less tension and anxiety after getting a massage. Since having cancer is such a stressful situation, any kind of treatment that can relieve stress is important. In the end, the reduction in anxiety causes patients to feel less depressed. Having a positive attitude often increases a patient’s chance of survival.

Overall, massage therapy can lessen the pain that a patient feels. One study found that massages increase blood flow and oxygen levels in the muscles. This can influence neural activity and moderate the actions of subcortical nuclei. As a result, the body’s pain perception is modified. Alleviated pain helps the mental well-being of cancer patients. In addition, it also improves their overall quality of life.

Patients who are fighting a serious disease such as mesothelioma require alternative treatments to help manage their symptoms. A number of studies have been conducted in the past few years to examine how well massage therapy works as an alternative form of therapy. These studies have found that massages promote relaxation and stress reduction by improving circulation throughout the body. The therapy can relieve headaches, joint pain and stiffness. Not only that, but it can also minimize lower back pain and prevent insomnia.

Although massage therapy is not a cancer cure, it can help when it’s combined with other forms of treatment. Patients should consult with their doctor to come up with an effective treatment plan. Getting a massage is a great way to relax and find inner peace. It’s the perfect time for cancer patients to give their mind and body a break from the stresses of life.

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